Flexibility. Why You Should Understand It And Get Flexible.
Understanding stretching and flexibility.
So much have been said about stretching and how to improve flexibility fast. The importance of flexibility cannot be over stated, it is needed to perform every day activity with relative ease. So, what really is flexibility? Flexibility is the ability of a joint to achieve a full Range of Motion (ROM) with proper balance of elasticity and plasticity. Elasticity is the ability of both muscular and connective tissue to return to normal length after being stretched. Plasticity is the ability of connective tissue to achieve a new and greater length after being stretched.
Our bodies are fitted with automatic ‘guard systems’-the muscle spindle and Golgi Tendon (stretch receptors) – this prevents us from injury during stretch. The muscle spindle is a sensory receptor that lies within the muscle fiber and detects changes in the rate of lengthening. It protects the muscle from over lengthening, the golgi tendon helps the muscle to relax when it incurs too much tension or incurs a change in tension too quickly. Try touching your toes to stretch your hamstrings, notice that after 20 seconds your muscles seems to relax allowing you to stretch further. The initial tightness is caused by muscle spindles detecting a change in length. The golgi tendon then kicks in to release the tension allowing you to stretch further.
How to improve flexibility fast.
There are different theories on how to improve flexibility fast but here is the deal. Flexibility differs between people for various reasons. Generally, younger people tend to be more flexible than the older, and women tend to be more flexible than men. This could be due to anatomical differences and types of activities which individuals perform. Inactivity and decreased use of full ROM can affect your flexibly. So, it is important to be active, stretch and utilize full range of motion when exercising. Improved flexibility will enhance your training and reduce the likelihood of injury due to the enhanced ability to move unimpeded through a wider ROM. It will also help your posture
There are various forms of stretching but generally the two most common types are dynamic and static stretches. Static stretching is the gradual lengthening of a muscle by holding a position at the first point of resistance for about 30 secs or more. Dynamic stretches requires constant controlled motion through a full range of motion. It is wise not to have overly tight muscles or significant muscular imbalances before attempting a stretch.
Try using a foam roller (Myofascial Release) to release those tight muscles, and warm up properly before a stretch. Ideally you want to apply dynamic stretches before a workout and static stretches after a workout. And remember, Stretching should never be painful the focus should be on bringing the muscle to a point of slight tension. It is important to have the right balance of strength and flexibility so when not sure of what to do, seek personal coaching from a qualified and knowledgeable trainer who understands your needs.