Flexibility is defined as the range of motion around a joint. This refers to the ability to move joints through their intended full range of motion. Everybody has a certain level of flexibility and some are more flexible than others. Typically kids are more flexible than adults and women more than men, but there are various other reasons flexibility differences between individuals may occur. Working on increasing flexibility and incorporating flexibility training into your workout routine has many benefits some of which include:
Tight muscles can lead to pain in the joints and surrounding areas. Increasing muscle flexibility can help to ease that pain. For example tight quads, hamstrings and hips can lead to lower back pain. Therefore, stretching to increase range of motion of those specific areas can help in reducing that pain.
REDUCES RISK OF INJURY
Having a lack of flexibility can make muscle and connective tissue more susceptible to tears and injuries. Yoga is a great flexibility training method to help increase those muscles and connective tissues through various stretching static poses and fluid movements.
RELIEVES AND HELPS PREVENT MUSCLE TENSION & SORENESS
Stretching can help relieve and even prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that you feel 24 to 48 hours after a workout.Simple various static stretches held for at least 10 seconds post workout for the muscles worked can help to increase flexibility, alleviate muscle tension and help prevent muscle soreness.
INCREASED RANGE OF MOTION
Flexibility training ensures that you are stretching and moving the joints through their intended full range of motion. Maintaining and even increasing the range of motion your joints are capable of will make everyday tasks and daily activities easier. Such as picking up something from the floor or reaching up to put something in a cabinet up high.
It is important when you workout, especially during weight training, that you move your joints through their intended full range of motion. For example, during a bicep curl be sure to extend your arm all the way out of the move so that you lengthen the muscle. Keeping a constant short range during exercises can lead to shortened tight muscles and decreased range of motions.
Keeping your joints, muscles and connective tissue flexible will help to improve your posture. Gaining proper body alignment is so important for good posture. Stretching is a great way to help maintain and improve your posture.
Pilates is a great flexibility training method to work on increasing flexibility because of its cues and awareness of proper body alignment, stretching and lengthening exercises.
What’s important is that you work on increasing flexibility based on your capabilities. This could be incorporated into any of your workouts such as weight training, cardio, yoga, Pilates, sports or other daily activities. You can also incorporate it through manual stretching with a professional such as chiropractic or massage therapy. Whatever method you choose aim for at least 3 times a week.