Introduction to Flexibility
Flexibility is one of the five components of physical fitness. Flexibility exercises for beginners is a great way to build a fitness regimen.
This is the ability to move your joints unimpeded with full range of motion (ROM) without pain.
While normal ranges of motion are established for all joints, flexibility differs from person to person.
Every person has different needs regarding flexibility, but everyone should make flexibility a component of their fitness regimen for optimal fitness. Regular stretching will improve flexibility.
Stretching for the purpose of reducing muscle soreness is not recommended.
Types of Stretching
Static – The targeted muscle group is stretched without moving and held for a short period of time, usually 10 to 30 seconds.
Dynamic – A gradual transition from one body position to another as the range of motion increases; the movement is repeated several times.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) – This technique involves an isometric contraction of the targeted muscle followed by a static stretch.
Ballistic – Momentum of the body part results in a stretch.
Active Static – This involves holding a stretch using the agonist muscle. Yoga positions often involve active static stretching.
Passive Static – Stretching in this manner involves holding the targeted muscle in a stretched position with or without an assistive device or partner.
Flexibility Exercises for Beginners: The Benefits
Regular stretching has been shown to provide the following benefits:
- Postural Stability
- Injury Rehabilitation
- Improved Range of Motion
- Injury Prevention
Flexibility Exercises for Beginners: Time, Repetition and Frequency
General Stretching Guidelines
- Stretches should be held for 10 to 30 seconds for measurable results.
- Each stretch should be done 3 to 5 times.
- The recommendation for frequency is 2 to 3 times per week.
- Stretches should be done without pain.
Stretching longer than 60 seconds has been shown to be detrimental to exercise performance.
Flexibility Exercises for Beginners: The Stretches
4 Stretches You Can do in the Morning
Static and Dynamic Stretches
10 Active Pre-Workout Stretches
Incorporating Flexibility Into Your Routine
It has been said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
A fitness routine without flexibility will eventually catch up with you.
When your muscles get tight and your movements become restricted, your quality of life will decline.
It only takes a few minutes to incorporate flexibility into your routine.
Those few minutes will pay dividends toward improving your quality of life and living a longer, healthier life.
ACSM Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 11th Edition (2021)
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