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Why Do You Need to Work on Your Flexibility?

Why Do You Need to Work on Your Flexibility?

Flexibility is necessary for all daily activities – from getting out of bed in the morning to intensive sports training – and is a key component of long-term health and wellness. Regular practitioner assisted stretching sessions and moving your joints and muscles through their full range of motion and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle will also help you reduce your risk of injury, decrease your chances of developing a chronic condition, reduce physical and emotional stress, and keep you active for many years to come. Let’s read in more detail about how flexibility can help you and why you need to work on it.

What Is Flexibility?

Flexibility is the capacity that joints have to perform movements with the greatest amplitude possible without damage. We can also say that flexibility is the ability of the joints to return to their original state, regaining their shape.  In short: to be flexible means to be able to perform all the movements that a healthy body can perform without imbalance or muscular tension.

Two people performing a toe touch stretch in their living room

What Happens If I Don’t Train My Flexibility?

Mainly, flexibility will worsen over time if we don’t take care of it. That’s why we must train it with stretching sessions, otherwise, we may suffer the following negative effects:

Lack of Mobility

It translates into the inability to perform certain movements in our day-to-day life. From putting on a shirt to changing a light bulb or soaping our back in the shower. All these movements require great mobility and will become increasingly difficult if we ignore flexibility.

Stiff Muscles

This is dangerous for several reasons. First, having muscles that are too tight can destabilize the skeletal system. As an example, tight hamstrings can cause lower back discomfort.

Secondly, stiff muscles will be much more prone to injury. From contractures to tears, any movement that forces them to stretch beyond their capacity will have consequences.

Third, since flexibility is not only the ability of a muscle to stretch but also to return to its original size, not training makes it difficult to recover after the muscle performs a straining effort.

Poor Relaxation

If the muscles aren’t flexible, they do not relax correctly. We can suffer contractures more easily, as well as have problems relaxing in a global way. We’ll be more prone to aching and fatigue.

Loss of Quality of Life

As we age, we naturally lose flexibility. If we don’t help to compensate for this loss, the deterioration will be more perceptible in old age.

Back Discomfort

When the hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and quadriceps are tight or weak, they can cause additional strain on the lower back. Muscles tend, to some extent, to lose their flexibility as part of the natural aging process. But they also become stiff due to inactivity and loss of strength, regardless of age.

What Can Affect Flexibility?

By knowing which habits or actions are detrimental to flexibility, we can avoid them on a day-to-day basis. Of course, in some cases, it will be easier than in others, but it’s clearly worth the effort.

Sedentary Lifestyle

This is the number one enemy of flexibility. Flexibility is a quality that needs to be worked on, just like strength or endurance. As we spend our days sitting or lying down, our muscles remain in the same situation without receiving stimuli.

Just as we get stronger when we do weights, the body also adapts. Therefore, if the body adapts to being at rest and the muscles are shortened, they will remain short. This will make it much more difficult to stretch them, causing a progressive loss of flexibility.

Lack of Targeted Work

If we don’t want to lose flexibility, we have to train it by doing specific exercises, like in a stretching session for example. Whatever sport we practice, adding a stretching session that works on flexibility will be very good for the body. These types of exercises help to de-stress and take the tension out of the muscles, as well as relax the fascia and allow blood to circulate freely throughout the body.

Age Affects Flexibility

Of the dangers that can affect flexibility, this is one that cannot be avoided. As we age, muscle is replaced by fat and physical abilities decline. However, that doesn’t mean we cannot do anything to slow down the process.

In fact, one of the reasons why age affects flexibility so much is that it is often accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle. If we trade muscle for fat and on top of that we don’t move, the deterioration will be much more pronounced.

Although it may not be possible to slow down aging completely, working on the other causes of aging can help to slow it down. As we get older, the most important thing is to preserve the quality of life. If we have worked on flexibility when we were young and continue to do specific exercises when we are older, we will save ourselves a lot of back, shoulder, and other aches and afflictions.

Man experiencing lower back pain

Why Is It Important to Work on Flexibility?

Working on your flexibility through regular stretching sessions, not only increases blood flow, but also relaxes your muscles and tendons. By doing this, you lower your chance of injury when working out and get rid of lactic acid, which causes soreness after exercise. Let’s see more of the benefits of working on your flexibility.

Flexibility Supports Functional Movement

Being flexible gives you the ability to do movements that you do in your daily life, such as bending down to pick something up or carrying something heavy. If you have a limited range of motion, these routine activities could cause injury, especially if done quickly.

Enjoy Good Health

As mentioned above, flexibility is one of the basic physical qualities. All these qualities are interrelated: in the case of athletes, they need the flexibility to use the full potential of their strength, speed, and coordination.

Flexibility, mobility, and agility are also very important as we age. Leading an active life and taking care of ourselves with exercises or stretching sessions allows us to age with a healthy lifestyle and be in good physical condition. Even in old age, a dynamic array of stretching exercises helps to stretch the muscles and work the joints gently.

