Build strength, flexibility, and calm the mind - doesn't sound too bad? Yoga and Pilates have proven to benefit us physically and mentally, but some of us hesitate to join our local class because we feel we are not flexible enough. Does it matter? NO. And you shouldn't let it hold you back.
What is flexibility?
You may think that being flexible means being able to bend over and touch your toes with no resistance, but there's more to being flexible than you might think. Flexibility is defined by the range of motion of a given joint or group of joints, or the level of tissue extensibility that a muscle group possesses. Basically, it's how good you can bend! Flexibility is also one health aspect that is most neglected, which can create problems throughout your whole body.
When you stretch the tiny fibres in your muscles slide apart until they reach their limitation. When you hold a stretch, the tissues in the muscle give a little as it has elastic qualities, the longer you hold the stretch the more you test the tissue's elastic properties. It then does lengthen and won't shrink back for some time. The longer you hold the stretch, the longer it will hold a new length.
You can read more of the sciencey stuff here: https://bit.ly/2NkuZEc
Why is it important?
Stretching your muscles can help prevent injuries, back pain, and balance problems. Keeping on top of your flexibility can help prevent disc strains that occur when turning over in a bed, or getting out of bed, back aches due to going from standing to sitting, bending down to pick something up or even walking up and down the stairs. It can enhance your sport performance, make cardio easier and help you feel more energetic when playing with kids. If that doesn't convince you then we have two words for you, 'Kama Sutra'.
How do I master flexibility?
Stretching is the best way to improve flexibility and incorporating stretching just once into your daily routine can make all the difference. Do them in front of the tv, or while you wait for the kettle to boil! One area of our bodies that seems to suffer the most is our hamstrings, and not just with us, it's a common injury amongst athletes too.
According to the American Council on Exercise, everyone should stretch each muscle group for 30 minutes at least three times a week in order to see benefits. If you stick to this, you should see results in first couple of weeks! Want to do splits? Stretch for two months, for at least 10 minutes a day.
Just make sure you have proper breast support before you starting bending!
Check out our Yoga & Pilates page for more information.