Flexibility training ... the often-forgotten activity!
In a nutshell, flexibility is the ability of a joint or series of joints to move through an unrestricted, pain free range of motion.
Flexibility training is a wonderful and much-needed component of a well-rounded exercise plan! The benefits of flexibility training, which include stretching, are many. They include
Improved range of motion at joints;
Decreased chronic pain;
Improved muscle strength;
Improved performance; and
Let's begin with improved range of motion at joints. Tight muscles are the cause of reducing the range of motion at joints, which result in limiting a person's ability to perform daily activities such as standing up straight, reaching overhead, or having optimal positioning for lifting something heavy.
Interestingly, poor posture is many times the result of overactive muscles. These overactive muscles can pull joints out of alignment. Flexibility training can reduce muscle imbalances and allow joints to move in an appropriate range of motion to maintain ideal posture.
A full range of motion of joints helps to keep our bodies balanced during movement. What can I say about balance except that it is crucial to everyday movement.
Chronic pain is life altering! Tight muscles create pain by putting a strain on tendons, ligaments, and bones. Flexible muscles have less tension resulting in a lessening of pain. Hydration, proper nutrition, and stretching are keys to reducing pain.
Incorporating flexibility training into your physical activities improves muscle strength. Having a full range of allows the muscles to function as they are meant to function. Stretching moves us towards a full range of motion and/or helps us to maintain it.
Improved performance is achieved when flexible muscles and ideally aligned joints allow our bodies to move more efficiently. In activities of daily living as well as sports performance, flexibility is tantamount to optimal performance.
Flexibility improves mood because it reduces pain and tightness that result in feelings of comfort and relaxation.
Stay flexible and enjoy your body!