Flexibility is the range of motion at a given joint. As an example, your shoulders should allow you to reach behind your back and touch both hands together. If this is not possible, you are not as flexible as you should be. This does not give you a license to force yourself to do this stretch. Flexibility must be attained in a controlled and safe manner. Flexibility is likely the most neglected aspect of physical fitness and should be a part of everybody's weekly fitness routine.
What is the big deal about flexibility? Flexibility increases physical efficiency and performance. A flexible joint has the ability to move farther in its range and requires less energy to do so. Flexibility decreases risk of injury. Most professionals agree that increasing ROM (range of motion) decreases the resistance in various tissues, and a person is therefore less likely to incur injury by exceeding tissue extensibility or maximum range of tissues during activity.
Flexibility increases blood supply and nutrients to joint structures. Flexibility training increases tissue temperature which in turn increases circulation and nutrient transport. This allows greater elasticity of surrounding tissues. Flexibility provides increases quality and quantity and decreasing the viscosity, or thickness, of sinovial fluid enables more nutrients to be transported to the joint articular cartilage. This allows more freedom of movement and has a tendency to decelerate joint degenerative processes.
Flexibility increases neuromuscular coordination. Studies have shown that nerve impulse velocity (the time it takes an impulse to travel to the brain and return) is enhanced with flexibility training. In attuning the central nervous system (CNS) to the physical demands placed upon it, opposing muscle groups work in a more synergistic or coordinated fashion. Flexibility training also reduces muscle soreness. Recent studies have indicated that stretching is extremely... [continues]
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(2005, 11). Flexibility. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 11, 2005, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Flexibility-69008.html
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