As a dancer, flexibility is one of the most crucial things for my body and career. How many times have you seen a person not able to touch their toes? This is a sign of an imbalanced body. With some effort and consistent stretching, a person can improve their flexibility faster than their strength, speed, or endurance. There are many reasons why being flexible is beneficial to one’s health, and here are my top 5:
1. Being flexible prevents injury and goes hand in hand with full range of motion exercises, such as squats and lunges, which are major muscle builders. Having tight muscles can limit your workout program.
2. Flexibility improves one’s posture, and there are recent studies that show good posture can improve a person’s overall mood!
3. Stretching lengthens muscles for a longer, leaner look.
4. Stretching increases the temperature of muscle tissues and, in return, increases the transportation of nutrients and overall circulation throughout the body.
5. Flexibility helps to enhance the enjoyment of physical activities, yes all physical activities, if you know what I mean. So, don’t you want to know you can improve your flexibility? It’s easier than you think, and there are many different ways. Here are a few:
Most gyms offer classes such as Yoga and Pilates. These classes offer a fun and social way to improve flexibility.
Traditional static stretching, such as touching your toes, is a great way to lengthen muscles, although some studies have shown that it tampers with an athlete’s explosive movements. I would recommend doing static stretches after a workout.
Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching more beneficial in sports. Dynamic stretching, also known as “stretching as you are moving”, utilizes one’s momentum from form. This type of stretching can be used as a warm-up or cool-down to any fitness routine.
Whichever method you use, deep and full breathing plays an important role. Focus your attention on the muscle that you are stretching while breathing “into that muscle”. With each breath you should feel the muscle relax more and more. You will be able to gain flexibility more quickly than if you were not to pay attention to the muscle at all. The most important part to remaining flexible is to be consistent. Keep with it, and you will reap the benefits.
Fitmark Ambassador 2013