Flexibility is the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion and is important in carrying out daily activities and in athletic performance. Maintaining flexibility of all joints produce efficient movement and reduces risk of injury. It can be improved in all age groups by regularly engaging in exercises targeting different joints. Joint capsule stiffness, muscle viscosity, ligament and tendon compliance all affect flexibility. Therefore, adequate warm-up and proper stretching is essential in optimizing joint range of motion. Chronic conditions such as lower back pain may arise if an individual has poor lower back and hip flexibility, in conjunction with weak abdominal muscles.
Flexibility exercises are most effective through warm-up exercises or passively through moist heat packs or hot baths to increase the muscle temperature. An effective warm-up is typically 5 to 10 minutes long, but may be longer for older adults or individuals with health conditions. Watch the video below, led by InSync Physio’s Claire McDonald, on how to do a comprehensive warm-up targeting all of the major muscles:
If you run, bike, are desk-bound all day, or have been sitting in a car or plane traveling, your hamstrings could use some extra love and length. It not only feels good to stretch this commonly tight area, but hamstring flexibility is also important for the health of your back, hips, and knees. Here are six easy and essential stretches that target the backs of your legs. To avoid injury, it’s best to do them at the end of a workout, when the muscles are warm.
This stretch is good for your hamstrings and also loosens tight shoulders.
Easy to do anywhere and safe for injured backs, this hamstring stretch is great if you’re really tight.
If the previous stretch isn’t deep enough for you, then try this variation. It’s perfect for doing on a bench after a run in the park.
This basic stretch is perfect for targeting one leg at a time, and is great for those with really tight hamstrings.
This stretch targets both hamstrings as well as the lower back.
Here’s a relaxing way to stretch one hamstring at a time.