First, what is flexibility?
What is flexibility? Flexibility is a joint’s ability to move through a full range of motion. Flexibility training (stretching) is not about becoming a world class gymnast–it’s about balancing the muscle groups you use or overuse during exercise and other activities, or from bad posture.
Improved Performance, Decreased Injury Risk
A safe and effective flexibility training program increases physical performance and prevents every day injury such as muscle and disc strains. Do you know of people who tell you that they hurt themselves when turning over in bed or getting out of bed or people who get shoulder tweaks that result from doing tasks on the job that involve lifting or reaching; or people who tell you of frequent back aches due to transitioning to standing from sitting, bending down to pick something up, or even walking up and down the stairs.
A flexible joint greatly decreases your risk of injury–it has the ability to move through a greater range of motion and requires less energy to do so. Stretching decreases resistance in tissue structures; you are, therefore, less likely to become injured by exceeding tissue extensibility (maximum range of tissues) during activity.
Reduced Risk of Low Back Pain
One of the most frequent body ache complaints I hear from people is lower back pain. Stretching reduces the risk of low back pain by promoting muscular relaxation. A muscle in constant contraction requires more energy to accomplish activities. Flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, and other muscles attaching to the pelvis reduces stress to the low back. Stretching causes muscular relaxation, which results in reduction of accumulated toxins, less muscle shortening or tightening, and less fatigue.
Stretching also improves muscular balance and posture. Many people’s soft-tissue structures have adapted poorly to either the effects of gravity or poor postural habits. Stretching can help realign soft tissue structures, thus reducing the effort it takes to achieve and maintain good posture in the activities of daily living. And a good posture automatically gives a leaner look.
A good flexibility training consists of a balanced combination of ballistic and static stretching.
At Get Fit Flexibility training also means enhanced enjoyment–our fitness programs are fun; otherwise people won’t stick with it. Not only does stretching decrease muscle soreness and increase performance, it also helps relax both mind and body, bringing a heightened sense of well-being and personal gratification during exercise.
As you can see, flexibility training is one of the key components of a balanced fitness program–it should be a part of your exercise routine. Without flexibility training, you are missing an important part of overall health. Flexibility training provides many important benefits that cannot be achieved by any other exercise or activity.