In my opinion, flexibility exercises are greatly underrated in terms of importance when people talk about fitness or getting fit.
I’ve seen many people not stretch or even warm up before undertaking intensive exercise, this includes trainers with clients too.
However this can damage muscles and increase the risk of injury. There is considerable scientific evidence that the incidence of injury decreases when people include flexibility training in their routines due to the enhanced ability to move unimpeded through a wider range of movement (ROM). The only exception to this would be when there is an excessive or unstable ROM, which may increase the likelihood of injury, however by training your core (previously mentioned as a foundation of training along with flexibility, you can prevent many injures.
Here at Ollie Lawrence Personal Trainer flexibility along with core training are the foundations of any exercise programme. Stretching and warming up before any exercise is advised and science backs up this point. One tip to use when looking to achieve extra gains in flexibility is incorporating heat. By warming up the muscle, they will be able to be put under greater stress, this allows improvements in the ROM of a joint.
A simplistic way to describe your muscles are like elastic. You can train/stretch your muscles become more flexible and achieve some great gains from doing so getting better results through incorporating heat.
One quick way to quickly add hear to the muscles is to either have a hot bath/shower or alternatively use a sauna/steam room before stretching.
Increasingly professional sports clubs/ athletes and trainers have cottoned on to the fact that recovery through hot and cold treatments can make massive differences to flexibility and performance.
What role does flexibility play in every day life?
What many people don’t realise is that flexibility plays an ever increasing part in every day life and that in fact all of your muscles are attached to another, thus having effects on the body as a whole. Flexibility is needed to perform everyday activities, when an individual is flexible, everyday tasks should be undertaken with relative ease. Daily things that many of us take for granted such as getting out of bed, lifting small children, or sweeping the floor, are all linked to flexibility.
One of the major reasons for lower back pain is because of tight hamstrings, this is because the hamstrings are tight and attached to the lower back. The hamstrings then pull into the lower back as they are tight, thus putting extra pressure onto the lower back. Moreover many problems linked with injuries/pain within the body is all linked to poor flexibility/posture.
Flexibility tends to deteriorate with age, job type or due to leading a sedentary lifestyle, however you can do things to prevent the deterioration. Exercise classes such as Pilates and yoga have seen a massive upturn in participants as flexibility has become a lot more important with everyday life. This is a great tip from me, get to a yoga class or Pilates class of you have problems with injuries. Men, forget how they are perceived to be full of women, they’re the smart ones preventing long term pain/ injuries.
Without good levels of flexibility, daily activities become more difficult to perform, leading to reduced mobility of joints and poor posture, thus compromising body positions and ultimately bringing on pain within the body.
How can I improve my flexibility and what are the effects of being flexible
Staying active and stretching regularly helps prevent the loss of mobility, which ensures independence as we age. Being flexible significantly reduces the chance of experiencing occasional and chronic pain in certain movements as well as having many positive benefits including better circulation, quicker recovery from injuries including helping to prevent the risk of injury.
All in all there are many benefits associated with being flexible and stretching should be added into your daily workouts as a priority!
It is further noted that improved flexibility may enhance performance in aerobic training and muscular conditioning, through by becoming more flexible your likely to be able to run quicker by increasing your stride length, become increasingly powerful by integrating plyometric exercises into your workout and ultimately become stronger as your body moves through greater range of movements (ROM). The foundations of all of the above positives mentioned are flexibility. If your not flexible your body won’t be able to perform at it’s maximum capacity. Many of the professional athletes I’ve trained and and continue to work with spend 30mins purely on stretching alone. Along with core training, flexibility is a very important area that should have greater coverage in fitness in my opinion.
For more information about how we can help you to become more flexible, please click here or alternatively call directly on 0161 399 00 77.