Do you ever wonder where those days of donning your socks from a standing position went to? In youth we rarely notice our flexibility or lack there of. It’s only in our adult years that we give thought to slipping in and out of a car seat, bending over to tie our shoes or pluck pesky weeds from the flower garden. Aging, injury and various conditions all impact flexibility but growing evidence indicates how important remaining flexible is to longevity and quality of life.
Flexibility not only makes everyday tasks easier and safer it’s also an essential component of overall physical fitness.
A recent study out of the University of Milan, Italy and published in the Journal of Physiology found remarkable improvements in blood flow and a decrease in artery stiffness in participants that engaged in 12 weeks of stretching exercises. Researchers believe these findings indicate that regular stretching exercises can improve cardiovascular health and even reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Inflexible muscles are easily fatigued, this results in surrounding muscles having to take on more than their fair share of the load. This imbalance frequently leads to muscle injury and also the inability of these muscles to protect our joints from severe injuries.
Flexibility increases our range of motion and mobility. Stretching improves blood flow to muscles and basically takes the muscles through a dry run of movements you are asking from your body on a daily basis. Whether it’s performing on the running track or simply bending over to load the dishwasher, a regular routine of stretching can make these activities easier.
Muscles, tendons and ligaments all support the proper functioning of our joints. But these tissues weaken as we age and consequently it becomes more difficult to take our joints through their full range of motion. So although you could once easily bend over and touch the floor with the palms of your hands, maybe you can now barely reach your ankles.
The ends of our bones are covered with a cushioning cartilage which is filled with collagen. Normal wear and tear can cause this cartilage to thin and lose it’s protective quality. The result is pain, stiffness and inflammation in our joints. These symptoms have a significant impact on how flexible a joint is.
It’s the old use it or lose it syndrome. Simply put, tight muscles reduce the mobility of joints. When our joint mobility is reduced our body movements are restricted and this has far reaching impacts on body alignment and posture, which can further result in joint and back problems.
Be sure to approach a new stretching routine using good technique and consult a professional if you are unsure or have any injuries. Remember that improper stretching can often do more harm than good.
Flexibility takes time to develop. Pushing yourself too quickly or too far into a range of motion can end in injury. Experts suggest a 20 minute session at least 3 times per week.
Stretch after a work-out or at the end of the day, when your muscles are warmed up. Even having a warm bath can facilitate a stretching session.
It can be difficult to start or continue with flexibility exercises if you are suffering from joint pain associated with arthritis or injury. Marine Collagen has been well studied for its effectiveness to reduce joint pain, stiffness and inflammation. DeepMarine has strong anti-inflammatory properties to improve joint mobility and facilitate smooth functioning.
Ultimately stretching feels great and the benefits can have positive impacts on your overall health.