Do I need to be Flexible?
Flexibility is very important to perform everyday activities. Simple things such as getting out of bed, lifting something up and cleaning the house. We need flexibility for all of these things and many many more. As we get older, our flexibility generally decreases. It can also decrease in result of a sedentary lifestyle. By staying active and stretching often will help prevent the loss of mobility, which means we can be more independent as we age. By having a good level of flexibility also prevents problems in later life like chronic back pain and bad knees.
Why train flexibility?
It is important to include flexibility training every time you exercise. By improving your flexibility you may also increase your cardiovascular endurance and will definitely improve muscular conditioning. Due to a wider ROM (Range Of Movement), the chance of injury decreases as your level of flexibility increases. Flexibility training can also be used as a relaxation tool, such as yoga and Pilates.
The most effective time to train flexibility is when the workout is over. Your muscles are flowing with blood and more supple, allowing for greater stretching to take place and therefore a higher chance of increasing flexibility. Stretching while the muscles are ‘cold’ has little to no effect on flexibility.
Benefits of flexibility training:
• Reduces stress in the exercising muscles and releases tension developed during the workout.
• Assists with posture by balancing the tension placed across the joint by the muscles that cross it. Proper posture minimizes stress and maximizes the strength of all joint movements.
• Reduces the risk of injury during exercise and daily activities because muscles are more pliable.
• Improves performance of everyday activities as well as performance in exercise and sport.
How often should I train flexibility?
After every workout. Aim for 4-7 times per week if possible.
When you are stretching however, it should never be painful. Aim to reach a slight tension in the muscle, and hold, before relaxing said muscle and attempting a slightly further stretch. It is very important though that you do not feel pain when stretching.
How long should I stretch for?
flexibility training should last at least 5 to 10 minutes. The stretching phase of a workout is usually missed when time is short. Being organised with your workout will ensure that there is time to stretch post workout.