Flexibility is easily overlooked in an exercise environment, even though it has many benefits. Good flexibility can be the difference between achieving your goals or falling short due to injury or pain. Each of the following areas explains how flexibility, when used on a regular basis, will improve your exercise and quality of life.
1) Improves posture
Stretching improves posture by causing the body to rebalance tight muscles. The soft tissue structures of most people are damaged due to poor habitual patterns and a sedentary lifestyle. Stretching exercises can help realign your soft tissue structures, helping you maintain good posture and protecting you from injury. When the body stretches properly, not only does posture improve, but many people notice a significant reduction in chronic pain, for example – lower back pain. Lower back pain can be caused by stretched muscles that help support and protect the back. So when the hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, gluteus muscles, etc. are stretched properly, the pressure on the lower back is reduced and this can relieve or even eliminate pain.
2) Improve performance and reduce the risk of injury
Proper stretching techniques also increase physical performance. As muscles and joints become more flexible, they have the ability to move through a greater range of motion and with greater force. Plus, with greater flexibility, it takes less energy to achieve full range of motion, so your movement becomes more efficient and effective. Stretching reduces resistance in tissue structures, making them more flexible and therefore less susceptible to injury due to over-stretching or improper motion.
3) Eliminates muscle shortening
Chronic shortening of the muscles leads to many problems. When an individual performs resistance training, the muscles contract over and over again. Over time, this will lead to loss of full range of motion, improper movement patterns, joint pain and loss of mobility. However, these problems can be alleviated simply by engaging in warm-up and cool-down exercises. In addition, on days off, stretching can occur during exercise. This can be done when you have a few extra minutes or while watching TV. Think of it this way – as your muscles contract, they get shorter. The tighter they are, the longer they get. Therefore, it is very important to balance your workouts with stretching to avoid muscle shortening.
4) Helps reduce muscle stiffness and soreness, and improves blood flow
Stretching helps dissipate the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles that are working, and thus helps eliminate the stiff muscles the next day. It also helps in the flow of blood to the tissues. The blood carries the nutrients necessary for tissue repair after exercise. Stretching increases the temperature of the tissues which in turn increases blood circulation.
If you would like to learn more about dynamic flexibility and much more, please visit http://www.dynamicofmotion.com