Your body is designed to move. It thrives on reaching, pushing, pulling, bending, climbing, and jumping. Your body grows stronger and your senses awaken when your muscles are pumping, blood rushes through your body, oxygen fills your lungs, and your mind is engaged. So whether you enjoy dancing, running, walking, gardening, athletics, or yoga, it’s important you do something that nourishes your body with the power of movement. This book is meant to help everyone get started with gentle stretches that can be stepping-stones to a more active lifestyle.
Flexibility is not a goal to be achieved and then forgotten. To maintain flexibility, you must continue to teach your body movements that push you to new heights. The information about what is best for your body can be overwhelming and difficult to decipher, but you can rise above the uncertainty by staying focused on three basic principles:
- You are in charge of taking care of your body.
- Your body needs good fuel, regular exercise, preventive maintenance, and lots of TLC.
- If you listen to your body, it will tell you how well you’re doing so you can adjust your plan accordingly.
While there’s no doubt that flexibility is essential to mobility, balance, athletic performance, and injury prevention, it’s important to know what flexibility is? Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion (ROM).
Flexibility training shouldn’t be confused with simply stretching, though. Many times stretching is no more than a kind of “spot check” to see how well you’re moving, like lifting your heel to your buttocks just before going on a quick run.
Flexibility training, on the other hand, is the thoughtful art of putting together dynamic movements, static stretches, and other techniques you’ll learn here as a way to achieve maximum function and ROM in your joints.
Done properly, flexibility training will actually increase the elasticity of your muscles and the tendons that connect muscles to bones. Think of flexibility as the desired outcome and stretching as the means to achieve it.