Did you know that physically active individuals tend to be more flexible than those who live a sedentary lifestyle? A person who’s inactive tends to have weaker, less flexible muscles. And when you don’t exercise regularly, the muscles lose flexibility and size even further! Apart from boosting muscle strength and mobility, flexibility also builds core strength. Curious about the link between flexibility and fitness? Read on to know more facts about flexibility and how it can help you stay fit:
The Importance of Stretching
Most people associate stretching with warm up exercises. Stretching prior to exercising “warms up” the muscles for the workout ahead. It also protects from injuries and after-work out soreness. But there’s more to stretching than prepping the muscles for a workout. When the muscles are flexible, they are stronger, more resistant to break down. To maximize the benefits of stretching, flex before and after your workout.
Benefits of Dynamic Stretching
A heart-pumping, dynamic stretching is one of the best pre-workout warm up! This routine raises the body’s temperature. It preps you from the exertion ahead. However, dynamic stretching does not decrease your strength, speed or power.
Start with a low-intensity rhythmic activity to gradually raise the body temperature and heart rate. Then, ease yourself into a more challenging routine.
Developing a Six-Pack
One of the surprising benefits of being flexible is a strong core. And when you have a strong core, it’s easier to achieve washboard abs. Why? The hip flexor and the deep abdominals have to be toned to achieve a defined midsection. You can do that through flexibility workout. When the core is strong, the body becomes resistant to injury, it’s also more stable. Pairing flexibility exercises with proper diet is one of the best ways to reduce belly fat.
Reduce Acute Back Pain
According to fitness experts, back aches in adults are often caused by weak core muscles and poor posture. By toning the back muscles, pain is eliminated. Poor posture puts too much strain on the spine, causing pain. Flexibility workout also corrects the posture, preserving the S-shape of the spine.
Pilates and yoga are two of the most popular flexibility workouts there are. These routines improve flexibility and build core strength. Flexibility exercises might not increase muscle mass, but they improve definition and mobility. Flexibility workout also alleviates stress. Research shows that yoga is one of the best methods of relieving stress and anxiety.
Don’t Flex Cold Muscles
When the muscle is at rest, there’s less blood flow within. You have to warm up the muscles to boost blood flow and prep them for the workout ahead. Stretching cold muscles can lead to pain, soreness and stress.
Target All Muscle Groups
It’s tempting to focus on the midsection alone because you want washboard abs. But don’t. You have to flex all major muscle groups to achieve a slimmer, more muscular frame. That includes the back, shoulders, the calves, and the hamstrings.
Don’t Overdo It
Stretching shouldn’t be painful. If you’ve been performing flexibility workout until every muscle fiber in your body is screaming in pain, you’re doing it wrong. When it comes to flexibility, there is no such thing as “no pain, no gain.” If the workout hurts too much, stop, rest, and recover.