When you are asked about flexibility the question that always comes up is “Can you touch your toes?” However flexibility is not only about that. If you work towards becoming more flexible you will feel comparatively less sore and are less prone to injuries. With increased flexibility your range of motion can also be increased. According to David Geier, Director of Sports Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, “Flexibility is the third pillar of fitness, next to cardiovascular conditioning and strength training.”
Flexible muscles are good not just for athletes or dancers, as you age increased flexibility will support you by making physical activity easier. It also helps promote better circulation of the bloodstream and has even scientifically been one of the causes of reduced cardiovascular diseases. Increased flexibility can improve your range of motion, elevate physical and mental relaxation, release muscle soreness and risk of injury.
What are the ways in which you can become more flexible?
One of the many aspects of yoga is the true health of the physical body, and flexibility is inherent to this being at ease with one’s body. Regular yoga practitioners feel very light with their bodies, in energy, endurance, strength and flexibility. Various yoga postures are extremely beneficial and much safer way to attain this objective of flexibility with strength.Yoga poses stretch one’s muscles and increase one’s range of motion. With regular practice it will improve one’s flexibility.
A study showed that “in active middle-aged men and women, exposure to Pilates exercise for 12 weeks, for two 60-minute sessions per week, was enough to promote statistically significant increases in abdominal endurance, hamstring flexibility, and upper-body muscular endurance.” Pilates is part of several training programs.
Stretching is the best way to become flexible. It is also better to stretch before any training sessions at the gym or other athletic activities as a warm up and after the activities to cool down and leave the muscles supple.
Nowadays however more people are spending their time at desks for their jobs, living a ‘sedentary’ life. There are very short breaks where people are able to get up and be physically active. Stretching is the best way to combat physical inactivity as well.
- Here are some tips for incorporating stretching into your schedule:
Do a few stretches after a shower or while soaking in a hot tub. The hot water elevates body and muscle temperature enough to make them more receptive to stretching.
- Wake yourself up by doing a few stretches once you get out of bed. Try a few simple stretches before getting out of bed in the morning. By gently pointing the toes and reaching your arms above your head you can wake the body up sufficiently.
- Take a stretching class such as yoga or pilates. Having regular programs for stretching can help you set aside to a scheduled time.