The Benefits of Flexibility Stretches and Exercises

Kenyan woman stretching and exercising
Just as cardiorespiratory fitness benefits the heart and lungs and muscular fitness build endurance and strength, a stretching program produces unique benefits, including enhancement of the ability of the respiratory, circulatory, and neuro-muscular systems to cope with the stress and demands of our high-pressure world.

Among the other benefits of flexibility are:


Prevention of injuries


Flexibility training stretches muscles and increases the elasticity of joints. Strong, flexible muscles resist stress better than weak or inflexible ones. Adding flexibility to a training program for sports such as soccer, football, or tennis can reduce the rate of injuries by as much as 75 percent. In one study of competitive runners, weekly stretching sessions significantly reduced the incidence of low-back pain

Relief of muscle strain


Muscles tighten because of stress or prolonged sitting. If you study or work in one position for several hours, you’ll often feel stiffness in your back or neck. Stretching helps relieve this tension and enables you to work more effectively.

Relaxation


Flexibility exercises are great stress busters that reduce mental strain, slow the rate of breathing, and reduce blood pressure.


Relief of soreness after exercise


Many people develop delayed-onset muscle soreness one or two days after they workout. This may be the result of damage to the muscle fibers and supporting connective tissue.

Improved posture


Bad posture can create tight, stressed muscles. If you slump in your chair, for instance, the muscles in the front of your chest may tighten, causing those in the upper spine to over-stretch and become loose.
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