Flexibility is your body’s ability to move itself through a range of movement. Even people who are aerobically very fit with good body strength and tone can have very poor levels of flexibility.
It is important to keep your spine, shoulders and hip joints flexible and mobile and your muscles supple throughout your life, not only because it will help you to look better but it will also certainly help you to feel better and more able to carry out everyday tasks and pastimes without strain. Muscles that are strengthened also need stretching out in order to avoid the risk of aches, pains and possible injury.
Most children are naturally flexible – it is only under-use that makes our bodies inflexible. However, some people are naturally more flexible than others. Women are often more flexible than men, and everyone has parts of the body that are less flexible than other parts.
In order to increase your body’s flexibility you need to do some regular stretching. Some sports and activities (e.g., yoga and dancing) will naturally involve you in stretching parts of your body. Most of us are less flexible than we may think.
Now look through the list of benefits that good body flexibility can bring you.
- Easing of minor aches and pains. Some may disappear altogether.
- Relaxation. If you’re tense or nervous, a short aerobic workout or good warm-up followed by some stretches and deep breathing is a good way to relax.
- Improved appearance. Stretching elongates tight and stiff muscles and can result in a sleeker overall appearance.
- Ease of carrying out everyday activities (e.g., reaching and bending).
- Avoidance of muscle stiffness. Stretching done after toning exercise prevents stiffness in the worked muscles the next day.
- Improved posture. Many posture faults are due to short muscles that need to be worked (e.g., round shoulders due to short chest muscles; sway back due to tight hip flexors).
- Improved enjoyment and performance at many pastimes, including dancing, tennis, and sex.