Stretching and increasing your flexibility is often overlooked. But stretching does a lot more than make you limber. In fact, stretching can help you prevent potential injuries. But what exactly is flexibility?
Well in short, in can be defined as your range of motion. Increasing your range of motion can improve many things, including your athletic performance. So how can you increase your flexibility? What are the benefits?
#1: Your Range of Motion Will Increase
One benefit of flexibility is increasing range of motion around your joints. Limited range of motion can lead to pain, injury and poor overall performance. The soft tissues that surround the joint determine joint movement.
If muscles become shortened due to overuse or under-use, this can alter the way joints move. Limited range of motion around joints affects how you move, decreasing your ability to use your full muscular potential, but also exposing you to a higher risk of injury.
#2: Decrease Risk of Injury
When addressing the concept of flexibility and injury, you have to look at the body as a whole chain of connected parts that intertwine to provide movement. It’s called the Kinetic Chain and it’s an important concept to understand. Muscle imbalances affect the way joints move.
If one joint isn’t moving optimally due to muscular imbalances, our bodies don’t simply shut down to keep us from moving altogether. Instead, the body elects another joints and muscles to pick up the slack and enable the person to perform the movement they required to perform. In other words, it compensates for the limitations that exist in other parts of the body, which could lead to injury. So if you want to exercise safer and more efficiently, consider adding some stretches to your routine.
#3: You Will Perform Better
Flexibility is an equal opportunity performance enhancer. A great performance requires the ability to generate speed, and force quickly within changing environments and with varying levels of control and intensity. Without proper flexibility, you won’t exhibit optimal motor control or the capacity to recruit muscle fibers maximally.
This applies to pretty much any exercise, including SKATEROBICS®. You will be able to enjoy your exercises a lot more if your muscles are working at their max capacity. So add some flexibility training to your routine, it's definitely worth it!
Types of Stretches
1. Dynamic flexibility — the ability to perform dynamic movements within the full range of motion in the joint. Common examples include twisting from side to side or kicking an imaginary ball. Dynamic flexibility is generally more sport-specific than other forms of mobility.
2. Static Active flexibility — this refers to the ability to stretch an antagonist muscle using only the tension in the agonist muscle. An example is holding one leg out in front of you as high as possible. The hamstring (antagonist) is being stretched while the quadriceps and hip flexors (agonists) are holding the leg up.
3. Static Passive flexibility — the ability to hold a stretch using body weight or some other external force. Using the example above, holding your leg out in font of you and resting it on a chair. The quadriceps are not required to hold the extended position.
In the end, improving your flexibility comes with many benefits. It can increase your range of motion, reduce injury, and help you preform better. So get out there and try some stretches, you won't regret it!
f you are looking for a fun and enjoyable group exercise, check out SKATEROBICS®! SKATEROBICS® is a calorie torching, balance building, wheel whirling, posture perfecting, booty lifting, smile inducing full body roller skate workout. We have classes for all levels so don't be afraid to get involved. I encourage you to book a class and start skating your way to your fitness goals.