Everyone, even the most sedentary folks, needs an individual level of flexibility and mobility. The question is, “How much?” Many individuals have been led to think that the extreme flexibility of an Olympic gymnast is a component of fitness. The fact is, however, that the vast majority of individuals already have an adequate level of flexibility. That is, they have ample flexibility to meet the exigencies of their daily activities with ease, and room to spare for life’s little emergencies (e.g., falling on ice, tripping, etc.)
- Flexibility can be increased by engaging yourself in physical activities.
- Different sports need different sort of flexibility such as yoga and gymnastic needs more flexibility. So, one should be trained accordingly.
- Flexibility depends on body shape.
- A high degree of flexibility can increase an incidence of the injury.
Flexibility, of course, varies from individual to individual. You need enough flexibility for any situation that you will typically encounter in day to day life, plus a little more. This “little more” is called the flexibility reserve.
Factors Affecting Flexibility
Health Benefits of Flexibility
- Increase joint movements
- Reduce muscle tension
- Less risk of muscle strain
- Reduce back problems
- Decreased muscle soreness
- Improved posture
- Development of body awareness
How to Do Full Body Stretches to Improve Joint Flexibility
- Static stretching and dynamic stretching are two well-known methods for increasing joint flexibility. Active and passive stretching belongs to static stretching. In static active stretching, you move slowly towards your extreme range of motion for the joint you are stretching. In static passive stretching, you have a partner move you towards your maximum range of motion, as you relax during stretching.
- Dynamic stretching involves swinging the arm and/or legs in a controlled manner.
Front Shoulder Stretch
- In a seated position on the ground, with knees, bent, place your hands behind with finger-pointing backward. Slowly slide your hands farther and farther backward until you feel your front deltoids being stretched. Stop and hold that stretched position for about one minute.
Serratus and Latissimus Stretch
- Reach arm up and over, bending at the elbow. The arm is now positioned behind the head as if stretching the triceps. While bending at the waist lateral, add a slight amount of pressure to the elbow width with the opposite hand.
Forearm and Wrist Stretch
- Start on all fours with a neutral spine. Support yourself on your hands and knees. Thumbs are pointed to the outside of the body with fingers pointed towards knees. Keep palms flat as you lean back to stretch the inside part of your forearms.
Forwards Torso Stretch
- While holding on to a bar with hands shoulder-width apart, bend forward at the waist. Make sure to be far enough away from the bare to elongate the torso.
- Lie in a supine position with one leg bent foot flat on the floor. Grab the back of opposite leg just below the knees and pull towards the chest. Keep the stretched leg straight but not locked at the knee joint.
Low Back Stretch
- As you lie flat on your back, bend one knee. Allow that knee to fall over the opposite leg, as the hip rises off the floor. Be sure to keep shoulders and upper torso on the mat.
- Lie on you back with both knees bent to alleviate pressure on the low back. Clasp hands behind head. Gently raise head off the mat and bring your chin to the chest.
Chest and Anterior Stretch
- Clasp hands together behind your back. Gently raise arms until you feel a stretch throughout the chest and shoulder region.
- Stand with one foot in front of the other. Bend one leg, and put your foot on the ground in front of you, with the other leg straight behind. Slowly move your hips forward, keeping your lower back flat.