March 3, 2024

UpTight? The Benefits of Extending Your Range Of Motion

No wonder why the WWW was so uptight! She needed more ROM (range of motion) in her life

I recently wrote about our friend, Lorann Wood, who came back to Mojo after spending 3 years battling leukemia. Lorann said she chose Mojo as her “come back” class because she wanted a high-intensity regimen that she could enjoy at her own pace. (We are honored to have your energy with us again, Lorann!)  

After class recently, Lorann shared an astute observation about Mojo that I’ve never really written about…

From Left, Maureen Carroll, Lorann Wood, and Tricia Gonzales

“I’ve spent so much time on the Pelaton and power walking. Both of them have my body logging miles and miles going forward…I didn’t realize, until now, how much I have missed moving laterally. I feel so much more liberated, agile, and fit using my entire body in so many different directions.” (Bullseye, GF!!)

Running, spinning, and elliptical are awesome for getting our heart pumping and burning calories, But their overall benefits to our health are similar to the difference between a screwdriver and a Swiss army knife. Screwdrivers serve a purpose, but compared to a Swiss army knife, they are one-trick ponies. 

Forward planes of motion are just one of countless ways to move, which offers little ROM, aka. range of motion benefits – defined as the maximum extent to which our joints and muscles can move in a specific direction. 
 

Fitness isn’t just strength. It’s about having a good range of motion in multiple planes. Real power comes from what your body, brain, and gravity can do together
 
Our bodies move in a 3D space, not just forward and backward. To improve our ROM capabilities, we need to incorporate multiplanar movements, where we engage different planes of motion:

Sagittal plane (front-to-back movements): This is the familiar front-to-back movement, like running, walking, or lunging.
Frontal plane (side to side): This involves side-to-side movements, like grapevines, jumping jacks, shuffles, and twisting ab and  torso crunches
Transverse plane (rotations): Like knee crunches, throwing punches, standing twists, arm circles

While activities like running and spinning are great for cardio, they primarily focus on the sagittal plane, which can be limiting:

  • Uneven muscle development: Focusing on one plane neglects other muscle groups, leading to imbalances and potential weaknesses. Imagine only training your biceps and neglecting your triceps – not the recipe for a strong and balanced physique!
  • Increased injury risk: Repetitive movements in the same plane can overuse and stress specific joints, making you more susceptible to injuries. Think of constantly folding a piece of paper – eventually, it tears.
  • Reduced functional movement: Our daily lives and most sports involve movements in all directions, not just forward and backward. Neglecting other planes can limit your ability to perform everyday tasks or excel in a chosen sport.
How can better ROM, multiplanar movement (and Mojo!) improve our lives?

Physical benefits: 
Enhanced Physical Performance: Good range of motion and agility are crucial for activities like playing sports, gardening, or hiking, allowing for more adventure and JOY longer

Improved balance and coordination: It reduces the risk of falls and injury, a major concern especially as we age

Everyday activities we tend to take for granted: Reaching for objects. Getting dressed and undressed…Sufficient hip and shoulder mobility for stairs and maintaining independence longer.

Good flexibility in the spine and core muscles helps maintain proper posture, reducing stress on joints and preventing back pain.

Absorbing impact: Adequate range of motion in the joints allows them to absorb impact better, minimizing the risk of injuries during falls or sudden movements – at every age.

Preventing muscle strains and tears: Maintaining flexibility keeps muscles supple and less prone to tears or strains during physical activities.

Improved Mental Well-being:
Being able to move freely and participate in activities you enjoy helps boost self-confidence, de-stress, and improve overall cognitive function…Leading to healthier, happier lives – longer! 


 

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