Move it or lose it. Whether you “exercise” or not, don’t forget incorporating the “F” into your day. “F” is for flexibility. One big problem is that the “F” (flexibility) is often left out of the daily activity or work out equation, this mistake could cost you.
In order to do any movement, activity (low or high intensity) or sport, joints and muscles need to be in well working order. Alignment and “F” are important for range of motion (ROM) and mobility, without them life can get pretty boring because moving at all would be challenging.
Think about it. If you can’t move, you can’t do even the most simple things like getting in or out of bed (or whatever else you might do while in bed), bend or sit down, pick up, get up or any more complex task you do on a daily basis.
Just like the alignment in your car affects the efficiency and handling of how it drives (i.e. the car pulls in a different direction or the wheels feel shaky), your body’s alignment will have the same effect on how you move and your susceptibility to injury. Details on how you can test your flexibility and why joint stretches are important are here, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/joint-mobility-drills/#axzz3DVijXHkg.
Taking time to stretch or do a mobility (the ability to move with that ROM within a specific activity pattern) drill can improve joint fitness and flexibility with improved ROM. These movements increase oxygen delivery to the muscles as increased blood flows to the muscle. Therefore it can help improve movement, exercise performance and avoiding an injury.
Stretch or mobility drills can slip right into any daily routine. If you are a work out warrior, flexibility will improve your activities and make them more efficient.
Flexibility and range of motion activities can be done on “rest days” or incorporated into rest periods of high intensity work-outs. Gains in flexibility can be achieved by practicing yoga or tai chi if interested. If not try these stretching and mobility moves, http://www.changingshape.com/how-to-stretch/#the-quad-stretch:
- Static Stretching is the most common form of a stretch. It is stretching a body part to its farthest position and then holding it for about 10-30 seconds. Helps improve muscle elasticity.
- Passive Stretch is similar to static stretch except you use a partner or object to help the stretch. For example, using the stairs to do a calf stretch.
- Isometric Stretching is done with a partner who helps the stretch while you resist or use force in the opposite direction. For example, your partner helps lift and hold your leg up while you try to “force” your leg down.
- Ballistic Stretching should only be done by professionals because the stretch goes beyond its normal ROM. This type of stretch incorporates twenty sets or more of repeated bouncing.
- Dynamic Stretch occurs when the arms and legs gently swing within their own ROM and gradually increase the speed of the movements with practice.
- Active Isolated Stretching can actually increase muscle elasticity and circulation. It is not easy. An example would be to lift or kick your leg up in the air then hold it with your hand.
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation can help improve strength and flexibility and is a combination of isometric, static and passive stretching.
If none of this inspires you, consider a mobility strategy that includes multi-tasking during rest periods of high intensity work-outs. Between intervals, instead of just standing there, incorporate spine, glute, hamstring, hip flexor and lat mobility drills, http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/stretch-or-die#sthash.TPbHR2Y0.dpuf.
These videos can help you better understand how to create your own mobility strategy: http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/3-ways-to-work-mobility-and-stretching-into-your-workouts or watch it here, http://roglawfitness.com/the-minimalist-guide-to-mobility/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhxIjaII7DI.
Be flexible! Take care of your joints and muscles. Integrate “F” and ROM into your fitness goals. Stay mobile, stay aligned and stay active.