Why is Flexibility Training Important?
Flexibility training, or stretching, is arguably the most important and most neglected part of a fitness programme. Overworked, tight muscles lead to reduced range of movement, poor posture and injury. Yet most of us continue to see stretching as the boring bit we have to do before we can go home, if we do any stretching at all!
This is a mistake because good quality stretching can improve posture, extend muscle range of movement, correct imbalances and relax the mind and body.
Rather than run an extra couple of miles, or add a few extra reps onto a session, using that time for some quality stretching exercises will add greater long term benefits.
- Always warm up thoroughly before stretching. Trying to stretch before muscle is warm can lead to injury.
- Follow a full body stretching programme to improve posture and body alignment.
- Ensure your stretching technique is correct, poor stretching is as bad as no stretching!
- Relax and breathe easily through the stretch.
- Try to stretch at the end of each work out, or at least twice a week
- Do not stretch at the beginning of a work out, stretching cold muscles can lead to injury. Keep stretching to the last 15 minutes of your work out, or go to a specific stretching class as one of your recovery sessions.
- Do not bounce or rock whilst holding a stretch, this can lead to overstretching and injury
- Do not hold your breath during the stretch, this will cause your body to tense up. Try to breath slowly and regularly and your body will relax into the stretch.
- Don?t just focus stretches on a couple of muscles or just the stretches you like!
So, instead of seeing stretching as the boring bit of your training session, invest some time in learning how to do it properly and look at it as an investment.
Time spent stretching now will save you time and money recovering from injuries in the future.