Points of training to keep your flexibility for a long time
Your Body's Anatomy
- Joints. Your body has many types of joints, each of them with it's specific range of motion, such as ball and socket (shoulders and hips), hinged (elbows and fingers), modified hinged (knees), and gliding (spine) joints.
- To get something from a high cupboard your shoulder joint moves 180 degrees. Your elbow bends 145 degrees to allow you to bring food to your mouth. Our daily activites are made of combined movements of several joints at once.
- Connective Tissue. Your skin, muscle sheaths, bones, tendons, ligaments and cartilage all contain protein. Collagen, a fibrous connective tissue, makes up 30% of the protein in these tissues. Connective tissue plays a large part in your flexibility. It is both elastic and plastic in it's ability to stretch. Elasticity is the ability to return to it's original resting length following a dynamic stretch. Plasticity is the ability to assume a new, longer length following a static stretch.
- Within the fibers of your muscles there are muscle spindles. They monitor changes in muscle length and respond to it with increased muscle activity. With static stretching you can avoid activating your muscle spindles and gain more flexibility.
- Finally, the Golgi tendon organs plays also an important role in your flexibility. They are located near the junctions between your muscles and tendons and respond to increased muscle tension by creating a relaxation response. Activating them can help improve flexibility.
Your Body's Environment
- Body temperature. Increasing your body temperature by exercisng or simply sitting in a warm bath for 10 - 15 minutes can help increase flexibility.
- Furniture. The surfaces you lay, sit and work on can help or hinder proper body alignment and over time change your flexibility.
- Exercise. As an adult you have approximately 206 bones and 604 skeletal muscles. It means that you were designed to move. With every step you take and every move you make you're stretching parts of your body. This helps keep it pliable. The activity level of your life style lead has a large impact on your flexibility.
- Functional movements are whole body movements or multi-joint movements that happen in your every day life. Picking things up from the floor , cleaning your home or raking leaves all involve functional movements.
Proper body mechanics helps to keep you flexible, therefore it is very important: what kind of activities you do day after day, and even, how do you do them?
- Good posture helps maintain good flexibility.
- Nutrition. For your connective tissues to remain healthy and pliable they need to be well nourished. Eat a healthy diet and avoid smoking.
- Stress leads to tihghtness of your muscles. If the stress lasts over a long period of time these muscles may shorten. Learn to cope with stress in healthy ways.