This November, we will be focusing on flexibility at Fuse Fitness. While seemingly not everyone’s favorite part of their workout, it’s mighty important and many of you could really benefit from ramping it up in this department. Too many of you are frequently complaining about how tight you are and how it hurts to get up from bed in the morning.
This, my friends, is not acceptable. Get to class a little early so you don’t skip out on the foam rolling. Definitely at least get to class on time so you don’t miss the dynamic movements and mobility work in the warmup. And if you have to leave early, then stop a few minutes before you have to go and do your stretches!! And while you’re at it, commit to going once a week to Kelly’s amazing Gentle Yoga class on Monday evenings at 7:20pm, I promise, this is an absolutely wonderful way to end your day! Here’s a bit more about the what and why of flexibility….
What is flexibility? In simple terms, it means the ability to bend without breaking. However, in regards to fitness and exercise, the definition isn’t quite so simple. Most of us can bend without breaking, however this does not necessarily qualify as being flexible.
According to the Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science and Medicine, flexibility in regards to fitness is the range of movement/motion around a joint. This range of motion is dependent upon a number of factors, including the size and shape of the bones, the ability of tendons to stretch, the condition of the ligaments, normal joint mechanics, soft tissue mobility and extensibility of the muscles.
Let me break this down so it’s easier to understand. Range of motion (ROM) is simply the distance and direction your joints can move. The more flexible you are, the better ROM you have, and thus the greater mobility you have. Good mobility is the body’s ability to move with little to no restrictions.
Why is this a good thing? Because moving without restriction means moving without pain. And for those of us who have suffered through pain caused by tightness, poor mobility and/or decreased ROM, we now know the extreme value in working on our flexibility. Because pain is just not fun.
We’ve all noticed the ease and freedom that babies and children move with. Their little bodies are so pliable, bendy and free from restriction. How many times have we watched our kids move, and wished for the same ability to move freely? To get up and down without any strain, pain or tightness? We all have, and the older we get, the more we wish for this.
That is because naturally, we lose flexibility as we age. Coupled with the fact that flexibility training is the most overlooked aspect of most people’s fitness routines, we’re looking at some pretty tight, often painful, bodies. I get it–when you’ve only got 30 to 45 minutes to work out, who wants spend any of that precious time sitting around stretching? Afterall, isn’t the reason why we’re at the gym to combat sitting around too much? Everyone’s just trying to get the most bang for their buck with the limited time they have to exercise.
However, these things combine to create the perfect storm. Not implementing a plan to work on the decreased flexibility that naturally occurs from aging will quickly lead to pain, strains and restricted movement. Thus, it must not be skipped. So many injuries can be prevented with proper mobility and flexibility training. Some of the other benefits of flexibility training are improved posture, reduced lower back pain and increased blood flow to the soft tissues.
Our fitness programs always include plenty of mobility and flexibility training. We have all clients foam roll prior to beginning their workout, then we take everyone through a proper warm-up of all the joints. The beginning portion of all workouts is a combination of dynamic moments and mobility exercises designed to properly loosen up the body for the programmed workout. And we finish up the workout by taking the time to stretch out everything that was used. We also encourage our clients to take our awesome weekly Gentle Yoga class with Kelly, on Monday evenings at 7:20m.
So fellow Fusers, let’s work together toward increasing our flexibility! Less strains and pulled muscles, more fluid movement that feels good. Sound good?
Yours in health,