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Why should I care about the flexibility of my body?

When your body is more flexible you will have:

  1. More ROM (range of motion) which means you can move with more freedom, less stiffness and use less energy to do the movement
  2. Increased blood and nutrients to the joints to keep them healthy
  3. Increased synovial fluid to lubricate the joints
  4. Improved balance and posture
  5. All of the above helps prevent the degenerative joint process and reduces back pain     

 

Health, longevity and functionality is obviously the most important reason but you should also care about your flexibility if you care about how you look.

Muscles are formed and developed by putting stress on them through a range of motion and that added stress through a full range of motion develops the muscle.  So if the range of motion is limited then it will affect the development of the muscle and ultimately the amount of load that you can put on a muscle.

So if you are concerned about having nice developed muscles that are toned a flexible body allows for greater development.

The muscle and joints of the body work best and are designed to function when the muscles on all sides of a joint are at an optimal length. When a muscle is tight is shortened and cannot move properly in coordination with it’s opposing muscle. Over time this can lead to uneven tension on a joint and if left unattended can lead to injuries. A classic example is excessively tight hip flexors and weak hip extensors muscles leading to impaired movement of the hip join that eventually requires a person to have their hip replaced. This is why you should care about maintaining flexibility, because a pliable body will move better and will not be as injured or wear out with time.  

Kelly Traver
Internal Medicine

One reason for you to maintain flexibility of your body is that day-to-day activities are easier and less painful if you aren't stiff. Also, if you are an athlete, some sports, such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, and tennis, involve jumping and cutting movements, which require you to be flexible.

Proper nutrition plays a role in flexibility because the body depends on being able to make certain substances that are important to the elasticity of connective tissue. Also, if you have poor blood sugar control, you may eventually develop inadequate blood flow to the tendons, which can lead to recurrent tendonitis.

Hydration is also important. The water content of connective tissue decreases with aging and contributes to stiffness. The water content also decreases with inactivity. An example of this can be seen in someone who has just had a cast or splint removed. Two weeks of immobilization can cause the hydration of connective tissue to decrease by up to 50 percent, creating a stiff and often achy joint. Too much physical or emotional stress can decrease flexibility because muscles tense when the sympathetic nervous system fires. The same thing occurs with inadequate sleep.

Nutrition, activity, sleep, stress management-they all play a role in your body's flexibility, just as they do in your overall health.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.