In this article we talk about the definition of flexibility, what are the benefits of flexibility and how to improve it?
When we say something is flexible we refer to the property of bending easily without breaking. So the more an object can bend without breaking, more flexible it is. The flexibility of a human being therefore can be defined as the safe range of motion in the joints before the body of the individual gets prone to injury. In simple terms it is the ability of your muscles to stretch in order to induce that full movement range in your joints.
Why is Flexibility important and why should we care about it
The biggest benefit of flexibility in everyday life is it improves your balance and posture. Moreover by keeping your body flexible, you are less likely to suffer injury and pains. Maintaining flexibility allows you to perform exercises over a full range of motion thus providing more benefit for your hard work,edm
In terms of athletic performance, improved range of motion allows athletes to perform complex sport specific actions without injury and hence provide significant boost to the athlete’s overall performance.
Flexibility, unlike strength or aerobic capacity, takes consistent effort over many months before we notice clear and discernable improvements. Improving flexibility hence is a process of patience. To make matters worse, flexibility is a genetic trait that is inherited; so each person’s level of flexibility is really not completely his/her own doing? Both these factors make flexibility training very frustrating. No wonder flexibility is the one of the most ignored aspects of fitness.
The key with flexibility training therefore is patience and consistency. Even if you don’t see instant gains, keep at it and you will make gains. Even if you do not become as flexible as a gymnast, whatever gains that you will make, will always help you in keeping you fit for the long term.
Like all physiological adaptations, flexibility also requires some stimulus for improvement. People who stretch a lot tend to be more flexible.
Flexibility with stretching
Stretching is a good way to improve flexibility. We recommend always adding in a 10 minute stretching routine at the end of your regular workout. Muscles are still warm and there is a good amount of blood flowing in and out. Stretching therefore no only helps to improve flexibility but also relaxes muscles and helps with circulation post-workout.
You should be able to stretch all major muscles of the body using just 10 stretches. Hold your stretches for atleast 30 seconds for best results. Major areas you should be stretching are:
– glute muscles
– lower back in flexion and extension
– upper back / between the shoulder blades
– shoulders / deltoids
– chest / pecs
– Inner thighs
– Quads and hip flexors
– Calves and ankles
– Wrists and forearms
We will do separate videos later to describe how to stretch all these muscles.
Flexibility and yoga
Doing yoga is a great way to improve flexibility and strength at the same time. Rather than just stretching alone and guessing what stretch should be working what areas, most yoga classes will help you with core control, coordination and flexibility.
Flexibility and managing pain
Sometimes a bit of global flexibility can correct local pain. The body functions as a unit. This unit is connected by a network of connective tissue that has a tendency to rely on the entire network in case of weakness or hypertensity.
For example, if you have a tight (shortened) hip flexor, it pulls on the pelvis and can then pull on the lumbar spine, causing and imbalance in the lower back. The lower back feels pain, so we think we need to stretch the back, when in fact it is the hip flexor that are too tight.
Tight muscles are often the cause of slow onset chronic pain. If you have pain but no idea where it came from, you might be in need of some serious stretch and strengthening exercises. A global approach to stretching helps you improve circulation and reduce the likelihood of muscle-related pain.