General Fitness>>Flexibility Training - 1/6/2007
The importance of flexibility relative to one's mobility and fitness level increases with age.
Loss of flexibility impairs most functions needed for good mobility including bending, stooping, lifting, reaching, walking, and stair climbing.
Maintaining lower body flexibility, especially in the hip joint and hamstrings, is also important because of it's role in preventing low back pain, musculoskeletal injury, gait abnormalities, and in reducing risk for falls.
In the upper body, adequate range of motion is needed for a number of specific functions such as combing your hair, zipping a back zipper, reaching for a seat belt, etc.
Reduced range of motion in the shoulder girdle can result in pain and postural instability and has been found to cause significant disability in as much as 30% of the healthy adult population over 65.
Flexibility that declines with age can be improved through proper exercises.
Stretching should be included as part of daily exercise routines and should always occur after muscles are warmed up.
Stretching should be slow and gradual with no bouncing or jerking.
Hold each stretch at least 5 to 10 seconds and repeat three times. The longer that you hold the stretch, the better you will effect the resting length of the muscle tissue you are stretching.
Stretching should cause mild tension, but no pain.
Stretching/Flexibility exercises should be performed for all major muscle/joint groups: neck, shoulders, back, trunk, hips, knees and ankles