Benefits of Flexibility

on Tuesday, 02 September 2014. Posted in FitBlog, Health & Wellness , Inspiration, Exercise

Guidelines for Flexibility

Benefits of Flexibility

Flexibility is a key component of physical fitness.  It is defined as the range of motion possible around the joint (such as the shoulder), or around a series of joints (such as the spine).  This range of motion is dependent on the extensibility of the soft tissues (e.g., muscles, tendons) around the joint itself.  Flexibility is joint and joint-action specific, which means that you may be flexible in one joint but not in another.  It is also possible to be flexible in, for example, hip external rotation but not in hip extension.  


Benefits of Flexibility Training


•Decreased risk of injury

•Decreased chronic muscle tension

•Decreased low-back pain

•Improved posture

•Increased motor performance

•Decreased stress

•Relief of muscle soreness

•Increased mind/body connection

•Improved ability to perform activities of daily living (increased functional ability)


Stretching exercises have been shown to increase flexibility even as age increases.  


Guidelines for Flexibility


A major goal of stretching is to change the resting length of the muscles around a joint; in order to accomplish this, excessive muscle tension must be reduced.  Many experts believe that changes such as a longer resting length and reduced tension in a muscle are temporary.  There is little research to support a long-lasting effect from stretching.   Consequently, daily stretching may be best, especially if the goal is to improve flexibility.  The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (2010a) recommends the following guidelines for flexibility training for the average healthy adult.


•Preceded stretching with a warm-up to elevate muscle temperature.

•Perform a static stretching routine that exercises the major muscle-tendon units.

•Focus on muscle groups (joints) that have a reduced range of motion.

•Perform stretching a minimum of 2-3 days per week, and ideally 5-7 days per week.

•Stretch to the end of the range of motion, to the point of tightness, without inducing discomfort.

•Hold each stretch for 15-60 seconds.

•Four or more repetitions per muscle group is recommended.

•Most adults should perform stretches in a slow, controlled manner with a gradual progression to greater ranges of motion.

•Stretching after exercise (but not before) may be better for sports in which muscular strength, power, and endurance are important for performance.  

Benefits of Flexibility

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