Flexibility is one aspect of fitness that is typically neglected in favor of strength or endurance – especially when it comes to guys. But flexibility is also necessary if we want to build strength more quickly, recover in less time, prevent injury, and maintain our physical fitness. It also ensures healthy, pain-free joints, and helps us stay active as we get older. If it hasn’t already, then sooner or later a lack flexibility will catch up with you in the form of pain, discomfort or injury.
Flexibility and joint health are interrelated. People have joint pain because the muscles, ligaments, and tendons that connect to the joints themselves are too inflexible or lack strength. Following a program that specifically improves flexibility thus helps to relieve and prevent joint pain, as well as improve the overall physical feeling of the body and prevent stiffness.
This informative blog includes:
- Common issues related to flexibility & joint health
- Explanation of Flexibility & Joint Health-Related Issues
- How to increase flexibility & strengthen joints
- How can Man Flow Yoga help?
Common Flexibility & Joint Health Issues
- Lack of flexibility. Being inactive, focusing too much on strength training, aging, and not doing yoga or a flexibility-focused type of fitness leads to a lack of flexibility.
- Not enough attention to flexibility training. We assume flexibility is unimportant, when really it helps us increase strength, recovery more quickly, and prevent injury – just to name a few things. Many of us do too much strength training and not enough flexibility work.
- Inactivity & sitting – Jobs or lifestyles that spend too much time sitting or being inactive.
- Age – Getting older, losing flexibility as we age and become more inactive.
Explanation of Flexibility & Joint Health-Related Issues
- Joint pain & flexibility go hand in hand – Joint pain is rarely an issue with the joints themselves; the pain is caused by a lack of strength or flexibility in the muscles that move the joints. Ligaments and tendons connect muscles and bones to one another, but ligaments and tendons do not stretch. The muscles are the only part of this system that can be lengthened, and this is what relieves tension on the joints that we feel as pain or discomfort.
- Movement restrictions – If we are active and exercise regularly, we will eventually experience restrictions in our performance as a result of lack of flexibility or mobility training. At best, certain movements will not be as easy or as efficient as they should be; and at worst, we can expect minor or major tears in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments; potentially preventing us from exercising or doing what we physically enjoy.
- As we get older, our muscles become tighter. It’s just what happens, and there is no way to prevent that. You may not have needed to stretch or work on flexibility in the past, but as we get out of our 20s and move into our 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, it is important to make flexibility a very regular part of our fitness routines.
- Sedentary lifestyle – Sitting at a desk wreaks havoc on your hips, spine, and core, the most important parts of your body when it comes to fitness and movement. Unless you are doing a type of exercise that focuses on restoring and undoing the stress of seating in these critical areas, then you should expect to experience negative benefits from this.
- Yoga & Flexibility – One of the most common reasons people seek out a yoga program is for flexibility, and with good reason. Yoga is one of the few types of exercise in which flexibility is a primary focus. Most other types of exercise neglect flexibility altogether, and stretching is seen as optional.
Improving Your Flexibility & Strengthening Your Joints
- There is much more to flexibility than just “stretching more”. Stretching is just one part of flexibility; and flexibility is just one part of mobility. Doing yoga postures or exercises that focus on lengthening muscle tissue will improve your flexibility over time, but only if you are doing these exercises regularly. Once you stop doing them, the benefits will stop as well.
- Joint pain goes away when you:
- build strength and mobility in the muscles that connect to or function with the joints.
- Correct technique / improper movement patterns that lead to joint pain
- Utilize exercises that combine increased flexibility and strength on a regular basis
- Mobility; not just flexibility – The most effective way to reduce joint pain and improve flexibility is by combining strength and flexibility, and this combination can be called “mobility”. If you’re inflexible because you haven’t stretched in 10 years, flexibility training on its own will provide very noticeable results, but building strength within extended range of motion (i.e. increasing mobility) will provide the most noticeable results when it comes to day to day movement, fitness, and overall physical feeling.
- Balanced Training – Relieving joint pain can be addressed by adopting a more balanced fitness program, one that works equally on the back and front side of your body, balances pushing and pulling exercises, and helps to counter the positions you find yourself in on a daily basis (this varies from person to person, depending your profession and lifestyle, but typically means countering sitting at a desk or doing exercises that complement what you normally do if you have a labor-intensive job).
How Man Flow Yoga helps
All of our programs address flexibility and joint health, but I’ve built a couple programs in particular that will deliver noticeable results in just a couple of weeks.
- Option 1: Flexibility, Mobility, & Joint Health for Inflexible Beginners – A program you can use with your existing workout program to develop the flexibility you’ve neglected for so long, but also keep up with your existing program. If you have proper mechanics and are exercising with proper technique already, then I recommend this program.
- Option 2: The Strength Foundations Course – Work on building flexibility in a way that also builds strength. This is also a very important program for working on underlying causes of joint pain, improving movement patterns, and correcting muscular imbalances.
- Which “path” is right for you?We’ve developed specific “paths” which allow you to follow a schedule of programs and get results, based on your unique challenges and goals. People interested in improving flexibility and getting rid of joint pain usually fall into one of the following paths: (1) Low-Impact Exercise, (2) Injury-Prevention and Rehab, and (3) Yoga for Athletes.