About the author: Hi everyone! My name is Mindy and I have a health and fitness YouTube Channel called GetFitwithMindy. I am very honored to be asked to write a guest post on flexibility training and its benefits for overall fitness and health.
There are two main types of stretching: static and dynamic – the benefits of static and dynamic stretching are numerous! First let’s start by defining them.
Dynamic stretch helps improve our mobility of joints or range of motion and it is best to be performed as a warmup when our muscles and joints are still cold.
Static stretch helps increase the range of motion of a particular set of joints and it is best done at the end of the workout when the muscles are warm.
As we age our tendons and ligaments lose their elasticity and combined with a sedentary lifestyle outside the gym, we become less supple with limited range of motion. Stretching, especially dynamic stretching can help maintain the range of motion of our joints. When we have a wider range of motion, it can greatly reduce the risk of injury, not just during training but every day activity such as picking up a pen from the floor.
If you are interested in weight training and want to improve your strength or muscle size in the gym, then you should not ignore flexibility training because when you stretch a muscle, you lengthen the tendons or muscle fibers that attach it to the bone. The longer the muscle fiber, the better you can increase the muscle size during strength training. A more flexible muscle has a better potential to become a stronger muscle. As I am turning 30 this year I have made a commitment to spend at least 5 min to properly warmup my joints using mobility exercises and at least 5 to 10 min after my training to properly lengthen and recover my muscle fibers. At the beginning I was not super excited to “waste” 10 to 15 min of my gym time but after a few weeks I have noticed a significant improvement in my range of motion, strength, and had overall less soreness from intense training.
Stretching can also improve our coordination, meaning it improves not just sports performance but also aerobic training such as running on a bumpy road. If you are a cardio fanatic and are not interested in improving your strength or muscle size, mobility warm-ups for hips, deltoids, ankles, and knees can significantly improve your total range of motion and coordination during running, biking, swimming or other cardio exercises. Static stretching or gentle yoga afterwards can help improve blood circulation to deliver the nutrients to the recovering tissues more efficiently and get you back to cardio training faster without experiencing a lot of tightness or weakness in your body.
Finally stretching is not just good for improving fitness but also general health. Studies have shown that stretching can help with arthritis and protect you from diabetes to kidney disease due to increased circulation and blood flow to your muscles. It also is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease because people with better flexibility tend to have less stiffness in their artery walls which is an indicator of the risk for stroke and heart attack.
It is recommended that we perform 10 to 15 min of stretching a day based upon our daily activity. For example, if you worked your lower body on a specific day, then you should focus on stretching your legs. Even if you don’t have 10 to 15 min every day, just performing flexibility training 2 to 3 times a week can help and especially if you are already supple, weekly stretching can help maintain your suppleness.
For a detailed fitness video with regard to flexibility training on my channel:
I also have a list of 4 to 10 min dynamic warmup, static stretch cool down, and gentle yoga workouts below if anyone is interested:
Thanks again for having me!
That was GetFitWithMindy! Please show her some love and check out her YouTube channel alongside her social media profiles: