By: Brian Kane
We all know that stretching is good for us because it increases flexibility, but what is so great about being able to touch your toes?
Some of the benefits of flexibility include:
- Decreased aches and pains– tight muscles pull unevenly across joints. This can cause skeletal misalignment, poor posture, and fatigue from the extra effort it takes to move a body that lacks a wide rage of movement. Does your lower back constantly ache? It could actually be caused by tight hamstrings. Do you get severe headaches, especially during stressful times? Muscles in the neck and back tense up under stress, but stretching can ease the pain.
- Decreased risk of injury– inflexible muscles can easily be overworked because they are not accustomed to either the intensity or motion of certain movements. Under these circumstances muscles can be strained by even slight, awkward twisting or lifting.
- Enhanced athletic performance– increased ability to move one’s body can improve athletic performance because of the greater ability an athlete would have to move during a high endurance activity.
- It makes you feel good! – Regular stretching can improve both your mood and overall wellness. A well-stretched, limber body is a relaxed body, even if it doesn’t feel that way when you’re in the middle of a split! Plus, after a deep stretch, you’ll sleep better.
Some limitations to flexibility include:
- Genetics- genes are a factor! This is due to certain inherited qualities related to joint structure and connective tissue. But don’t fret. You can always work to improve your flexibility within the range that your genetics allow.
- Injury and Scar Tissue- After injuries, while the body is healing, flexibility is can often be lost due to a lack of practice. And scar tissue, which results from some injuries, has very little elasticity and can be hard to stretch. If you do sustain an injury, just give yourself time to heal. Gradually work back to attain flexibility.