Flexibility is the capability of your body to achieve its full range of motion. It’s needed in most day-to-day activities, even the simplest ones such as bending and walking. If you’re flexible, your muscles remain mobile.
We take flexibility for granted when we’re we’re younger, but as we age, our muscles will naturally lose strength, and we might notice ourselves become less supple and more stiff. This can affect our range of movement, especially around the joints. This can have the effect of stiffness in the muscles and joints. This loss of tissue elasticity causes our bodies to tighten and we lose that flexibility.
The key reason that we lose flexibility, and we become more at risk of aches and pains is from not being active. This can lead to more permanent issues such as bad posture and lack of muscle function. Keeping flexible is important to avoid this and to keep us in good health and fitness.
The benefits of keeping flexible include:
Preventing injuries such as muscle strains and sprains.
Stretching and holding your positions in exercises such as yoga flows can help reduce muscle soreness and reduce the risk of injury after exercise. Your muscle fibers have a certain length to them, and warm muscles will stretch further than cold muscles. Stretching after a warm up will lengthen the muscles and help to prevent injury. Over exerting cold muscles that haven’t been stretched will increase the risk of tearing and injury.
Improving your posture.
Flexibility helps to improve your posture. Having tight muscles can lead to misalignment of the spine, and over time this can lead to permanent bad posture. Flexible muscles hold less tension, avoiding this misalignment. By stretching and doing flexibility exercises you can realign your muscle tissues and improve your balance. This will increase your ability to maintain a correct posture in your day to day life.
Reducing Back Pain
If you have tight muscles in your lower back, this can cause back pain which can be debilitating. Improving your flexibility can help to both prevent and treat back pain. Tight hamstrings can also pull your pelvis down and create even more pressure on your lower back. When your hip flexors and pelvic muscles have flexibility, there is less stress on the spine and lower back.
Making everyday activities easier
When you have tight and un-flexible muscles, you can suffer from a reduced range in motion, throughout your whole body. This could make everyday activities and movement hard. Flexibility makes everyday activities easier, by improving your range in motion, and letting your body move more easily.
Boosts your confidence
Stretching and opening up your body can bring a feeling of relaxation. This can lead to a relaxed state of mind, letting you unwind and making your feel more positive and confident.
Making cardio activity easier
Flexibility and stretching will help to increase blood and nutrients to your body. Stretching increases the temperature of muscle tissues, which improves circulation and helps make cardio activity easier.
Enhanced performance in sports
Additionally, having flexible muscles and joints will reduce the energy needed to move your body to it’s full range of motion, decreasing risk of injury. Stretching also helps to decrease muscle resistance during movement, improving your performance. Yoga for athletes is an excellent way to reduce injury and increase performance for more victories.
How to improve your flexibility
The number one way to stay flexible is to regularly stretch. Regardless of age or activity level, if you add some stretching into your everyday routine, you will see improvements to your flexibility. You can do simple stretches at home or even at your desk. Try to focus on the muscles where you feel soreness, common areas include shoulders, hamstrings, hips and your lower back. These areas are prone to stiffness as we age.
Your diet can also affect flexibility. Fatty, sugary and unhealthy foods can make your flexibility worse. You can improve your fitness and flexibility by making sure you eat a balanced diet, and you can also take supplements that support healthy joints.
Yoga is also a great way to improve flexibility. Yoga involves both your body and your mind, and all poses work towards the goal of increasing your body’s flexibility. Practicing yoga stretches you into your muscles and joints, and creates greater flexibility, and more ease in your day to day life as a result. This week's 4 classes on yoga download, are focused on creating greater flexibility.
By Amy Cavill
Increase your flexibility, with yoga for greater flexibility, right now!
Hamstrings, Hips & Hanuman with Kylie Larson
Yin Yoga for Flexibility & Relaxation with Elise Fabricant
Signup for info on the latest classes and discounts.
iPod is a trademark of Apple Computer Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.