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The Importance of Exercise: Flexibility

There are 4 types of fitness: strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Previously we have discussed the first three. Our final type of exercise and fitness is flexibility. Flexibility is the range of motion of your joints or the ability of your joints to move freely. Additionally, it could also mean the mobility of muscles that’s able to move freely around your joints. Flexibility is often under looked just like balance, so today we are going to bring more awareness to that aspect of fitness.

Benefits of flexibility

There are many benefits of having good flexibility; decreasing the likelihood of injuries, greater strength and improve physical performance are just a few. If we think of our muscles like a rubber band, it would be easier to understand how having good flexibility can help us in the aspects mentioned above. Firstly, by increasing your flexibility you are less likely to get injure because there is more ‘give’ in the muscles. Just like a rubber band, it’s hard to break in its normal state and only breaks if it’s overstretched. If our muscles can be more flexible, it can stretch more resulting in a decreased likelihood of strains and sprains.

Secondly, having more flexibility can increase strength. In order to maximise your strength, you’ll need to maximise range of motion which can be achieved by having greater flexibility. Finally, improving flexibility can also improve our physical performance. This is because as we become more flexible, we are able to store more kinetic energy. Just like a rubber band, if it’s stretched to its maximum and released, it’ll fly further with more force. The muscles in our body are just like rubber bands. If it can be stretched further and then contract, it’ll produce more force and explosive power. As a result, it’ll help with physical performance especially for athletes.

How to become more flexible

So the main way improve flexibility is through stretching. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to increase flexibility. The best way is to consistently stretch different parts of your body every day. For example, one day you can stretch just your upper body muscles, on the second focus on your back muscles and on the third focus on your lower body etc. If you stretch consistently, the results will come and gradually more flexibility will be gained. Fortunately, we don’t need to spend too long every day working on our flexibility, 2-4 minutes of daily stretching in total will be enough.

Flexibility is one out of the 4 types of fitness. There are many benefits by becoming more flexible, decreasing likelihood of injuries, increasing strength and improving physical strength are only some mentioned. To become more flexible, you must work on it every day for 2-4 minutes. So it is possible to become bendy without dedicating hours to it. But remember to work on flexibility on different parts of the body! This concludes our ‘Importance of Exercise’ series of post. Keep working on all 4 types of fitness and your body will become stronger and healthier!