But what is the difference between flexibility and mobility?
Flexibility is the amount a muscle can lengthen or stretch. Think holding a yoga pose or stretching to touch your toes for a minute. If you don’t have flexibility, you’re mobility will also be low.
Believe it or not, fibromyalgia patients have the same amount of flexibility as healthy patients, according to one research study. To increase flexibility, focus on stretching after a workout, not before it, or you could snap your muscles. Stretching can also calm your hyperactive nervous system, reducing the chances you’ll flare up from an exercise session.
Mobility technically means how a joint moves through a range of motion, engaging with your muscles. If you have limited mobility to injury, disability, or chronic illness, or you don’t warm up your muscles before working out, you could further injury your muscles.
Muscle stiffness and joint pain can lead to reduced mobility in fibromyalgia patients. You can see this in fibro patients who are flexible enough to hold a downward dog yoga pose for 30 seconds but have difficulty walking for 5 minutes.
The best way to improve mobility is to always make sure you warm up before exercising. This can mean jumping jacks or a short walk before attempting a short run. By warming up before exercising, you’ll increase blood flow and give your body time to prepare for endurance required for exercise.
One study of fibromyalgia patients found playing your favorite relaxing music before walking or exercising can reduce pain and increase mobility. Note that they didn’t test EDM or rock music, so it’s not clear whether other types of music will work just as well. However, if listening to some relaxing and melodic Billie Eilish or Lana Del Rey songs before running can help you get through it with less pain, it might be worth it!