Flex your muscles: Loose limbs mean better workouts
Flexibility is very important to our fitness level because it allows us to perform the movements we want to do. If you are an athlete you'll want to have the ability to move through full range so you are at the top of your game. If you are moving...
Flexibility is very important to our fitness level because it allows us to perform the movements we want to do. If you are an athlete you'll want to have the ability to move through full range so you are at the top of your game. If you are moving for health you'll want to train for flexibility because supple joints allow you to move well.
Inadequate range of motion is the cause of many injuries. Lower back pain is often associated with tight abdominals, hip flexors, or hamstrings, and the more you hurt the less you move. The less you move the tighter your muscles become. The less you move creates a negative cycle leading nowhere fast.
Balance is learned. Many of us don't remember learning because we were very young when we began walking. If we can learn it, we can unlearn it, so we must keep doing it to keep our balance strong.
Balance and flexibility work in tandem, allowing us to move freely during our daily lives. As a component of fitness, flexibility training should be done after a workout, when the muscles are warm. Stretching after a workout allows your muscles to learn. They remember how far they stretch, which is how our flexibility grows safely.
Flexibility does have limits. We are genetically programmed to be more or less flexible, but this is not an excuse for ignoring flexibility training. You begin where you are and build upon it each day. Remember, fitness is about where you are, not where you think you should be, or where your neighbor is. It is all about you.
When you begin flexibility training start slow. Begin by holding stretches for 15-30 seconds at the point you feel tension in the muscle. Do not bounce as you hold these stretches, you'll run the risk of hurting muscle tissue and engaging the proprioceptors which are designed to keep you from stretching too far. We have a built in response system for muscle tension, and bouncing may damage muscle tissue by moving it beyond the threshold too quickly. Stretch all muscles you worked. Stretching may help delayed onset muscle soreness. There are many theories surrounding muscle soreness, but stretching seems to relieve it. Begin by moving around or taking a hot shower or bath, allowing blood to reach muscle tissue. Stretch muscles that are sore using the above guidelines.
Balance training is also important. Balance may be incorporated into many different movements, but my favorite way to teach balance is to have people brush their teeth while standing on one leg, alternate legs daily. Your body will adapt very quickly, as this is more a nervous system adaptation. More freedom in movement translates into moving more and this creates a positive cycle leading where you want to go -- living your life to its fullest.
Stacy Reuille-Dupont is owner of Superior Balance Fitness Center and SuperiorWorkout.
com. She welcomes your comments and may be reached at www.superiorbalance.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .