‘Flexibility’ can be defined as the ability of a joint or, alternatively, a series of joints to move through an unrestricted, pain-free, range of motion. While flexibility fluctuates widely from person to person, minimum ranges are required for maintaining joint health in addition to total body health.
Many variables are responsible for affecting the loss of normal joint flexibility. This includes injury, inactivity or a lack of stretching. The range of motion will be affected by the mobility of the soft tissues which surround the joint. These soft tissues include:
- Joint capsules, and
A lack of stretching, particularly when combined with activity, can lead to a fatigue-induced soft tissue shortening over time.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Not Being Flexible?
If you are not adequately flexible, you will experience a number of negative effects. Some of these are the following:
- Joints need movement through a full range of motion to maintain the health of cartilage and other structures within the joint. This is done with enhanced blood supply and nutrients to joint structures, in addition to an increased quantity of synovial joint fluid . This effect can be specifically noticeable in weight-bearing joints such as the hips and knees.
- Muscles which are inflexible tire more quickly. This causes opposing muscle groups to work harder. Muscle fatigue may lead to muscular injuries as well as the inability of the muscles to protect joints from more severe injuries. For instance, the hamstrings play a role in stabilising the knee in addition to preventing ACL tears.
- In addition, decreased flexibility may lead to abnormal stress on structures as well as tissues which are distant from the initial site of inflexibility. One example of this is that tendonitis in the knee can be related to calf tightness.
Additional benefits of a regular flexibility and stretching routine are:
- Increased neuromuscular coordination
- Return of muscle to natural resting state
- Modifying blood pooling, recirculation
What Is Range Of Motion?
The term ‘range of motion’ means that each joint – in addition to each group of muscles in your body – could have a different range of motion (ROM). Alternatively, these could have a different level of flexibility. Some areas of your body could be very tight. This means that the muscles feel short and restricted. A number of areas in your body may feel very loose which means that you may be able to lengthen as well as move those muscles freely.
Exercisers who make a point of including flexibility training as part of a balanced fitness programme enjoy many benefits. Stretching exercises can assist with decreasing stress as well as improving the way your body moves and feels during the day. Enhanced flexibility can even lead to a better posture. All of these benefits assist you to move more often throughout the day as well as burn more calories. So if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s smart to include flexibility exercises in your weight-loss programme.
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