Why flexibility is important and what we can do to improve it?
Posted on November 20 2020
Flexibility is more than just being able to touch your toes. Flexibility is a range of motion made by your joints, muscle, tissues, and ligaments. These range of motions can say a lot about your overall health. Flexibility can vary from person to person and some days you may feel more supple than others. It’s important that as we spend more time indoors this year, we don’t lose this range of motion and are looking for ways to exercise and stretch our neglected muscles.
Why stretching is important?
You might wake up one day and find you’re not quite as flexible as you once were. But a loss of flexibility is actually something that happens gradually over time. We’re all spending more time indoors at home and a consequence of this may be that we’re moving around less. Especially in winter, it can be tempting to forget about your daily walk in favour of staying cosy indoors. However, the less you stretch and use your muscles, the shorter your muscles become and the stiffer you get.
A lack of flexibility can also increase your risk of injury. When we don’t stretch before exercising, our muscles aren’t properly warmed up which can lead to muscle fatigue. When our muscles are tired, they have to work extra hard which can ultimately cause injury. If our muscles are feeling flexible with some stretching before you start your run or hit the gym, your muscles will thank you.
Your daily stretching routine
You don’t have to have a yoga subscription to start to feel more flexible. Starting off with these simple movements will give your stiff and tight body a good overall stretch while targeting muscles that often get neglected. The following stretches can be done at home or at work for a bit of mid-day muscle movement.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent.
Bend forward at the hips over your legs lowering your head towards the floor, while keeping your head, neck and shoulders relaxed.
Wrap your arms around the backs of your legs and hold for around 30 seconds then slowly come back up to standing.
Kneel, sit, or stand with feet hip-width apart, arms extended overhead.
Bend your right elbow and reach your right hand to touch the top middle of your back.
Reach your left hand overhead and take hold just below your right elbow.
Gently pull your right elbow down and toward your head.
Switch arms and repeat.
Knee to Chest Stretch
Lie on your back or stand (standing involves more balance).
Pull your right knee into your chest, while keeping the left leg straight and your lower back pressed into the floor or in line with your pelvis if standing.
Hold for 30 seconds.
Repeat on the other leg.
Place one hand on your opposite shoulder and gently push down.
Move your head away from that hand, toward your other shoulder.
Stretching and the flexibility of our joints is more important than ever now we’re all spending more time at home and on the sofa. More time being inactive and enjoying some well-deserved rest could lead to tight and stiff muscles if we don’t keep up with a stretching routine. Preventing injury is another benefit of making sure our muscles are kept long and supple. A good stretch should be done before any strenuous exercise. Increasing your flexibility will go a long way to making sure your fighting fit for as long as possible.