1/17/2013

CHOOSING A FITNESS PROGRAMME 3: FLEXIBILITY TRAINING

My all time show-off flexibility posture
Flexibility has been defined as the range of motion about a joint and its surrounding muscles during movement. Flexibility training is probably the most undervalued component of fitness. The ability to move a joint through an adequate range of movement is important for daily activities in general as well as sports performance. Activities such as gymnastics, ballet, diving, karate, and yoga require improved flexibility. Although flexibility is variable between individuals (gender, age, and genetics) flexibility in some joints can be increased to a certain degree by exercise, with stretching.


Stretching and flexibility exercises are an important part of any workout. Stretching your muscles after an intense workout helps to maintain flexibility, range of movement and improves body posture. Regular stretching after exercise can also help to reduce post exercise muscle soreness. Stretching should only be started when muscles are warm and the body temperature is raised. Fitness programmes that mainly involve flexibility are Pilates and yoga.

Some guidelines to note before performing flexibility exercise:
  • Should be done after the body is warmed up
  • Stretch to a point of discomfort.
  • Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. As you hold the stretch, the feeling of discomfort should diminish.
  • Avoid holding your breath
  • If the discomfort intensifies, you should stop the exercise.
  • Stretches should be done slowly and smoothly
  • Proper body posture must be maintained.
  • Focus attention on the muscle being stretched; try to limit movement in other body parts
Benefits of Flexibility Training
  • Increase in the range of motion throughout a joint.
  • Increased range of motion can improve mobility in sporting events as well as everyday activities.
  • Proper range of motion in the joints allows for the natural alignment of the body to be maintained throughout the day, which may prevent or decrease pain or injury.
Exercises


Arm Across Chest
Place one arm straight across chest. Place hand on elbow and pull arm towards chest and hold. Repeat with other arm.





Triceps Stretch
Place one hand behind back with elbow in air. Place other hand on elbow and gently pull towards head. Hold and repeat with other arm.




Glute Stretch
Sitting on the floor with your right leg bent, place right foot over left leg. Place left arm over right leg so elbow can be used to push right knee. Hold and repeat on other side.



Adductor Stretch
Stand with feet as wide apart as is comfortable. Shift weight to one side as knee bends. Reach towards extended foot and hold. Repeat on other side.




Standing Quadriceps
Standing on one leg grab the bottom of one leg (just above ankle). Pull heel towards buttocks and push the hips out. Your thigh should be vertical to the ground. Hold and repeat with the other leg.
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