5 Reasons Flexibility Training Shouldn’t Be Ignored
As you get older, your muscles naturally lose strength and mass and get less supple. The result of this is a reduction in the range of movement around your joints. A loss of elasticity causes muscles and joints to tighten.
Maintaining flexibility is very important at all times during your lifetime – we just tend to be much more active when we are younger. So, it becomes more important as you get older.
Flexibility is the ability of your joints and body parts to perform their full range of motion. Flexibility is required in all aspects and actions of your daily life, bending, lifting and turning.
How flexible are you
Can you touch your toes while keeping your legs straight? From middle age onwards, most of us fail this test.
Try the “sit and reach” test. Sit on a flat surface, legs extended, toes pointing up, feet slightly apart, soles of the feet against a wall. Reach forward. If you’re not so young, this test exercise can be a tough one on the hamstrings and lower back, and it’s a big eye-opener. How far can you reach?
If you are a middle age guy, is putting your socks on easy? Oh dear.
So, flexibility is very important and should be improved with training.
5 reasons why you shouldn’t ignore flexibility training
Young people stretch every day, they do it naturally. They are active, run and move their bodies easily. If you don’t stretch every day, lead a sedentary life then bad things will happen to your body. Here are 5 examples.
#1 Body stiffness
This is the obvious and most common result of ignoring stretching. Maybe you remember the time when you used to leap out of bed in the morning and you moved around with no effort and no pain and no stiffness. Your body was supple, but stiffness is not specific to aging, it can happen when you are younger too.
Many things can cause body stiffness. Aging, sitting at a desk or in a car for too long, favouring one side of our body, only moving the parts of the body that move easily, diet and being overweight. There are many more causes of general stiffness.
Regular stretching and basic exercise will help stiffness. Take the time every day to perform simple stretching routines and remember that half hour walk.
#2 Increased risk of injury
Always do basic stretching before starting any type of workout. Practice keeping your muscles moving while stretching. Static stretching of hamstrings, for example, are not necessarily the best thing from cold.
Stiff tendons around the muscles can cause tension in the muscles. Your muscles will not be operating as they should, their range of motion will decrease, which means that you won’t be capable of moving as you should.
By actively working on your stretching and flexibility, you will loosen and relax your muscles, making movement easier. This will help prevent injury by allowing more movement and extension in different parts of your body.
#3 Muscle degeneration
Muscles are meant to be used. The main reason for muscle wasting is a lack of physical activity. We are all aware of this but often find it difficult to remedy because of the pressures of life.
Yes, this can happen when you sit at your desk for 8 hours a day. However, this can be resolved fairly simply. Make sure you stand up and move around regularly. Stretch your arms, legs and do a couple of squats. A few rotational stretches help your neck and shoulders.
#4 Poor circulation
Blood circulation is one of those things you probably never think about, even though it’s crucial for good health. Your heart pumps about 5 quarts of blood throughout your body’s system of blood vessels each minute.
Poor circulation can result from a lack of activity. Dynamic stretching will improve this problem. Dynamic stretching requires you to move through the stretch rather than holding it for a few seconds. Stretching improves circulation by gently pulling and tugging on the muscle and connective tissue.
#5 Stress relief
Stress is an inevitable part of our busy daily lives. When you are under stress, your muscles grow tense and can become sore. Regular stretching can help relieve stress and relax tense muscles. Stress can give you headaches, sore shoulders, stiff necks and backaches as your body tenses as a reaction.
Yoga stretches can without doubt help with flexibility. If you think that you aren’t flexible enough to do yoga, then this is an excellent reason to start. The point is that even attempting to adopt classic yoga stretches, will help your flexibility. Everyone has their own starting point regarding flexibility. Take it slowly and slowly it will become easier, and the stiffness will ease.
Fascial Stretch Therapy
One of the newest methods of targeted stretching focuses on fascia.
A fascia is a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs.
Fascial Stretch Therapy describes and explains a unique system of manual therapy, which has proved to be highly successful in the treatment of common neuromyofascial imbalances, disorders and dysfunctions. First developed by the authors in the early 1990s, the method is now recognized for restoring and maintaining healthy neurological, musculoskeletal and fascial systems.
Have you ever watched a cat wake up from a cat snooze? The first thing they do is stretch, big stretches forwards and backward. It comes naturally to them. Try it yourself.