By Novia Liew
Flexibility is often a skill associated with yogis, dancers and gymnasts who can leap into air splits on request (and kudos to them). But the fact is, whether you’re a pro contortionist, a corporate bee, an athlete, or a home-based hustler, flexibility is something we should all incorporate in our muscles to improve our health and well-being. So, why exactly is flexibility so important?
1. Lowers the risk of injury
And we mean both sport and everyday injuries. The NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training discovers that “among the more common problems seen in individuals with poor flexibility is lower back pain potentially resulting from tight quadriceps, iliopsoas, and back muscles”. By having more flexibility, your joints can move through a larger range of motion. You’ll be able to move through your day with less movement restrictions, and go deeper in your pliés with greater ease too!
2. Improves your posture and balance
We all know that the #desklife causes lots of shoulder tension and tight hips, hence resulting in the all-too-familiar postural slouch. Grayson Wickham, founder of Movement Vault explains, “When we spend time in suboptimal positions, certain muscles in our body — such as shoulders, back, core, and neck — actually shorten”. By improving flexibility, tight muscles can then lengthen and improve your body’s physical structure and balance!
3. Enhances mobility
Think better arm and shoulder extensions for tennis players, better shoulder rotations for swimmers, longer strides for runners. Did you know that mobility is closely linked to flexibility in that both affect the body’s ability to function properly? Stretching and improving flexibility can allow muscles to lengthen, relax and work through a greater range of motion. thus, help athletes perform better in workouts and in competition. This translates into being able to maximise your muscle engagement, getting more out of your workout each time!
4. Allows you to feel more free, open, relaxed and confident inside out
Lengthening your muscles through improved flexibility is a sure way to feel prouder and taller in your daily movements! Bonus, you may find it easier to unwind once your body feels more relaxed and free. As Joie says in 3 Reasons Why Stretching is the New Massage, a stretch class is more than just physical stretching. It’s your moment to “re-centre and recover mentally and emotionally”. Improving flexibility therefore helps you loosen up tight muscles, stretch your mind toward more positivity and equip you with the mood to seize the day.
5. Gives you greater comfort in your general day
Because of the ability to sit in many different positions and deepen into those “shiok” stretches you otherwise cannot do with tight muscles, being flexible definitely gives you the luxury of being in greater control of your body and bend it to your will — literally!
Here’s the good news: improving your flexibility is 100% achievable and relatively easy. It’s really just about stretching and lengthening your muscles regularly. At our happy place, we like to do it while grooving to upbeat music and throw in a little dynamic burn. You know us, we never say no to a double whoop for self-care!
As Chef Gusteau says, “Anyone can cook”, we say “Anyone can stretch” – and should! Take it from us, flexibility is a marathon, not a sprint – get started and be consistent. We promise you’ll start to feel the magic within your body in no time!