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Expert Blog: Does Mobility Help with Running?

By Shalu Bajaj : Fitness Expert

Do the thoughts of joint aches and muscle cramps stop you from going for a run every time? If the answer is yes, then your body lacks mobility, which hinders your range of motion. Tripping or falling frequently, ankle sprains, and pain in the glutes and lower back are some red flags indicating a lack of mobility.  So, what can you do to improve it? Firstly, stay with this article till the end, where it shines a light on what mobility is and how it helps runners, or for that matter, everyone from all walks of life. 

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What is mobility and how does it differ from flexibility?

Mobility and flexibility are often used synonymously, however, that is incorrect. Mobility and flexibility are two completely different concepts. So to clear the air of ambiguity let's understand what mobility is.

Simply put, mobility means the ability to move well. The more comprehensive definition says- mobility is the ability to achieve maximum range of motion (ROM) of the entire muscle group around joints without any external assistance. It is concerned with joints, connective tissues like tendons and ligaments, and inter-joint fluids.

On the other hand, flexibility is a component of mobility concerning the muscles. Mobility and flexibility together aid an individual in running and performing other activities.

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Is mobility important for runners?

Mobility is vital for every individual who wishes to stay fit and active for a long time. However, it is all the more essential for runners. The lack of mobility reduces the range of motion during each stride and increases the risk of injury. Mobility plays an important role in making each run a success. Here are some reasons proving that mobility does help runners:

  1. Improves proprioception: Mobility helps to improve proprioception or kinesthesia. It is a state in which the body is aware of its position and movements. It is present within each component of the system and helps the body perform better. For instance, while running on an uneven surface, your body can recognize it and prevent an ankle sprain.
  2. Improves form: It helps the runner to improve their form and expand their range of motion.
  3. Improves balance: Mobility can significantly improve balance and agility, which is a game changer while you are on the track.
  4. Improves joint health: Mobility keeps the crucial joints like knees, shoulders, elbows, and ankles healthy so one can lead a pain-free normal life.
  5. Relaxes muscle stiffness: Weight training undoubtedly makes you strong and gives you those enviable six-pack abs. However, it can leave a hint of muscle stiffness. To overcome this downside, you should add mobility drills to your workout routine, because mobility helps release muscle stiffness so you can move freely. 
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When can you do mobility exercise?

Mobility exercises can be done:

  • in between heavy workout sessions as fill-out exercises
  • during warm-ups and warm-downs
  • as corrective exercises to strengthen body parts like the lower back, glutes and ankles
  • to recover from stressful workouts

To wrap it up…

If you are a runner or enjoy being active, you must include mobility drills in your daily routine. Most exercises are hassle-free, do not require equipment to perform, and can be done on the go. They are also time efficient; full-body routines can be completed in 30 minutes. Now that you have made it this far, there is no excuse to miss your daily mobility drills.

 Authored by : 

Shalu BajajUltra runner | Fitness Expert

Shalu Bajaj