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Flexibility in Fitness: Definition, Stretches & Exercises

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  • 0:01 Definition of Flexibility
  • 0:40 Benefits of…
  • 1:17 Stretching Tips
  • 1:59 Exercises: Yoga,…
  • 3:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Ricketts

Donna Ricketts is a health educator with 15 years of professional experience designing health and wellness programs for adults and children.

Flexibility is important in fitness because it allows for better performance when playing sports or exercising, and in your day-to-day activities makes bending, walking, and lifting easier. In this lesson, you will learn how stretching and certain types of exercises can help improve flexibility.

Definition of Flexibility

Without adequate flexibility, daily activities such as getting out of bed, lifting a child, or squatting to pick something up can become more difficult to do. In addition, inadequate flexibility can affect your athletic performance by preventing you from reaching the full potential, strength, and power of your muscles.

Flexibility is defined as the range of motion of your joints or the ability of your joints to move freely. It also refers to the mobility of your muscles, which allows for more movement around the joints. Range of motion is the distance and direction your joints can move, while mobility is the ability to move without restriction.

Benefits of Flexibility Training

There are several benefits of flexibility training. It increases range of motion. Flexibility training helps improve the range of motion of your joints and muscles. Next, it decreases your risk of injury. When your muscles are flexible, you are less likely to become injured during physical activity. It also reduces muscle soreness. Flexibility training can help reduce muscle soreness post-workout. Stretching after you exercise keeps your muscles loose and relaxed. Lastly, it improves athletic performance. When your joints and muscles are flexible, you use less energy while in motion, which improves your overall performance.

Stretching Tips

Flexibility is often overlooked in conditioning programs, but it is just as important to fitness as aerobics or strength training. One way to improve flexibility is to incorporate stretching into your fitness routine. Stretching during and after you workout, can help ward off stiffness and keep you limber.

Here are a few things to remember when stretching:

  • Always warm up before stretching. Stretching when your muscles are cold could lead to injuries.
  • Stretch your entire body.
  • Hold your stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds, but do not bounce.
  • Stretch to the point where you feel some mild tension. If you feel any pain, stop and pull back until you feel no pain.
  • Breathe normally when stretching; never hold your breath.

Exercises: Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi

Another way to improve flexibility is to perform specific exercises that are designed to help better your mobility. Just like push-ups help increase strength, and jogging helps increase your aerobic capacity, there are types of exercises that help improve flexibility. Activities such as yoga, Pilates, and tai chi, can help stretch and strengthen your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, in addition to improving your range of motion.

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