STRETCHING AND FLEXIBILITY

By: Samantha deCastro

Many manual therapists will recommend stretching as part of your treatment plan. But why? What’s the purpose? These questions and more will be answered in this article series.

What is flexibility?

If we’re going basic terms, flexibility is how far you can move. More technically, it is the range of motion around a particular set of joints.

What is stretching?

This is how we improve our flexibility, by putting a body part in a positions that will length the soft tissue.

Why is it important?

Physical fitness is determined by many factors. These include strength, power, speed, endurance, balance, agility, skill/coordination and flexibility. Ensuring that we address all of these factors is important to our overall fitness and health.

Depending on our occupations, sports and other activities, we might focus on certain parts of fitness to help us succeed. But regardless, it is important to make sure each is addressed at some level.

So I’m not flexible, what does that mean?

When our muscles are so tight and stiff they limit normal ranges of motion, this can lead to joint pain and overall dysfunction. This can look like loss of strength, movement, power and can even affect blood flow. Tightness and stiffness can also cause us to move differently, which can lead to injury and chronic pain.