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What You Need To Know About Flexibility

Ever wanted to do handstands or poses like a yogi? The start could be simple stretches!

According to Bryant Walrod, MD, a family and sports medicine physician at the Ohio State University – Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, flexibility is the amount of stretch that a muscle allows. By design, our muscles contract allowing us to move or carry objects.


Flexibility Is A Crucial Element Of Exercise

If a muscle doesn’t have the ability to sufficiently relax and stretch, your body’s biomechanics change leading to strain or stress and limited mobility in the end. Curtailed mobility from tight muscles is said to reduce one’s ability to perform even simple daily tasks and exercises. Everything becomes a hustle that increases the risk of muscles straining and tearing.


Improving Flexibility: The Different Types Of Stretches

Ensure your muscles stretch regularly for them to retain the ability to relax and extend no matter your age by intentionally doing movements that stretch them for five minutes, three to five days a week. Here are some types of stretches you can incorporate:

Static Stretching

Here you mostly move to a joint’s end range of motion and then hold that position for 15, 30, or 60 seconds. Ensure you have warmed up or exercised first before static stretching.

Dynamic Stretching

These stretches such as leg swings gently move your joints through their full range of motion, increasing blood flow to the body’s muscles and are ideal before workouts.

Myofascial Release (Foam Rolling)

Here muscles’ connective tissues are applied with pressure to help them relax.

Ballistic Stretching

Entails performing a static stretch and then “bouncing” at the end range of motion.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

This targets a muscle’s neurological system where your partner applies force and you work the muscles.

Is Strength Training The Answer?

Strength training twice a week and performing eccentric exercises that lengthen muscles has been shown to improve flexibility. Ensure to perform each exercise through its full range of motion. For example, in a pushup, lower your body as far toward the floor as you can instead of cutting the exercise short. Remember, if inflexibility persists it is advisable to seek professional evaluation from a certified trainer or physical therapist.

The takeaway is that flexibility is one of the key factors in our mobility and total-body function, so get moving!

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