5 Reasons To Improve Your Flexibility (#4 might be the best!)

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Published: June 10, 2014

Improve Your flexibility

In life, most of us hope to be bendable without breaking. It means that we are resilient and strong, that we accept change and push boundaries, that we are not defined by limitations, that we are flexible. Physical flexibility is the exact same, and has the same meaning, but for our bodies. While we have physical limitations today, they don’t have to stay that way. The ability (or lack thereof) to be diverse in movement without injury takes practice. By stretching, practicing yoga and staying hydrated you can improve your flexibility and range of motion and consequently, improve your body’s performance in everyday life, training and even sleeping.

Why should you improve your flexibility? Here are 5 reasons.

Improved Blood Flow and Nutrients in the Body

Stretching increases the blood flow and the delivery of essential nutrients through your bloodstream. It also increases the lubricating fluid that promotes joint health. You will enjoy increased range of motion, a reduced risk of joint degeneration and less joint pain.

Limited Risk of Injury and Improved Range of Motion

Tight muscles have limited range of motion. This can make even everyday activities challenging. Activities as easy as squatting down to pick something up or reaching overhead to grab something from a top shelf can become tedious and sometimes painful. Most training injuries are caused by forcing the body to do something it can’t handle. Being flexible allows your body to be able to handle more ranges and types of motions. By improving your range of motion, your body moves more effortlessly and efficiently. Combined with flexible joints, the likelihood of sustaining an injury is significantly reduced.

Improved Posture

Several historical and recent studies have shown that static stretching can reduce muscle soreness after exercise. These slow, gradual movements involve a controlled elongation of the muscle through its full range of motion and are then held for 15-30 seconds in the farthest position that can be held without pain. By stretching in this way, you can improve muscular balance and your resting posture.

Reduce Lower Back Pain

One of the most notable benefits of stretching is that it promotes muscular relaxation and because of this, can lessen lower back pain. Since those muscles are commonly contracted throughout the day, whether sitting or doing activities, they can become stressed and cause pain. Becoming more flexible in the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps and other muscles can help reduce that stress on the lower back and reduce the tightening that causes pain.

Better Overall Health and Vitality

By doing some kind of flexibility training, you will notice less pain, improved movement, reduced muscle soreness, and improved physical performance. Stretching exercise practices like Yoga also help relax muscles and your mind to reduce stress. The feeling of well-being and vitality you will notice as a result of a regular flexibility routine can provide many important health benefits.

5 Flexibility training tips?

1. Practicing Yoga, even just once a week can create improvements in your posture, movement, and training.

2. Stay hydrated by drinking upwards of 2 litres of water a day.

3. Warming up appropriately before you exercise will increase muscle elasticity and control as well as circulation, in preparation for exercise execution.

4. Cooling down and stretching after exercise will stabilise your heart rate, temperature and circulation and reduce the risk of light-headedness and muscle soreness and tightness after your workout.

5. Foam rolling, though sometimes excruciating, is one of my favourite ways to improve flexibility and performance. It is not a replacement for any of the above but works wonders for reducing soreness, improving circulation and injury prevention.

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About Orjiugo Oguguo

Orjiugo Oguguo is an engineer with a passion for fitness. She is an ACE certified health coach and also has fitness certifications in Schwinn, Les Mills Body Combat, Body Pump, and CXWorx. Follow her on Twitter @The_Orjiugo and Instagram #The_Orjiugo.

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