The highest range of motion that is available around a joint is known as Flexibility. It is also known as range of movement (ROM). The major limiting factor of ROM is the makeup of the joint. The main reason for this variability in ROM is because of the elasticity in the muscles and the tendons that lie close to the joints. Range of motion across a joint is high if the muscles and tendons are compliant and ROM is low if the muscles and tendons are stiff. Flexibility exercises help in altering the elasticity of muscles and tendons. Flexibility training helps in balancing the muscles and tendons associated with the joints. Apart from this there are many other benefits of Flexibility.
1. Decreases risks to injury
Flexibility exercises increase the range of motion of the joints and decreases the risk of injury. The amount of energy used up in performing these motions is less. Flexibility training also reduces resistance in tissues and thus reduces the chances of injury by increasing tissue extensibility during activity.
2. Helps to improve posture
Flexibility exercises develop muscular balance and improve posture. As a result of gravity and improper postural habits the soft-tissues of the body become poorly adapted. Stretching helps in realigning of soft- tissue structures and maintenance of good posture during daily activities.
3. Helps to improve blood supply to body tissues.
Another important benefit of flexibility is that it increases the amount of blood supplied to the body tissues and especially to the joint structures. As a result of stretching, the tissue temperature increases, as a result of which the blood circulation also increases. This enhances the elasticity of tissues surrounding the joints and improves performance.
4. Helps to improve supply of nutrients.
The increase in blood circulation boosts the amount of nutrients transferred to the tissue. Stretching also enhances the release of joint synovial fluid (a lubricating fluid). This promotes the transportation of nutrients to the cartilage of the joints. This increases the range of motion and also decreases joint degeneration.
5. Helps to improve muscle coordination.
Flexibility training helps to improve neuromuscular coordination. Studies have revealed that the time taken to carry an impulse to the brain and then back again improves to stretching. As a result the contrasting groups of muscles work in a more coordinated and synergistic manner.
Flexibility training or stretching not only decreases the soreness of muscles but also increases the overall performance during different kinds of movements. It also helps to relax both the body and the mind and brings about a sense of general well-being.