How flexible are you?

Staying flexible or improving your flexibility is vital in many ways. But do you know how flexible you are?

It helps to know how big the gap is between where you are now, and where you should be. It is also important to find how flexible you are in different areas of the body. Of particular significance is mobility in the hamstrings, shoulders and the lower back.

A commonly used way to measure the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings is the sit and reach test. The safest version is the back saver sit and reach test.

Most gyms will be able to offer you a flexibility test, but if this is not an option, try this.

Lying on your back with your legs out straight. Lift one leg into the air and see how far you can reach up your leg. It is important to keep your back and head on the floor. It’s best if you’re at least able to touch your shins. In time see if you can work toward being able to touch your toes.

But why bother? Why is flexibility so important?

Staying flexible – Why it matters

Being flexible helps in many different ways. There are some ways which are fairly obvious and which you will be familiar with.

Obviously being flexible means you are more supple and less prone to injury. And it will come as no surprise that it can help to ease aches and pains. And often loosening up in one area can prevent or help alleviate issues in other areas. After all, many aches and pains stem from an earlier problem that radiates in the body.

And it also stands to reason that it will help with both balance and posture. Which becomes increasingly important as we get older.

But what you may not know is that staying flexible can also aid in reducing stress and improving your sleep.

Stress reduces blood flow, whereas stretching helps improve it. And improved blood flow means more blood will reach the muscles and your brain. This, in turn, will elevate your mood.

The reduction in stress, combined with the ability for stretching to reduce cramping and tightness that can often occur at nighttime, is what helps to improve sleep.

Various factors such as your age and your joint structure have an impact on your level of flexibility. There isn’t a whole lot you can do about that.

But two other factors, the state of your connective tissue, and the way in which your proprioceptors are set can be improved.

Deep connective tissue such as fascia and tendons can limit the range of motion of joints. As a remedy, deep tissue massage can greatly enhance your flexibility.

And the Proprioceptors are tiny sensors located inside muscle fibers that provide information about joint angle, muscle length, and muscle tension. Activities such as Thai Chi, Yoga and Pilates are a great way to help reset the sensors.

Whatever you choose to do, the key is consistency. Flexibility can be lost fairly quickly (even within a week if you get injured), so look to make some form of stretching part of your regular routine.

We hope this information is useful for you. If you have any questions about our treatments, please contact us. You can find us in Mill Hill Broadway and Islington. If you like this blog, please share! We are always happy to help.

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