Staying Bendy: Benefits of Flexibility

How many of you in gym class as a kid remember circling up and doing stretches? Maybe you would all reach down and try to touch your feet and there was always one or two kids that couldn’t do it. And then one day, you woke up and realized that you were that kid. Somewhere along the way, you lost the flexibility that came naturally with being a spry 7 year old. Today we are going to cover some great reasons to work on your flexibility today!

1.Increased Range of Motion

With higher flexibility comes an increased range of motion, meaning a greater ability to move.  You will become less restricted by the tension in your muscles and be able to move more. People often forget to pair strength training with flexibility training and that can be counter-productive to their goals. What is the point of being super strong if you can’t move?

2. Increased Strength Capabilities

The way our muscles move our bodies is through a series of lengthening and tightening of different complementary muscles across our bodies. For our muscles to contract and move us, they have to get tighter. If they are already tight due to a lack of flexibility, there is not enough space for them to produce a powerful movement. Through flexibility training, you improve the length-tension relationship your muscles need to produce powerful movements and thus improve strength capabilities.

3. Increased Circulation

With better flexibility comes better circulation. Your blood can more easily flow through relaxed muscles than tight muscles. This will allow for more nutrients and oxygen to get to your muscles.

4. Decreased Risk of Injury

This one kind of goes alongside the increased range of motion. What happens when you push your muscles outside of a range of motion that they are capable of? You pull a gears-98700_640.pngmuscle. It’s painful, frustrating, and can set you back in your training. If flexibility can reduce the amount of time you spend frustrated that you can’t work toward your goals, I think it is worth it.

5. Increasing Your Own Comfort

It is never fun to have a knot in your neck or a charlie horse in your leg. Flexibility training can reduce the amount of time you spend in pain every day, just by allowing those muscles to loosen. Lower back pain plagues many people worldwide, and increasing the flexibility of the muscles around the spine can help reduce that.

6. Active Relaxation for Mind and Body

men-1179452_640.jpgMost of us know that we should spend time relaxing, but very few of us actually do it. Spending time stretching allows our bodies a time to rest and recover while allowing our minds to do the same

Thanks so much for reading! Next week I will be posting a video of a stretching routing that you can follow along with.

God bless and have a great week!

 

PSA. Do not stretch before warming up as this could increase your likelihood of injury. Imagine taking a rubber band that has been in the freezer for a while and stretching it. It won’t take long for it to give into the pressure and snap. This is exactly what can happen to your muscles if you stretch before a warm up. So always try to do a quick jog or a few jumping hacks before doing flexibility training.


Sources

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/benefits-of-flexibility-exercises

http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/the-importance-and-purpose-of-flexibility

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931?pg=2

Photos provided by Pixabay

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