Flexibility is the ability of muscle to lengthen and allow your joints to move through a full range of motion. Maintaining muscle flexibility increases athletic performance, improves running economy (energy expenditure at a given speed), prevents injury, decreases soreness, and hastens rehabilitation following injury.
Benefits of Stretching
Increased flexibility Flexibility allows us to accomplish everyday tasks of daily living such as bending over to tie our shoes, or reaching to put groceries away in a cupboard. More demanding tasks such as jumping to throw a basketball or swim 100 meters are also easier if your joints can be taken through a full range of motion with minimal effort. Flexibility minimizes our risk of injury by allowing joints to move through their full range of motion without putting strain on ligaments or capsular structures. Flexibility allows for good circulation. This circulation is necessary to provide working muscles with nutrients and to allow for a speedy recovery following exercise. Flexibility allows you to maintain a good posture. Tight muscles will pull you into poor postures. Stretching exercises help muscles to relax, relieving tension.
Flexibility is the range of motion possible around a specific joint or series of articulations. Flexibility is specific to a given joint or movement. A person may not be able to function normally if a joint lacks normal movement. The ability to move a joint through an adequate range of movement is important for daily activities in general as well a sports performance. Activities such as gymnastics, ballet, diving, karate, and yoga require improved flexibility or even the ability to hyperextend some joints for superior performance. On the other hand, most leisure or recreational activities require only normal amounts of flexibility. The idea that good flexibility is essential for successful performance is based on anecdotal rather than scientific evidence.
Four basic types of stretch techniques include ballistic, dynamic, static, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF).
Its disadvantage is that, it typically requires a partner, although stretching with a partner may have some motivational advantage for some individuals.
*enhanced physical fitness
*enhanced ability to learn and perform skilled movements
*increased mental and physical relaxation
*enhanced development of body awareness
*reduced risk of injury to joints, muscles, and tendons
*reduced muscular soreness
*reduced muscular tension
*increased suppleness due to stimulation of the production of chemicals which lubricate connective tissues.
*reduced severity of painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) in females
The general warm-up should begin with joint-rotations, starting either from your toes and working your way up, or from your fingers and working your way down. This facilitates joint motion by lubricating the entire joint with synovial fluid. Such lubrication permits your joints to function more easily when called upon to participate in your athletic activity. You should perform slow circular movements, both clockwise and counter-clockwise, until the joint seems to move smoothly. You should rotate the following (in the order given, or in the reverse order):
*fingers and knuckles