More often than not, you would have stumbled upon this word – FLEXIBILITY. Many times it is either yourself or your fitness trainer who says you are/are not flexible enough. When you cannot push or stretch a muscle beyond a certain point, you say you aren’t very flexible. And many a times, you find yourself in a position that hurts or even cramps a muscle (set) because of low flexibility. While this term is easily skipped in fitness, it is equally important in overall well-being as it improves body’s day to day agility and performance.
Today, explore the importance of flexibility and how stretching can help you be your flexible best.
What is Flexibility?
Flexibility or limberness refers to the range of movement in a joint or series of joints, and length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion.
In simple words, flexibility is your ability to stretch and flex a certain joint/muscle/muscle set.
For example – In an exercise as simple as toe touch while sitting down with your legs straightened can reveal your flexibility. Not everyone would be able to touch toes without bending knees. The range till which you can go without bending your knees, is your flexibility range and that says a lot about your wellness. Better the range, better the fitness level. And therefore, it becomes crucial to not just build your muscle strength but also improve its flexibility in order to prevent muscle tears and injuries in the long run.
Flexibility varies between individuals, particularly in terms of differences in muscle length of multi-joint muscles. Flexibility in some joints can be increased to a certain degree by exercise.
Why is Flexibility important?
Flexibility of a joint or a muscle is achieved by stretching it and getting it used to the motion that slowly pushes the joint/muscle to achieve its full range of motion. In simple words, flexibility of your body will enable you to move with ease without experiencing cramps / “catch” in the muscle. It makes your movements swifter and stronger, without tiring you out.
- Quality of life is enhanced by improving and maintaining a good range of motion in the joints. Overall flexibility should be developed with specific range of motion,needs in an individual joints vary from one to another.
- Loss of flexibility can be a predisposing factor for physical issues such as pain syndromes or balance disorders.
- Flexible joints require less energy to move through a greater range of motion. This decreases your overall risk of injury and increases physical performance as well.
- Stretching works towards decreasing resistance in muscle tissue during any activity. It also helps increase blood and nutrients to tissues.
- Improved flexibility via stretching lengthen and stretch muscles and help you prevent injuries, back pain, and balance problems. A well-stretched muscle more easily achieves its full range of motion.
- Since flexibility is achieved via stretching, it also helps in strengthening the muscle and muscle fibre. In turn, building strong muscle fibres may boost your metabolism and your fitness level.
- Flexible muscles also make everyday activities easier on your body and may decrease your risk of certain injuries
How do you improve Flexibility?
Sex, age, and genetics are important for range of motion. Exercise including stretching and yoga often improves flexibility.
Many factors are taken into account when establishing personal flexibility: joint structure, ligaments, tendons, muscles, skin, tissue injury, fat (or adipose) tissue, body temperature, activity level, age and sex all influence an individual’s range of motion about a joint.
In general, a regular stretching routine, that incorporates various stretching exercising will help you increase your flexibility and achieve your full range of motion. Not just that, it will tone your muscles and strengthen the muscle fibres to improve your overall fitness.
In conclusion, stretching and flexibility go hand in hand. And they’re both very crucial to achieve your goals and also, in long term well-being. In case you have any doubts regarding the same, drop a comment below and I will be happy to help you maximize your flexibility range.