Improve Posture and Make Movements More Fluid

Stretching helps the muscle tissue structure to rearrange itself making it less difficult to maintain the correct posture, as well as allowing you to be more dynamic. Your ligaments and muscles can take a toll if you don’t train your flexibility, and this can lead to bad posture. With flexibility, you can correct any posture problems by balancing the tension in ligaments and joints.

To Improve Performance in Strength Sports

To perform a wide variety of exercises in sports, coordination and flexibility are prerequisites, from basic squats to more complex exercises such as the snatch. The method to perform these exercises correctly requires some flexibility in the hamstrings, hips, thoracic vertebrae, and shoulders. By improving your flexibility, you will make great progress in these specific exercises and in the sport you practice.

Prevent Injuries

We can reduce the risks of injury and at the same time improve our physical performance. The greater our muscles’ ability to lengthen, the greater their range of joint movement, and the less energy they need to perform this movement.

Avoiding Low Back Aching

Something very important is that it can help us to reduce or eliminate the discomfort that usually appears in the lumbar area. When we stretch, we are favoring muscle relaxation. Much of the aching suffered in this area is a consequence of the constant and continuous contraction of the muscles present in it.

These muscles that are in constant contraction will also need more energy to perform the same activity than if they were relaxed. If we want to relieve tension in the lumbar area, we should work on the flexibility of the hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus), hip flexors, quadriceps, erectors of the spine, and gluteus muscles.

Other Chronic Conditions

Becoming more and more flexible may mean the end of some types of chronic discomfort because many tense muscles can cause aching in unexpected places. It is quite common in adults to have, for example, discomfort in the lower back, and it can be caused by muscle tension in the hips. Ideally, instead of having to resort to medications, you should address these afflictions by correcting the imbalances in your body with the help of practitioner assisted stretching sessions.

Is It Possible to Improve Flexibility?

Of course, as stated previously, you can work on it to get better. Like most things in life, this is achieved by practicing daily and exercising regularly. However, there are certain things that should be taken into account first.

Each Person Has a Different Percentage of Flexibility

When there is a physical problem such as arthritis or osteoporosis, for example, the range of motion is usually less. Likewise, there are people who have an excess of flexibility whose consequence is muscle weakness, which is not good either.

Climate and Ambient Temperature

The temperature of the room, or anything to do with the environment where we are working to improve flexibility, determines greater or lesser possibilities of this capacity. The warmer the environment, the better the performance.

Emotional States

Certain states of emotion, motivation, stress, anxiety, relaxation, etc. produce different levels of muscular tension, and these can constitute a limiting or enabling factor, depending on the case, for flexibility.

With that said, there are many ways to work on your flexibility, from yoga to Pilates, however, one of the most recommended is practitioner assisted stretching.

Stretch practitioner adjusting straps on a client

Why Try Practitioner Assisted Stretching?

Practitioner assisted stretching offers numerous important advantages over stretching on one’s own. With the aid of a knowledgeable practitioner, you can address specific problem areas while attaining the necessary range of motion for your body. This is a fantastic approach to increasing joint flexibility and wellness.

It’s Safer

Although you may feel comfortable stretching on your own, with the help of a stretch practitioner, you will get the guide from an expert that will support you and your individual flexibility goals.

A regular stretching session improves flexibility, and practitioner assisted stretching can help focus on specific muscles for a deeper stretch to enable an even greater range of motion. By employing practiced techniques to rewire the impulses between your muscles and your brain, a qualified stretch practitioner will be able to safely extend your muscles farther than you would be able to on your own.

It Extends the Range of Motion

Your joints’ range of motion, or how far you can comfortably extend them, may have diminished over time due to several reasons – surgery or an injury for example. So, it’s completely normal to want to recover the range of motion you had in the injured or surgically repaired joint. You’ll find that your joints become more supple if you start your stretching sessions, since stretching with assistance can increase your joints’ natural lubricants for smoother movement. You’ll probably notice changes right away in how well you work out or when you wake up.

It Reduces Rigidity

Many of us find it difficult to unwind, relax, and consciously allow our muscles to loosen up. An aided stretching session can be exactly what you need if you feel that your daily activities or lengthy workdays leave you in knots. Gentle stretching, particularly focused, can significantly rebuild and enhance posture. You’ll feel as though you’re sitting and standing straighter as your muscles relax and balance.

Looking for a Practitioner Assisted Stretching Session with the Experts?

To get the most out of your workouts and avoid injuries, achieve longevity in a graceful manner or simply enhance the flexibility of your body, it is essential to work with the assistance of an expert who knows the best ways to prepare your body and establish routines that are beneficial to it. Here at Stretch Zone, we pride ourselves on our work ethic and value the relationship and satisfaction of our clients, always striving for excellence. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can help you. Call us now to schedule your free session, and let’s start working together!