What is Flexibility?

If you are one of those wondering what flexibility exactly means, then note that it is the capability of your joints to achieve their full range of motion. Many people mistakenly believe that being flexible is all about having the ability to bend at your waist and touch your toes easily. Flexibility is actually more than that.

Now, what is “range of motion”, you ask? Not all of your joints can have the same range of motion unless you are a skilled contortionist. Here is an example, your hamstring muscles might be flexible that you can bend forward and touch your toes easily. However, you cannot say the same about your quadriceps, meaning you may find it difficult to stand up straight. You may also struggle to bend backward.

When you exercise, you should also focus on your overall flexibility, which is sadly one of the most neglected aspects of fitness. To convince you to take your flexibility more seriously, here are some of the benefits that you stand to get.

Less Body Pain

Stiff muscles are among the main reasons why people suffer from muscle pain. If you train your muscles to be more flexible, you will discover that you will have fewer to no more incidences of body pain.

Having flexible muscles also means that there will be less pressure placed on your spine and lower back. Moreover, flexible yet strong muscles are less prone to suffering from painful muscle cramps.

Increases Range of Motion

If you have tight muscles, even the simplest tasks, like picking up your young child off the floor and simply standing up from a seated position, can make you groan in discomfort. Having an increased range of motion in your most frequently used joints can promote ease in doing these simple tasks.

Prevents Injuries

Stiff muscles are more prone to injury compared to those that are more flexible. As mentioned before, stiff muscles have a limited range of motion, and it is quite easy to go beyond that when you are engaged in physical activities. Also, when you go beyond the range of motion of a particular muscle, it is highly likely that you will suffer from a torn muscle.

Improves your Posture and Balance

Stiff back muscles can impair the alignment of the spine, causing you to slouch. On the other hand, if your back muscles are flexible and supple, you will notice a great improvement in your overall posture and movement.

Conclusion

Mentioned are only some of the many different benefits that you can receive when you start to incorporate flexibility into your regular workout. Work on improving your flexibility and you will surely be able to start making the most out of what your body can do.


Flexibility FAQ

What is flexibility?

Flexibility refers to the ability of your joint or a set of joints to move via a pain-free and unrestricted range of motion. Flexibility differs greatly from one person to another but it is crucial to meet a minimum range to maintain joint and complete body health. The mobility of soft tissues surrounding your joints, like the ligaments, muscles, skin, joint capsules, and tendons, can also influence your range of motion.

What is flexibility training?

Flexibility training encompasses all exercises that improve the flexibility of your tendons and joints. In most cases, it involves doing low-intensity exercises capable of boosting your joint’s complete range of motion.

Most of the exercises in this training help in preventing muscle imbalances that may throw off your bodily movements while increasing your risk of injuries and falls. There are actually several ways to do flexibility training – among which are stretching exercises, Pilates, and yoga.

Why is flexibility training important?

Flexibility is a vital aspect of your overall physical health. By having tissues that are appropriately flexible, your joints will be able to move more freely, which guarantees an increase in functional movements.

With that said, it is truly important to go through flexibility training. It can give you a better range of motion that is crucial in performing strength training exercises and producing more favorable results.

Other benefits of flexibility training that make it so important include lower risk of injury and falls, better posture, prevention and correction of muscle imbalances, and better athletic performance. It can also fight the negative effects of prolonged sitting and lower joint strain and pain.

What are the various types of stretching that should be included in flexibility training?

You can improve your flexibility through various types of stretching. This means you should include them in your flexibility training.

  • Static stretching, which requires moving into a position capable of lengthening the muscle you are targeting – You have to hold such a position for around 15 to 60 seconds, ensuring that you breathe while holding every stretch.
  • Dynamic stretching, which involves moving in and out of a certain position capable of lengthening your targeted muscle – It is also all about making movements through the full range of motion of your joints. You can do it quickly or slowly to follow a certain functional activity. A few examples of dynamic stretching are hip circles, lunges, and bodyweight squats.
  • Active isolated stretching, which contracts the muscle opposite to the stretched one – You have to hold this pose for a couple of seconds. After that, you can relax and repeat the process around eight to ten times. It promotes a more effective stretching exercise without causing discomfort. You can also use this type to avoid muscle imbalance and injuries.
  • Myofascial release, which can help in breaking up the adhesions in your connective tissues – It can, therefore, promote better blood flow to your tissues while releasing tension and tightness in various body parts.

How frequently should I do stretching exercises to boost my flexibility?

If boosting your flexibility is your goal, then you should try to incorporate flexibility exercises in your routines regularly. It does not have to be too long. Even ten minutes of stretching exercise for flexibility daily can already improve your range of motion slowly but surely.

Note, though, that even if you reached your intended level of flexibility, it is still crucial to continue your stretching exercises to maintain the result. Also, remember the recommended length of stretching, which is often around 15 to 30 seconds.