Written by Brian Kenney, General Manager @ O2 Fitness Wilmington
Why is it important to be flexible? Many people think of flexibility as something that results from a sport or exercise routine. But flexibility is an important part of everyday life. Flexibility improves strength and overall good health.
When you get more flexible, you'll find that you have a greater range of motion, that you are able to perform tasks with greater ease, and you'll suffer fewer injuries. Best of all, flexibility can add a great deal to your success in sports. If you are an avid golfer, swimmer, love to play basketball, baseball, or volleyball, you'll be amazed at how your performance changes when you focus your efforts to get more flexible.
Static and Dynamic Flexibility Exercises
You can improve your flexibility by adding a static and dynamic flexibility exercises to your daily routine. Static flexibility exercises are slow, constant stretching of muscles, held for at least 30 seconds.
Some examples of static flexibility exercises include calf stretches and hamstring stretches. Static stretches can also incorporate isometric and PNF stretching techniques to considerably increase their effectiveness.
Dynamic flexibility exercises use muscle movement to increase your range of motion. Typically these exercises - examples include leg and arm swings, side bends, toe touches - are initially performed at low to moderate speeds, with a controlled motion. Gradually, over time you will be able to increase your range of movement, extend further, and increase speed.
Both static and dynamic flexibility exercises work at lengthening the connective tissues that surround your muscles. This lengthening of the tissues provides an increase in your ability to extend your arms or legs in a natural movement. This movement is termed your range of motion.
Improve Your Flexibility; Improve Your Life
As you improve your flexibility, you'll find that it becomes easier to move your joints - knees, shoulders, elbows, etc. You'll also be able to move these joints to a greater length or extend them further. When you make an effort to get more flexible, you'll notice improvements in your everyday life and in your sports. You'll be able to swim faster, throw balls further, have a greater controlled and stronger golf swing. Increased flexibility will pay off even if you aren't active in sports.
As you work to get more flexible, you'll notice common household tasks, such as vacuuming, yard work, and lifting, all become easier to do. You'll notice that your overall strength and endurance has increased. As you work to get more flexible, you'll suffer fewer injuries, your posture will improve and your muscles won't be as sore when you exert yourself or exercise.
Flexibility pays off big - it's not just for gymnasts.