Stretches and Flexibility Exercises
Stretching (and foam rolling), along with other flexibility activities like yoga, Pilates, and tai chi, are more than simple low-impact exercises. They are powerful tools helping to prevent injuries and lessen pain. They also have a direct impact on our posture, balance, mobility, and performance (whether it is athletic performance or simple everyday activities that can become challenging as we get older).
The Advantages of Being Flexible
Being flexible means that we are able to lengthen one or more joints and move through a bigger range of motion without feeling any pain or experiencing limitations. Flexibility is beneficial for numerous reasons:
- Flexibility can aid with preventing injuries caused by tightness: By lessening tension in muscles and making them more supple, flexibility lowers the risk of stressing neighboring joints. Being flexible minimizes imbalances and muscular compensations that may lead to strains, pulls, and tears.
- Increased range of motion boosts performance: A better range of motion in areas like the hips and knees, for instance, enhances our workouts because it helps us sink deeper into the exercises and possibly train longer at higher intensities. As mentioned above, any straining or discomfort will most likely be minimized when flexibility is optimal.
- Improved mobility helps a great deal in everyday activities: Bending down to tie a shoe or picking up something off the floor may not always be smooth and easy. As we get older, it becomes evident that staying flexible (and agile) helps lessen the risks for poor balance, falls, etc. This maintained mobility gives a better quality of life in the later years.
- Flexibility aids with correcting posture: Stretches and other flexibility exercises can help better our overall posture and mobility. These can help lessen slouching and pain when people sit for too long, for instance. Stretching and/or foam rolling after exercising is also highly recommended for a more targeted recovery.
On a Final Note
Last weekend, I attended a Pilates class for the first time. I thought I would give it a try for the new year. So along with some yoga poses and tai chi exercises that I do regularly, I now can include some Pilates exercises too.
What do you feel like trying this new year?
Levy, Jillian. “The Surprising Benefits of Flexibility.” Dr. Axe, 27 Nov. 2021, draxe.com/fitness/benefits-of-flexibility/. Accessed 1 Jan. 2022.
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