Why Flexibility is Important for Fitness
Whenever you talk about fitness, it's always accompanied with cardio and weightlifting. After all, aerobic exercise and strength training dominate with mainstream appeal. But flexibility is important too and is something people can often overlook. Here is why flexibility is important for total fitness, and why you should try to become more flexible.
Range of Motion is Crucial
The range of motion is vital for physical activity and hinges on flexibility. Whether you are running, swimming or lifting weights, your limbs are in motion. You reach, pull, grab, and twist limbs all around. If you lack flexibility, these movements can be stiff or even painful. According to Harvard Health Publishing, both athletic performance and functional activities can benefit from flexibility training.
Flexibility Training Improves Balance
When doing a squat or deadlift, you have to maintain balance and posture. If you fail to do so, you could create long-term injury troubles for yourself. Here is another way that flexibility training shines. Training to be more flexible works in tandem with improving your balance, as many of the exercises overlap. Balance is useful for people young and old regardless of your fitness; good balance prevents dangerous falls, improves athletic performance, and improves functionality.
Flexibility Protects Your Joints & Minimizes Injuries
Injuries are a common, sometimes recurring problem for everyone, not just athletes. While some injuries are unavoidable, others may be the symptom of poor flexibility. Improving joint flexibility can prevent tears and strains, especially in the lower body. On top of that, blood flow is essential for recovering from existing injuries. Stretching improves blood flow through the region itself. This promotes healing and recovery. However, not all injuries should be stretched or worked. Sometimes, rest is the best way to handle things. Consult a physician before attempting any stretch on an injured muscle group.
Pre & Post-Workout Tension Release
After a workout, muscles are tight and sore. Tight muscles can affect you throughout the rest of the day, disrupting work, workouts, and even sleep. A good post-workout stretch is refreshing and helps you recover more quickly after a tough session in the gym. Pre-workout stretching can help you be nice and loose before starting the process of pumping iron. Stretching, being directly related to flexibility, is vital for your lifting.
Words of Warning About Flexibility Exercises
While being flexible is pretty important to most anything fitness, you can always have too much of a good thing. You can overstretch, and cause detriments instead of reaping benefits. Different types of exercises have various types of effects as well, and, depending on your pursuits, you may favor one over the other. Remember that stretching should never be painful and that any pain suggests either injury or going too far with your exercise. Always be aware of your limits, and do not push them too hard. This list by Human Kinetics provides some quality info on the different kinds of stretching and flexibility training.Want to know about some important pre-work stretches? Or why you should do a few morning stretches? Follow either of those links for more information!