What is flexibility and why is it important? Keep reading to find out or watch a video clip below.
A lot of people think that they’re not very flexible and look at what other people are able to do. What’s important to remember is that everybody is different. You each have your own range of movements. Work to your own body’s capability and please, don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
What is Flexibility?
In our one-to-one sessions with people, we talk a lot about flexibility. So what are we meaning?
Flexibility is where a joint can go through its full range of movement.
Examples of two different joints:
There are obviously a few different joints around the body. Each joint has its own range of movement and it’s good to know the normal range of movement for the joints. Once you know what’s expected, you can check if you’re restricted or not.
Important Note: The normal range is only a guideline. People are different and may not fall into this “normal range”.
Range of movement: 0-150 degrees
Range of movement: 0-20 degrees
Why is Flexibility so Important?
So then why is this flexibility so important and why do we talk about it so much?
Full capacity to move:
Having the joint’s full range of movement available to you means that the muscles around it can work at their best capacity.
If the joint doesn’t have its full range of movement, then the muscles around it will not work at their best. They’re either going to be working at a shorter or lengthened capacity, which won’t give a mechanical advantage that having a full range available to them does.
The significance of a reduced range of movement:
The significance of having a reduced range of movement depends on which joint you’re looking at.
Significance at the Elbow:
Elbow “normal” range of movement is 0-150 degrees
If you lack e.g. 10 degrees, the range changes to 0-140 degrees. This won’t change the function of the elbow that much because you have a large range of movement that it goes through.
Significance at the Ankle:
Ankle “normal” range of movement is 0-20 degrees
If you lack e.g. 10 degrees, the range changes to 0-10 degrees. So you’re going to lose 50% (!) of that joint’s capacity to move. So 10 degrees is more significant for the ankle than it is for the elbow.
Slowly, the joints can get a bit stiffer
Slowly, over time, joints can just get that little bit stiffer depending on the different activities that you do on a day to day basis.
For example, somebody that sits on a train, sits in a car, and then goes to work and sits at a desk is likely to be a little bit stiff in the hips in particular, but also the knees and the ankles.
Muscles can Overwork
If you have a restricted range of movement at a joint, the muscles can be overworking to try and get you that full range of movement. Getting the joint moving as the body thinks it should, can cause a lot of strain in the area and on the muscles and tissues around the joint. This can then cause pain in the area.
Remember – Listen to your Body!
Please remember to listen to your body. Get any aches and pains checked out sooner rather than later.
If you’re interested in learning more, then over the next few weeks we’ll explain how to improve your flexibility, go through a specific example and provide an easy flexibility workout for the body.
We’d love to hear from you. If you’ve got any questions, then please let us know. Share this video or blog with anyone you know that would benefit from knowing why we talk a lot about flexibility.
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