Flexibility Exercises For Freedom of Movement



Benefits

Flexibility exercises are an important part of physical fitness, especially as we age. The benefit of these stretching exercises is that they help us to maintain our freedom of motion. Being limber allows our joints to bend repeatedly without injury, and to continue to be able to do everyday activities such as

  • Bending to tie our shoes,
  • Picking up items,
  • or looking over our shoulders.

As we age, the range of motion of our joints decrease due to

  • Inactivity,
  • The sticking together of connective tissues in our body,
  • The thickening of the linings of our joints,
  • And the increase of fibrous tissue around our joints.

We can avoid many of these problems by regularly stretching our muscles and ligaments.

As a guideline, you should be able to

  • Raise your arms overhead 180 degrees,
  • Bend your elbow 145 degrees,
  • Tilt your neck 45 degrees to the side,
  • Arch your back 30 degrees,
  • Rotate your hip 45 degrees,
  • And extend your knee 0 degrees in a straight line.

Tips for Safe Stretching Workouts

  • You should only stretch warm muscles. The best time for a stretching workout is after an aerobic or strength training workout.
  • Stretching should never cause pain. Mild discomfort, however, is normal.
  • Stretch until you feel mild tension, and try to hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Your stretching motion should be slow and steady, and you should never bounce your movement.
  • Don't lock your joints.
  • Stretch regularly.

Click on the links below for an explanation and illustration of each exercise.

    Calf Stretch
    Hamstring Stretch
    Lower Back Stretch
    Neck Lateral Flexions
    Neck Flexion
    Neck and Spine Rotation
    Triceps Stretch
    Overhead Arm Raises
    Quadriceps Stretch
    Spine Extension
    Spine Flexion

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