Good flexibility promotes healthy muscles and joints. Improving and maintaining a good range of motion in your joints can enhance your quality of life. Improving the elasticity of muscles and connective tissue around joints allows greater freedom of movement and enhances your ability to participate in many types of sports and perform activities with greater ease. Optimal flexibility also makes activities of daily living such as bending, turning, and lifting easier to perform. Participating in a regular stretching program increases circulation to the muscles being stretched, helps decrease low back problems, improves postural alignment, promotes graceful body movement, can improve self image, and helps to maintain proper motor skills throughout life.
Improving your bending ability is crucial for more than just preventing injury. In fact, flexibility training is an important aspect of gaining strength and size. The typical lifter spends most of their day outside of the gym hunched forward over a computer further deteriorating any chance at proper posture. Outside of just preventing injury, having better posture helps to show off the muscular physique you worked so hard to build. Proper flexibility also goes hand in hand with full range of motion exercises like squats and deadlifts, which are major muscle builders. Having tight hips and shoulders can inhibit proper form and limit your fitness.
So, what are some different ways to stay flexible? The best way to maintain flexibility is to stretch regularly. Whatever your age, you must incorporate stretching at least once a day. Even if it is not part of an exercise regimen, there are several simple stretching exercises that you can do at your desk or even in front of the TV. If time is short, focus on stretches that work the larger muscle groups such as shoulders, hamstrings, hips and lower back, and calf muscles. It is these areas that are prone to stiffness and soreness, as we grow older. But remember to always be careful to not overdo it.
There are several ways to improve your flexibility. Stretching and exercise help considerably but you also need to keep an eye on your diet and nutrition. Eating junk food and snacking on fatty and sugary snacks can make matters worse. You can promote fitness by combining a balanced diet (full of fresh fruits and vegetables) along with nutritional supplements that support joint health and improve your mobility. Incorporating things like ginger and turmeric in your diet and supplementing with fish oil can go a long way in improving your joint health.
Although there are physiological changes that occur, as we grow older, regularly stretching and performing range of motion exercises can improve flexibility at any age, helping to increase longevity and enhance overall quality of life.
A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!