Flexibility is a joint’s ability to move through a full range of motion. Flexibility training (stretching) helps balance muscle groups that might be overused during exercise or physical activity or as a result of bad posture. It’s important to clearly understand the many benefits that result from a good flexibility program.
Here are 7 Reasons Flexibility Training should be and important part of any fitness plan:
1) Improved Physical Performance and Decreased Risk of Injury.
A flexible joint has the ability to move through a greater range of motion and requires less energy to do so, while greatly decreasing your risk of injury. Stretching decreases resistance in tissue structures therefore making it less likely that you will suffer injury by exceeding tissue’s extensibility (maximum range of motion) during activity. Stretching also encourages healthy nutrition directly to muscles; the resulting reduction in accumulated toxins reduces the potential for muscle shortening or tightening and thus reduces fatigue.
2) Reduced Muscle Soreness and Improved Posture.
Static stretching helps reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Static stretching involves a slow, gradual elongation of the muscle by holding it for 15-30 seconds in the furthest comfortable position (without pain). This helps muscles recover after the stress of a work.
3) Stretching also improves muscular balance and posture.
Soft-tissue structures often develop in abnormal ways because of the ill-effects of gravity or poor postural habits. Stretching can help realign soft tissue structures, thus reducing the effort it takes to achieve and maintain good posture in the activities of daily living.
4)Reduced Risk of Low Back Pain.
Stretching reduces the risk of low back pain by promoting muscular relaxation. Major muscle groups like the hamstrings, hip flexors and quadriceps are attached to the pelvis and hence have an impact on the amount of stress placed on the lower back. By stretching these muscles regularly, one can reduce stress to the low back and in this in turn can reduce chronic pain in that area over time.
5)Increased Blood and Nutrients to Tissues.
Stretching increases the blood supply and nutrients to joint structures. Stretching also increases tissue temperature, which in turn increases circulation and nutrient transport. This allows greater elasticity of surrounding tissues and increases performance. in addition to that, increased levels of synovial fluid (joint lubricating fluid) during stretching promotes the transport of more nutrients to the joints’ atricular cartilage allowing a greater range of motion and a reduction in joint degeneration.
6)Improved Muscle Coordination.
Another little-known benefit is increased neuromuscular coordination. Studies show that nerve-impulse velocity (the time it takes an impulse to travel to the brain and back) is improved with stretching. This helps opposing muscle groups work in a more synergistic, coordinated fashion.
7)Enhanced Enjoyment of Physical Activities.
Flexibility training may means enhanced enjoyment in any fitness program. Not only does stretching have all the benefits listed above but it also helps relaxes both mind and body bringing a heightened sense of well-being and personal gratification during exercise.
Flexibility training is one of the key components of a balanced fitness and weight loss program and should be a part of your exercise routine in addition to cardio and strength training. Without flexibility training, you are missing an important part of overall health and peace of mind.