When you think about getting fit, cardio and strength training likely come to mind. But there is another important element to fitness that is often ignored. And it's vital for helping you achieve your fitness goals.
Flexibility improves muscle elasticity and length. This in turn increases range of motion, which positively impacts aerobic fitness and muscle strength. It can even help you perform everyday tasks with ease. The fact is, a flexible and agile body helps improve your workout performance and reduces your risk for injury.
Warming Up/Cooling Down vs. Flexibility Training
First, let’s not confuse warming up or cooling down with flexibility training. The main goal for warming up prior to your workout is to increase your body temperature. And you may even want to avoid stretching during your warm up because, according to the Mayo Clinic, stretching before a high intensity activity may decrease performance.
Cooling down, on the other hand, is a gradual decrease in physical exertion after a workout. Cooling down, which does often include some stretching, helps reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscle cramps and stiffness. And while stretching during your cool down is great, if you really want to see improvements in your flexibility, you’ll need to dedicate more time to stretching than a few minutes after a workout.
How Good Flexibility Helps Improve Workouts
Flexibility refers specifically to range of motion, which is how far you can move a certain body part such as a muscle or joint during a stretch. Flexibility enhances movement and mobility, which helps you work out better. Here’s how.
4 Ways Flexibility Improves Workouts
Fewer injuries and less pain
Being flexible enables you to endure more physical stress. It also corrects muscle imbalance, which reduces your risk for injury and pain. To correct muscle imbalance, you’ll need to strengthen your underactive muscles and stretch out your tight, overactive muscles.
Better posture and balance
Muscular flexibility improves posture by properly aligning and correcting any imbalances. Plus, by increasing your range of motion, standing or sitting in certain positions just gets easier. Yoga poses that include breath and muscle contractions can help you steadily realign your body and improve your posture.
Improved joint health
Flexibility allows your joints to move through their full range of motion — without pain and stiffness. It also creates more supple muscles that help support the joints. Flexible muscles and tendons provide a greater range of motion during workout activities and sports.
Enhanced exercise performance
When muscles are tight, they shorten and weaken. As a result, other muscles work harder to adapt, creating fatigue. This means reduced speed of movement, strength, and power. Supple muscles contract better, which decreases wear and tear on joints, and promotes healing on stressed tissue.
Tips For Improving & Maintaining Flexibility
If your range of motion is limited, then it’s harder to move a specific muscle or joint within a normal range. And the reason might be due to swelling around the joints, pain, or stiffness. But for many people it’s simply a matter of living a sedentary lifestyle. If muscles are too tight, your performance is inhibited.
Here are a few tips to improve and maintain flexibility…
Properly warm up
Make sure to warm up prior to doing any stretches. Muscles need to be warm, soft, and pliable to be stretched safely. Warm up with light cardio for about 5 to 10 minutes. This helps nourish muscles and increase synovial fluid to your joints for easier movement.
Add foam rolling to your routine
Boost flexibility by adding foam rolling to your routine. Foam rolling helps relieve muscle tightness, soreness, and improves inflammation. It also increases joint range of motion.
Go easy into the stretch
Don’t bounce into the stretch, which only over stretches the muscle. Go easy, and once you feel tension, hold the position. Never push past the mild discomfort and pain when working your range of motion. You’ll do more harm than good.
Watch your breathing
Stay relaxed and breathe easy through your stretches. This will help reduce muscular tension throughout your body. Relaxed breathing helps take your stretch further. Holding your breath only serves to tense your entire body, thus making stretching more difficult.
Add Collagen Peptides to your daily routine
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins found in your body. It helps protect your bones, skin, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. Having adequate amounts of collagen in your body can help improve joint functionality, resulting in increased mobility and flexibility. And supplementing with Collagen Peptides can help get you there. *
Collagen Peptides support joint health and flexibility
Your body’s natural collagen keeps your joints stretchy. But as we age, collagen naturally decreases. And that can lead to joint stiffness, which hinders flexibility. Supplementing with Collagen Peptides helps support the tissue that protects your joints. In fact, some studies suggest that collagen supplements can help improve overall joint pain. *
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.