Mobility & Stability with the Aging Surfer

Surfing is a powerful and coordinated sport. Mechanically it is very stressful on our body and significantly challenges our bodies mobility and stability. As we age it becomes very difficult to improve or even maintain our bodies mobility and stability.

Many people confuse the word mobility for flexibility. Flexibility has to do with your muscles where the term mobility is a broader term for many elements that contribute to movement such as your muscles, joints, movement patterns, etc.

For example a person can have flexible hamstrings and calf muscles but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can move well.

Stability is the ability to maintain a position against external forces or resist an undesired movement. An example would be performing a plank exercise holding it against gravity.

Your body is an ingenious system of joints that are either more prone to mobility or to stability. Even though each joint contributes to both, some favor one over the other and they tend to be stacked in an alternating pattern.

The figure above demonstrates which joints are predisposed to mobility or stability.

If a joint is more predisposed to mobility and it does not move well, then the force will attempt to find movement elsewhere. It is usually the joints above or below that don’t tend to favor mobility. This creates movement imbalance and hence injury.

For example,when surfing if your ankle lacks mobility especially on your back leg, you’ll get it from your knee. This compensation will almost inevitably result in some sort of pain/injury.

When we think of improving our surfing performance, we need a controlled balance of both mobility and stability.

In the coming weeks I will discuss some ways to help improve your mobility and stability. 

This will help you to surf longer and stronger well into your golden years.

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