Mobility: Definition and What it is

Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT

Mobility Definition and Meaning

Mobility refers to the ability to move joints and use muscles easily and comfortably. This is often broken down into two categories: functional mobility (the ability to perform certain tasks or activities) and joint mobility (the ability for a specific joint to perform a certain motion). In both cases, mobility includes physical stamina, strength, balance, coordination, and range of motion. Mobility is a critical aspect of function that affects overall quality of life. 

Mobility involves not only physical movement but also the independence and freedom to perform everyday activities without assistance. Good mobility is often associated with healthier aging and a lower risk of physical limitations. It’s integral to basic tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, and even simple movements like standing from a seated position.

Factors Affecting Mobility

Various issues can affect your mobility, such as muscle length, joint structure, injuries or conditions, and age. Conditions like arthritis can limit mobility due to joint stiffness. Sprains in ligaments and strains in tendons can also limit mobility, as can conditions like tendinitis or bursitis

For instance, if you sprain your knee, you may notice that you’re not able to bend or extend it as far as you normally could. A rotator cuff injury may limit mobility in your shoulder, making it harder to rotate your arm fully to put on a jacket or reach for things overhead.

As people age, they may experience changes in mobility due to factors like muscle weakness, joint problems, or neurological conditions. 

Mobility: A Hinge Health Perspective

While injuries and conditions that affect mobility can be frustrating and feel limiting, there’s a lot you can do to improve the function and flexibility of your joints and muscles with targeted stretches and exercises. Your body is resilient and designed to recover from all sorts of conditions and injuries that may impact your mobility.

Since mobility comes into play in so many aspects of the body’s mechanics and movements, regular physical exercise plays a vital role in maintaining and improving mobility. As our Hinge Health care team says, movement is medicine. Activities like stretching, strength training, and balance exercises can enhance muscle endurance, flexibility, and joint health, leading to better overall mobility. 

How Physical Therapy Can Help With Mobility

Physical therapy can aid in enhancing mobility. It’s particularly effective for those recovering from injuries or navigating health conditions. A physical therapist (PT) can create a specialized exercise plan aimed at boosting strength, improving flexibility, and increasing range of motion in order to optimize mobility and daily functioning. You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you. 

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. 

Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


  1. Satariano, W. A., Guralnik, J. M., Jackson, R. J., Marottoli, R. A., Phelan, E. A., & Prohaska, T. R. (2012). Mobility and Aging: New Directions for Public Health Action. American Journal of Public Health, 102(8), 1508–1515. doi:10.2105/ajph.2011.300631

  2. Vries, N. de, Ravensberg, C. van, Hobbelen, J. S., Rikkert, M. O., Staal, J. B., & Sanden, M. N. der. (2012). Effects of physical exercise therapy on mobility, physical functioning, physical activity and quality of life in community-dwelling older adults with impaired mobility, physical disability and/or multi-morbidity: a meta-analysis. Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK). 

  3. Mobility. (n.d.). Harvard Health. Retrieved from 

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