With fitness becoming increasingly “trackable” these days, people are striving to break personal records for time and weights in their workouts, however, the importance of maintaining flexibility seems to fall by the wayside because it doesn’t seem as “productive”. We’re here to say that maintaining flexibility is more important than breaking weight records because you can’t break records when you’re injured.
Here are 3 reasons why maintaining flexibility is crucial to staying fit:
The most prominent and most important reason to stay flexible is to prevent injury. There are thousands of studies that show that the more flexible you are, the less likely you are to get injured. Flexibility gives you a greater range of motion, therefore, putting less pressure on your joints. Flexibility increases mobility, therefore, allowing your body to move in more strenuous ways without becoming injured. If your muscles are tense and have little range of motion, then continuing to engage in lifting heavy weights or running long distances can be too harsh on your body, resulting in serious muscle pulls and strains.
Increased flexibility also has a positive impact on your posture. By stretching hamstrings and hip flexor muscles, your back has more room to elongate while sitting and standing. With tighter muscles around the pelvic joints, the whole body will crunch downward. It may seem obvious, but our whole body is connected, so a tight right calf, can lead to the right hamstring overcompensating, which can lead to misalignment of the hips, then leading to a back injury, hence, creating stress. Therefore, making sure you are focusing on stretching the entire body is crucial to maintaining healthy alignment within the body for fluid muscle movement.
Stretching is a way for us to slow down. Between technology, family, jobs, and the chaos of the world around us, we rarely have time to slow down. However, slowing down is important for our physical and mental well-being. Taking time to hold a stretch for 3-5 minutes, instead of 30 seconds helps “improve the body’s immune response and reduced fibrotic restrictions to movement” according to a study done on Yin Yoga. In other words, holding a stretch for longer than you think you need to, can help the body relax and help attune you to stress signs in the body.
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