Benefits of improving your flexibility
According the to ACSM*, flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion. Do you feel you have the ability to fully use your range of motion? Do you feel totally comfortable when you bend over to put your shoes on? Flexibitity may not directly impact our health as other fitness variables do, but it is an important component in our exercise program.
Age-realted flexibility loss
Did you know that muscles can stretch to 150% of their initial length? However, if we do not take the time to stretch them on a regular basis, they will tend to shrink and become stiffer with age. Just as our muscles deteriorate if not used, so will our range of motion and muscle elasticity if nothing is done. This is why introducing stretching exercises helps to offset these effects and helps in all activities of daily life.
A decrease in arthritic pain
Stretching exercises, combined with cardiovascular and muscle exercises, help reduce arthritis-related problems including bursitis, tendonitis, gout, osteoarthritis, etc. In fact, stretching exercises will help increase the absorption of fluids into the cartilage which in turn facilitates motion and mobility. Another good reason to stretch!
Improved athletic performance
Since a more flexible body has a greater amplitude of muscle stretch, it translates into more speed, more strength and more power. On the other hand, a lack of flexibility can lead to injury. It is quite clear that you can improve your athletic performance by introducing flexibility exercises into your exercise program, whether you’re into golf, jogging, hockey, alpine skiing, or any other sport.
The majority of pain and tension in the neck, shoulders and back is due to muscle imbalances resulting from a combination of muscles being too tight and too weak. These imbalances lead to bad posture, which in turn causes pain. So, by combining muscle exercises and stretching, you can eliminate pain and reduce the risk of developing these problems.
A relaxed state of mind
Regularly engaging in stretching exercises that open up your body can bring about feelings of total relaxation. The physical benefits can extend to a relaxed state of mind.
Which ones should I do?
To determine the best stretching exercises for you or to relieve a particular ailment, I invite you to consult one of our personal trainers. Another way to introduce stretching into your weekly routine is to take yoga classes. Find the next class offered at a Nautilus Plus club near you. You can also practise your stretching in the comfort of your own home by following the yoga sessions offered on the online fitness platform www.ultimefit.com.
Start with these 4 stretches today
In order to offset the effects of sitting at your desk all day, I recommend these 4 stretching exercises that everyone can benefit from. I would encourage you to hold each pose between 30 and 60 seconds. You should feel the muscles stretch but you should not feel pain.
During the stretches, try closing your eyes, take deep breaths and you will notice how just a few minutes can be enough to generate a feeling of physical and mental well-being. Like cardio and weight training exercises, stretching should be done on a regular basis in order to reap its full benefits and maintain good flexibility…regardless of your age!