Why Flexibility and Stretching Are Just as Important as Your Workout

As you age, your muscles naturally lose strength and size and can become less supple and stiffer. This can affect the range of movement around your joints, which may lead to stiffness in the muscles and joints. It is this loss of tissue elasticity that can cause muscles and joints to tighten up. One of the key reasons that muscles lose their natural suppleness and flexibility and can become prone to tears, aches, and pains is being inactive. If the situation is not remedied in time, loss of flexibility could lead to permanent changes in posture and normal muscle function. It is therefore imperative to maintain muscle flexibility as an important component of overall fitness.[1]

Stretching may take a back seat to your fitness routine. The main concern is exercising, not stretching, right?

Not so fast. Stretching may help you:

  • Improve your joint range of motion
  • Improve your athletic performance
  • Decrease your risk of injury

Stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, range of motion about your joints. Better flexibility may:

  • Help your joints move through their full range of motion
  • Enable your muscles to work most effectively

Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle. You may learn to enjoy the ritual of stretching before or after hitting the trail, ballet floor or soccer field. [2]

Benefits of Flexibility:

  • helps to reduce soreness of muscles and improve posture
  • helps reduce muscle soreness after exercise
  • improves muscular balance and posture by realigning tissue and thereby reducing the effort it takes to maintain good posture
  • increases the temperature of your tissues which increases the transportation of nutrients and overall circulation

Stretching Essentials:

  • Don’t consider stretching a warmup
  • Strive for symmetry
  • Focus on major muscle groups
  • Don’t bounce
  • Hold your stretch
  • Don’t aim for pain
  • Keep up with your stretching

There are several ways to improve your flexibility. Stretching and exercise help considerably but you also need to keep an eye on your diet and nutrition. Eating junk food and snacking on fatty and sugary snacks can make matters worse. Eating fruits and vegetables along with nutritional supplements that support joint health and improve your mobility.

 

Click the links below to learn more about flexibility and stretching!

———————————————————–

[1] https://www.fitness.com/articles/660/the_importance_of_flexibility.php

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