Bend It Like Beckham: Why flexibility isn’t just for yoga bunnies

When you think of flexibility and fitness, you probably think of ‘ladies who lunch’, stretching gently in coordinated lycra athleisure outfits and going “ummmmm”. But recent fitness fashions including Cross Fit have seen an increased awareness of the importance of flexibility for pretty much any other fitness pursuit. If you’re not convinced yet on why flexibility matters read on……

Flexibility is key to good form

And good form is key to lifting bigger weights without risking injury. The more musclebound you get, the more you need to work on your flexibility, particularly if you’re focussed on specific areas of the body like getting bigger arms, chest or shoulders. Keeping your whole frame supple and flexible will allow you to perform your lifts correctly.

Pilates class at Gym Plus

Top athletes prioritise flexibility

From football to five-pin bowling, whether played professionally or for pleasure, your sporting performance will be improved by a bit more stretch. This is because flexibility allows a full range of movement from your muscles. You are less restricted in your movements, allowing you to perform more acrobatic moves or move more fluidly.

Flexibility helps to prevent injury

Whatever your reason for exercising, you don’t want to take time out to recover from an injury. Becoming more flexible will enable a greater range of motion in your joints, resulting in more movements being performed correctly. Having additional movement in your joints will prevent a lot of injuries to these regions also.

Flexibility exercises often build balance too

A lot of exercises that make you bendier also improve your balance which can be useful in a whole host of fitness and sports activities. Improved balance can also make you a better dancer and stop embarrassing stumbles in the street. However, we offer no guarantees for those two!

Improve flexibility and destress at the same time

Much as a lot of flex-boosting exercises help with balance, they can also be great for your mental state. Because by nature they are slow, considered movements, your pace of moving and subsequently thinking slows. You concentrate on the movements and the pressures of the day fade away as you stretch.

How to improve flexibility:

  • Try an exercise class like Pilates and Stretch and Relax
  • Add 10 minutes dedicated stretching at the beginning and end of your workout
  • Put the time in, make sure you do some flexibility work at least 4 times a week
  • Take the time to do each exercise properly and don’t skip the ones you’re not good at, they’re the ones you should focus on most!

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