Flexibility is defined at a joint’s ability to move through a full range of motion. Any athlete can tell you that it is important to have a full range of movement, and most of them can tell you how serious it is to stretch every day and before and after every workout. Flexibility is an important part of everyone’s life, and good flexibility will add quality of life to anyone suffering from muscle pain.
As we overwork muscles, they can become sore and painful. This pain is cause by microscopic tears in the muscle tissue, and is an indication of growth. While this growth is usually a good thing, and indeed the goal of many athletes, the pain is an inconvenience that most of us could do without. For those of us who are not athletes, muscle pain is something that we have to deal with, many of us on a daily basis. It seems that if there were anything one could do to prevent and treat this pain, we would all be doing it. The sad truth is, though, that regularly stretching sore and tired muscles helps to ease their aches and pains – but so few people do it!
When a muscle is well stretched and the flexibility of associated joints increases, the range of motion is increased and the energy that it takes to move the joint decreases. This means that you are less likely to overstress the muscular tissue around the joints because the flexibility of the tissues is greater. Stretching can also relieve problems associated with poor posture, as stretching the muscles in the back can ease soft tissues back into their proper places and help to decrease the effort that it takes to achieve and maintain good posture throughout the day everyday.
Stretching also does a lot to relieve lower back pain because it promotes muscular relaxation. Flexibility in the hamstrings, hip flexors, quadriceps, and other muscles attaching to the pelvis help relieve contractions in those muscles and the resulting lack of tightness eases pressure in the lower back.
Blood flow is also increased with frequent stretching and because of the resultant flexibility. This increased blood flow carries away the toxins that are the waste by-products caused by working muscles, and reduces the muscle tightening that causes unnecessary muscle fatigue. Stretching your joints (and the increased blood flow resulting from the stretching) also causes tissue temperature to ruse slightly, which also helps with the increased circulation and nutrient flow. The tissue surrounding the joint benefits from greater elasticity and better performance.
No matter how you look at it, stretching and the resultant flexibility are good for your joints and good for the pain of poorly treated muscles. The joints’ lubricating fluid (joint syovial fluid) is also increased by the stretching of the tissues around the joints, which helps with preventing joint degradation and allows for a greater range of motion.
Stretching and good flexibility both help to improve coordination, ease back pain (especially in the lower back), enhance blood flow to your muscles (resulting in more energy and less muscle fatigue), and help to provide you with a better quality of life. If done properly, stretching even helps to relax both your mind and body, making it an ideal exercise to perform every night before bed to help you to sleep, or during a lunch break at work when you need a boost of calm.
Flexibility has many benefits, and is both fun and relaxing to do. It is easy to take a half hour or even lese every day to stretch your sore and tired muscles, and before long you will begin to notice a wonderful difference in your life and your body.