Stretching and the question of flexibility
Knowing when and how to stretch can change your approach to exercise and influence your form and performance significantly.
We all gravitate towards activities which we are good at, so it’s no surprise that yoga, gymnastics and dance appeal to those that are naturally more flexible while cardio and weights are preferred options for those seeking to build muscle and strength.
However, all of us need a bit of both to ensure we avoid injuries and soreness.
In the naturally flexible, muscles that feel tight are often overworking to compensate for a weakness in a neighbouring muscle. This overworking in one area becomes uncomfortable and will feel great to stretch.
There are lots of reasons why a muscle will feel “tight”. Tension can be a result of the activities we choose (for example, tight hamstrings in people that sit a lot); it can occur as a response to injury (protective spasm in a muscle over an injured area); there can be tension as a result of overuse; or we can have tight areas predetermined by genetics.
Understanding why you feel the need to stretch and knowing when and how to stretch can change your approach to exercise and can influence your form and performance significantly.
While overstretching already flexible areas can be troublesome, activities like yoga don’t just give you a good stretch, they can also greatly encourage strength through flexibility.
Learn how to incorporate stretching or strengthening into your current exercise regime so as to improve your patterns of movement, reduce load on your body and reduce your risk of injury.