• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Why you should add flexibility to your exercise routine

ByDave Stopher

Nov 16, 2021 #North East

The world would be a better place if we all exercised more. That much is clear. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise boosts health and wellness in ways that make life — and work — generally better.

But there’s a big problem with exercise: it’s hard to get motivated.

It’s not that the risks are high; they’re not. It’s not that the potential rewards are small; they’re clearly not. It’s just that no one wants to spend time on something against which the body rebels, even when it offers clear benefits in return. Take running as an example, it’s great for keeping your heart fit, and for many people running is great at reducing stress. However, to maintain a routine you might have to go out in the cold.

Weight training is another useful exercise. When completed consistently, weight training produces noticeable improvements in strength, power, endurance, and appearance. The increase in muscle mass will increase the calories you burn, even after exercise as your metabolic rate will be increased.

The downsides of starting any new exercise are the aches and pains that come with using muscles you didn’t know you had. However, as they become accustomed to the new demands being placed on them, the aches and pains disappear. A few weeks or months later you wonder how you ever got along without the exercise.

Flexibility Training Will Help You Exercise More

In the past, your body would have been able to hold those stretches for a few seconds or even minutes. But as we’ve aged, our bodies have become less able to maintain a stretch. Health by Science shows why flexibility is so important. Partly because of our sedentary lifestyles, partly because of the lack of stretching, and partly due to the combination of both. The result is that many people struggle to get their arms over their head or reach around their back or touch their toes.

That’s a shame for several reasons. First, if you work in an office, chances are good that your body will already be craving some exercise by the time you get home each day. But if your flexibility has declined significantly since you were younger, you may be unable to do any exercises requiring the full range of motion without causing pain or injury to muscles or joints.

What are the benefits of flexibility training?

·       Fewer injuries whilst exercising

If you don’t stretch before exercise, the risks of injuries are almost guaranteed to increase. Stretching will also help prevent muscle imbalance which can lead to injury.

·       Less pain

Tight muscles add to the general feeling of stiffness and in some instances pain. For example, a tight hamstring can cause back pain, or a tight IT Band (fibres that run the length of your leg) can cause swelling and pain in the knee. Exercise without stretches can exacerbate these conditions.

·       Improved posture and balance

As we get older, our muscles become weaker and less supple, with the result that less of our body weight is used to stabilise us when we move. More flexible people can reliably maintain their balance when walking, running, climbing stairs, or playing sports.

·       Greater strength

By its very nature, following a flexibility program will build muscle and improve overall strength. When your body can complete an exercise without stressing your muscles mobility you can exercise for longer without causing muscle strains.

·       Improved range of motion

For those who have chronic necks, shoulders, hips, and wrists problems flexibility exercises should help. Essentially, they will help to realign your joints and allow you to function more efficiently in everyday life.

How you can add stretches to your fitness routine

If you’ve been running or lifting weights, you’ve probably noticed that your muscles feel tight and inflexible. You might also have trouble reaching for things in high cupboards because your arms are stiff and short. If so, stretching is the solution to both these problems.

Stretching is a key part of any fitness routine and should be included after any exercise. While it’s possible to add stretches into your regular workout, doing them separately can be more effective. This is because you will be able to focus on each individual muscle or muscle group rather than trying to get everything done in a single exercise session.

Useful resources for stretching exercise

Many gyms offer one-to-one coaching on all fitness routines including stretches. Simply speak with a trainer to see what they have to offer. Alternatively, you may find that you can stick to a routine by completing it at home. Here YouTube is your friend, you can either use free videos showing flexibility routines, or you can sign-up for one of the many programmes that are now available.

Related Post