Flexibility and Fitness
Flexibility is an essential component of good health and is critical to peak fitness. By increasing your flexibility and range of motion, you can avoid injury.
Without flexibility, your body is an injury waiting to happen. Tight muscles are unable to go through their normal ranges of motion, placing you are risk of injury. Make stretching a part of all your workouts.
- Warm up first. Make sure muscles are warmed up before stretching. A warm-up should consist of an activity that increases circulation and heart rate.
- Stretch slowly. The movement should be gradual, never jerky, stiff or hard.
- Synchronize your breathing with your movement. The way you breathe can either rev up or calm down your nervous system. In turn, this influences our heart rate and blood pressure. Relax and breathe deeply — it will greatly increase the ability of your muscles to stretch through a greater range of motion.
- Hold It! It's important to hold each stretch 20-30 seconds to allow the muscles to lengthen.
- Repeat the stretch. Do each stretch three or four times on each side daily.
- Avoid pain. Never stretch to the point of pain. If you feel pain during the stretch you might be stretching too hard or your muscle might be injured.