Stretching and Flexibility

26 Nov

Flexibility is a physical quality which, until recently, has not received the importance it deserves, and still not getting as well as it should get. Flexibility has two components: muscular stretching and range of motion. Muscular stretching is related to the ability of the muscles to lengthen and the range of motion is related to the ability to move. Our flexibility decreases with age. At birth have a flexibility of 100%. But over the years we lose flexibility and slowly become more rigid.

Stretching basically have two mechanisms of action:

1. A vascular level effect causes a “suction pump” which increases the blood flow into the muscle.
2. NEUROMUSCULAR causes a change of tone, either stimulating or inhibiting the muscle spindle, depending on the intensity and duration of the stretch.

Thus, depending duration of training, stretching has different levels of impact on human body. If you are more proactive and do stretching regularly, then you will get a better faster result. If you have a dog or a cat, you’ve probably noticed how often your pet elongate. Stretching generates a lot of health benefits, especially after being inactive all day.

But unlike our furry friends, we are not as likely to stop and stretch our bodies after long periods of inactivity. Modern technology has made us more inactive. I am not saying that we do not work. But most of the time we work using technology and brain, are not involved in any physical activity.

About 60% of the adults aged over 50 are leading an inactive life. So it is not so surprising that we see more health problems related to rigid joints and muscles. The joints and  muscles become rigid insubordination, swollen and even painful. Aging also creates muscle stiffness and poor flexibility. As we age our muscles tend to lose elasticity and the tissues around the joints thicken. That makes movement difficult. In fact, one can lose, every 10 years, 10 percent of flexibility. Here, it is truly the adage applies: “If not used, it will lose”. But is there any solution? Yes!

The best fitness routine is one that includes the four pillars of fitness:

  • Flexibility and stability
  • Resistance activities (aerobics, walking)
  • Strength
  • Balance training

Stretching helps keep your muscles relaxed, improving their flexibility and ability to tilt / bend your body without injury. Stretching can allow you to earn frequent mobility, making it easier to bend / stoop. It’s like a reward that you can feel every day.Staying flexible can help to:

  • Improve and maintain your range of motion, which, in turn, improves balance
  • Preventing falls
  • Relieving chronic pain
  • Reduce stress and tension
  • Improve circulation and concentration
  • Boost your energy
  • Improve your posture

Stretching has been promoted for years as an essential part of fitness programs and as a way to decrease the risk of injury, prevent inflammation and improve performance. Recent research concluded that stretching can reduce pain and inflammation after exercise. However, no evidence supports the theory that stretching immediately after exercise can prevent overuse injuries or acute physical.

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