Why You Shouldn’t Skip Flexibility and Mobility Work

Finding time for a workout can often means a short session at the gym focusing mainly on strength or cardio.

What often gets overlooked is flexibility and mobility work.

You may not see the immediate impact of skipping these, but neglecting them can be a big mistake.

Here’s why flexibility and mobility should be in your fitness routine.

Understanding Flexibility and Mobility

First, let’s clarify what we mean by flexibility and mobility. They are often used interchangeably but have distinct meanings.

Flexibility is the ability of your muscles to stretch. It affects your range of motion and directly influences how well you can move.

Mobility refers to the ability of a joint to move through a range of motion. This involves not only the muscles but also the joints, ligaments, and tendons.

Both are crucial for a good fitness regimen. They have a symbiotic relationship. Good mobility can enhance flexibility and vice versa.

1. Prevention of Injuries

One of the main reasons to include flexibility and mobility exercises in your routine is injury prevention.

Tight muscles and stiff joints are more prone to strains and sprains.

For instance, a lack of hip mobility can lead to a lower back injury while squatting, as the body compensates for the lack of movement by overstraining the lower back.

Regular mobility work can help maintain joint health, and flexibility exercises can ensure that muscles remain supple, like a leopard. (Shout out to Kelly Starrett)

When muscles can extend without difficulty, they are less likely to tear under stress.

Research supports that dynamic stretching can reduce sports-related injuries by enhancing functional range movements (Smith, 2020).

2. Improvement in Overall Performance

Whether you’re lifting weights, running, or playing with your kids, improved mobility and flexibility can enhance your performance.

These elements allow for a greater range of motion, which means you can perform exercises with the proper form and thus work the intended muscles more effectively.

For example, deep squats and lunges require flexible hip flexors. They also require mobile ankle and hip joints. These traits are needed to do the exercises correctly and safely.

Additionally, better mobility can lead to more powerful and efficient movements.

A study by Clark et al. (2011) highlights that enhanced mobility can lead to improved athletic performance through increased force and power development.

3. Alleviation of Pain and Improvement in Posture

Chronic pain, especially in the lower back, is a common ailment for many adults.

This pain is often made worse by poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle.

Flexibility and mobility exercises can help fix these imbalances. They do this by strengthening muscles that aren’t used much and stretching ones that are tight.

Also, activities that improve mobility, like yoga or dynamic stretching, can boost body awareness and posture.

This can reduce daily discomfort. It is especially true for those who sit for many hours.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, regular flexibility training can alleviate musculoskeletal pain and encourage proper alignment (Thompson, 2017).

4. Enhanced Recovery and Physical Longevity

Adding flexibility and mobility work to your routine can speed recovery between workouts.

Stretching and mobility exercises increase blood flow to the muscles, which helps in transporting nutrients needed for repair and flushing out waste products.

As we age, maintaining mobility becomes increasingly important.

With age, muscles naturally lose strength and elasticity, and joints lose fluidity.

Regular mobility and flexibility work can help mitigate these effects, promoting longevity and a higher quality of life as you age.

Implementing Flexibility and Mobility into Your Routine

So, how can you incorporate these elements into your already packed schedule?

Here are a few practical tips:

Set aside specific times for stretching and mobility: Just 10-15 minutes a day can make a big difference.

Use tools to help: Foam rollers, bands, and mobility balls can aid in self-myofascial release and targeted stretching.

Stay consistent: Like any part of fitness, flexibility and mobility need regular work.

Integrate these practices into your fitness routine.

They will ensure a balanced approach to your fitness and health.

This will help keep you active, injury-free, and able to enjoy the physical activities you love as you age.


Clark, M. A., Lucett, S. C., & Sutton, B. G. (2011). “NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training.” National Academy of Sports Medicine, 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Smith, J. (2020). “Dynamic Stretching and Its Effect on Injury Prevention in Athletes.” Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 60(1), 15-23.

Thompson, W. R. (2017). “ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription.” American College of Sports Medicine, 10th ed. Baltimore, MD: Wolters Kluwer.

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