You’ve heard it all before. “Stretching is good for you. Make sure you do your stretches.” With flexibility being so widely promoted lets uncover 5 reasons why having adequate flexibility is important.
Firstly lets define flexibility. The University Of California states “Flexibility is the ability of a joint or series of joints to move through an unrestricted, pain free range of motion. Although flexibility varies widely from person to person, minimum ranges are necessary for maintaining joint and total body health.” So, if you have adequate flexibility you can enjoy the following 5 benefits.
- Move pain free
- Maintain healthy cartilage and joint structure
- Decrease stress amongst your muscles and joints
- Increased coordination and better reactions
- Increase overall energy
Move pain free- doesn’t that sound nice?
But how can this happen?
When your body is giving you a signal of pain it is letting you know something isn’t quite right.
For example, when you’ve been sitting for a significant amount of time and you go to stand, your back may grab letting you know the hips have tightened up. When you have adequate flexibility, your muscles surrounding your joints are in harmony allowing you to use them without pain.
When the muscles surrounding joints are flexible they takes the pressure of your joints prolonging the lifespan of your cartilage and other joint structures.
When you don’t have the best flexibility and you try to move there is a game of tug-of-war happening at the joint. This is commonly known as “wear and tear” and over time this can eliminate important cartilage which keeps joints happy, cushioned and pain-free.
Every muscle in your body is paired up with an opposite side.
Think bicep and tricep.
Quads and hamstrings.
When one side is lacking flexibility and is too tight, it adds stress to the opposite side.
As muscles are happiest and most relaxed when they are in their natural neutral position, when one side is tight it causes the opposite side to be overstretched.
This simply gives mixed signals and causes stress amongst muscles and joints. Having adequate flexibility removes this stress.
Your brains ability to think and activate muscles improves when you have good flexibility.
There is no signal kink at the muscles, and joints are where they should be without any imbalance allowing the time from thought to action to be as fast as possible.
This is the same as when you turn the tap on and a kink-free hose pushes the water straight through. When there is a kink, in the hose, the pressure and response is weaker. When you’re tight and inflexible the hoses in your body are full of kinks. Stretch those kinks out and your coordination and reactions will improve.
Imagine now, that you have been working on improving your flexibility.
Your joints are pain free, your muscles are moving well and your coordination is firing on all cylinders. It’s a nice thought isn’t it?
And with these new found benefits your body has extra energy to do whatever it is you like to do. When your body is tight, restricted and struggling it takes so much more effort just to get through the day. Reduce these factors and you have extra energy to get more out of your day.
The wonderful thing about flexibility is that it is an element of your health that you can control. Specific stretching can undo those tight muscles and have you receiving the 5 benefits listed above. No matter how tight you think you are you can make improvements.
Even after one session you will be able to feel the benefits of what being more flexible feels like.
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