THE FACTS are...

Few would argue against the fact that flexibility is an important component of fitness and a critical factor in achieving peak physical potential. However, flexibility is often overlooked or incorrectly approached. While researchers have been unable to unequivocally validate the proposed benefits of flexibility training, there is evidence indicating that flexibility training contributes to:

  • Enhanced muscular relaxation
  • Improve range of motion within joints
  • Improved muscular balance
  • Enhanced speed of movement
  • Reduced injury occurrence for certain activities
  • Improved performance of certain sport-related activities

We know it is important to include flexibility training in all of the fitness programs we develop for our clients, because we have observed that injuries can and do occur as a result of tight or stiff muscles. For example, some runners and weight lifters emphasize cardiovascular or strength training, and pay little attention to flexibility. This can result in spasms, incorrect form, and a range of motion problems. Our flexibility training will help you attain your fitness goals while decreasing the risk of injury.

Different stretching techniques produce different results, and many factors contribute to the success or failure of a flexibility program. These factors include age, gender, joint structure, muscle tendon attachments, muscle cross-sectional area, body temperature, and, of course, pregnancy in females.

Several studies have indicated that there is a distinct relationship between age and degree of flexibility. Developmentally, the greatest increase in flexibility usually occurs up to and between the ages of 7 and 12. During early adolescence, flexibility tends to level off, and thereafter begins to decline. After age 25, normal aging tends to accelerate, causing significant changes in connective tissue and eventually decreased extensibility.

– Why does this happen?

Aging increases both the diameter of collagen fibers and the number of intermolecular cross-links. This age-related effect strengthens connective tissue bonds, further increasing the resistance to deformation. A fair amount of dehydration in and around soft tissue structures also occurs as one ages. This lack of water in soft tissue structures diminishes lubrication and the flow of nutrients to the site, ultimately resulting in a more fragile unit.

Generally speaking, the more active a person is throughout the aging process, the more flexible they will remain. Inactivity, or hypokinesis, permits adaptive shortening within connective tissue structures. When connective tissue is not actively stretched through a full range of motion, it becomes shorter and less resilient, making it difficult to obtain the balance essential for proper alignment during activity. Regular stretching throughout one's life can enhance positive tissue adaptability and reduce natural wear and tear. We take into account a client's age, build, metabolism and current overall health state before choosing which flexibility exercises should be incorporated into the individualized program design for maximum exercise effect.

We look forward to working with you. Call today, and ask how we can help you achieve your fitness goals. For a consultation, call 678-701-8005 or go to the Contact page for additional information.


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