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Concept 10: Flexibility
Concept 10: Flexibility
Facts About Flexibility
- Flexibility is not the same thing as stretching.
- Long muscle-tendon units are important to flexibility.
- There is no ideal standard for flexibility.
- Lack of use, injury, or disease can decrease joint mobility.
- Some people are unusually flexible because of a genetic trait that makes
their joints "hypermobile."
- Flexibility is influenced by several factors, including age, sex, and race.
- It is not necessary to sacrifice flexibility in order to develop strength.
Facts About the Health Benefits of Flexibility
- Adequate flexibility may help prevent muscle strain and such orthopedic
problems as backache.
- Adequate flexibility is necessary for achieving and maintaining optimal
- Adequate flexibility may reduce risk of muscle strain.
- Flexibility is associated with effective daily functioning, including driving
ability, among older adults.
- Good flexibility can bring about improved athletic performance.
Facts About Stretching Methods
- To develop flexibility it is necessary to do exercises from the flexibility
exercise section of the Physical Activity Pyramid.
- Static stretching is widely recommended because most experts believe it
is less likely to cause injury.
- PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) techniques have proven to
be the most effective methods of improving flexibility.
- Ballistic stretching may be an important technique for active people.
- Performing warm-up exercises is not the same as doing a stretching workout
for flexibility development.
- The best time for doing stretching is when the muscles are warm.
- Each form of flexibility exercise has its advantages and disadvantages.
Facts About How Much Stretch is Enough
- There is a minimum amount of exercise (threshold of training) and an optimal
amount of exercise (target zone) necessary for developing flexibility.
- Stretching exercises must be done frequently to improve or maintain flexibility.
- To increase the length of a muscle, you must stretch it (overload) more
than its normal length, but not overstretch it.
- For flexibility to be increased, muscles must be stretched and held beyond
normal length for an adequate amount of time.
- For flexibility to be increased, stretching exercises must be repeated an
adequate number of times.
- Stretching is specific to each muscle or muscle group.
- Overstretching may make a person more susceptible to injury or hamper performance.
- There is a correct way to perform flexibility exercises.
Facts about the Benefits of Stretching
- Performing stretching exercises has benefits in addition to those that result
from having good flexibility.
- Static muscle stretching is effective in relieving muscle spasms.
- Trigger points may sometimes be prevented or inactivated by static, or PNF
stretching, of the muscles involved.
- Stretching exercises are useful in preventing and remediating some cases
of dysmenorrhea in women.
- Static stretching is probably ineffective in preventing muscle soreness.
Strategies for Action: The Facts
- An important step in taking action to for developing and maintaining flexibility
is assessing your current status.
- Scores on flexibility tests may be influenced by several factors.
- Select exercises that promote flexibility in all areas of the body.
- Keeping records of progress is important to adhering to a stretching program
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