Why you should keep flexible!
Flexibility is needed to perform everyday activities with relative ease. To get out of bed, lift children, or sweep the floor, we need flexibility. Flexibility tends to deteriorate with age, often due to a sedentary lifestyle. Without adequate flexibility, daily activities become more difficult to perform. Over time, we create body movements and posture habits that can lead to reduced mobility of joints and compromised body positions. Staying active and stretching regularly helps prevent this loss of mobility, which ensures independence as we age. Being flexible significantly reduces the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic back pain.
Purpose of Flexibility Training
It is important to include flexibility training as part of your regular fitness routines. Improved flexibility may enhance performance in aerobic training and muscular conditioning as well as in sport. There is scientific evidence that the incidence of injury decreases when people include flexibility training in their routines due to the enhanced ability to move unimpeded through a wider ROM.
I personally find as people have limited time with their fitness they tend to concentrate on working hard but not listening what their body really needs ending up with injuries. After pushing the body to work hard, it is time to encourage recovery by working on flexibility.Why should you have a flexible spine?
I am a big believer in that having a flexible spine keeps your body healthy for longer. An inflexible spine is not just bad for your vertebrae themselves, it’s bad for your lower back and your shoulders, too. In fact, you’ll rarely feel actual pain along the twelve vertebrae that comprise your thoracic spine. Instead, your lower back will take over work for which it’s really not designed for, getting chronic pain for its troubles, and your scapula (shoulder blades) will compensate by moving away from the spine, making overhead shoulder work difficult, dangerous, and painful, and a rotator cuff injury nearly inevitable. Everything in the body is linked, remember, and you can’t remove a major player from the equation without seriously affecting the balance.
Other main benefits:
• Reduces stress in the exercising muscles and releases tension developed during the workout.
• Assists with posture by balancing the tension placed across the joint by the muscles that cross it. Proper posture minimizes stress and maximizes the strength of all joint movements.
• Reduces the risk of injury during exercise and daily activities because muscles are more pliable.
• Improves performance of everyday activities as well as performance in exercise and sport.
Frequency of Flexibility Training
Stretching should be included after every workout to encourage improvement and maintain overall flexibility. Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living recommends flexibility training 4 to 7 days a week. Stretching should never be painful. The focus should be on bringing the muscle to a point of slight tension. I strongely encourage you to breath deeper during the stretch.