Flexibility Training Exercise
Flexibility is the ability to achieve an extended range of motion without being impeded by excess tissue, i.e. fat or muscle (e.g. executing a leg split).
Flexibility training, also called flexibility stretching helps balance muscle groups that might be overused during exercise or physical activity. Sometime muscle groups might be overused as a result of bad posture. Flexibility, which differs from person to person and from joint to joint, encompasses all components of the musculoskeletal system as well as specific neuromuscular pathways of the body.
The structural characteristics of the joints and the mechanical properties of the connective tissues of the muscle-tendon structures largely affect the extent of movement around a given joint. The specificity of movement that a person performs in regular physical activities and stretching methods often defines the development and improvement of the body’s range of motion. The goal of all stretching programs is to optimize joint mobility while maintaining joint stability. Concern should always be focused on the systematic, safe and effective application of the range of motion techniques utilized.
The Benefits of Flexibility Training
Improved Physical Performance: A flexible joint has the ability to move through a greater range of motion and requires less energy to do so , while greatly decreasing your risk of injury.
Decreased Risk of Injury: Stretching decreases resistance in tissue structures. Decreased resistance in tissue structure will decrease your chances of being injured by exceeding tissue extensibility.
Reduced Muscle Soreness: As you become more flexible through static stretching, the amount of muscle soreness you experience after exercise will decrease. Static stretching involves a slow, gradual and controlled elongation of the muscle through the full range of motion and can be held for 15-30 seconds in the furthest comfortable position.
Improved Posture: Stretching improves muscular balance and posture. Stretching can help realign soft tissue structures and reducing the effort it takes to achieve and maintaining good posture in the activities of daily living.
Increased Blood and Nutrients to Tissues : Stretching increases tissue temperature, which increases circulation and nutrient transport. Increased circulation and nutrient transport allows greater elasticity of surrounding tissues and increases performance
Flexibility training has more recently been recognized amongst the other components of fitness as a means to unify one’s mind, body and spirit. Taking a similar approach to the harmony of the mind, body and sprit in yoga techniques, many health practitioners are using flexibility training as a vehicle to facilitate mental and physical relaxation as well as stress reduction.