As we get older our bodies start to become less flexible. Sitting in front of a desk the whole day does not really help the situation either. It tends to affect the hip flexors and hamstrings the worst, always giving you the feeling of stiffness and immobility. Over time, if we don’t work to improve our flexibility, our muscles will shorten and touching our toes might seem like an impossible task.
The importance of flexibility
We all know that exercise is important for a healthy life, but so is flexibility. Let’s look at a few reasons why:
• A flexible body makes for a flexible mind. When we are able to move better, we increase the blood and oxygen flow through the body. This helps to create a natural high, allowing your mood and mind to feel good. When we are flexible it is also easier to release any negative energies stored in stiff muscles, and this release can also help us to be more open, mentally.
• Flexibility increases muscle function, joint mobility and overall biomechanics. It helps to balance our posture.
• Increases range of motion and elongates the muscles, which allows for better movement and increased performance.
• Flexibility can condition the muscles to be less injury prone, decreasing the risk of injury.
• Helps to relieve tension related headaches and muscular pain.
• The more you stretch the more release there are in the muscles, this includes the release of chemical toxins and trapped blood. This helps the recovery from previous injury or trauma to the area.
What can I do to be more flexible?
Even if it feels like you will never be able to become flexible again, don’t worry, you can regain some of your flexibility through some easy stretches and massage. Firstly, the people who tend to be less flexible are those who are older, have larger bone diameters, have more body bulk and who have tight connective tissue. It’s best to start with a few warm-up exercises and quick stretches before you start your regular exercising. You can do long and deep stretches after your exercise session once your muscles are properly warm.
Massage is a great way to increase flexibility. A massage therapist will work your muscles in a way that will loosen and separate the muscle fibres. Massage brings more blood circulation and oxygen to the muscles, enabling them to work optimally. Your massage therapist will use certain movements to relax the muscles that will help to stretch and elongate them. The stimulation of lymph removal and better nerve connections will all help to improve your flexibility through massage. Myofascial release therapy is another form of massage that can help release tight connective tissue around our muscles, further increasing flexibility and range of motion.
Don’t give up on your flexibility. Talk to your massage therapist for recommended stretches that would best suit your body and try to incorporate them into your daily routine. You will soon start to notice better movement, less stiffness and body aches each time you get up from your desk.