Submitted by Dave Walker
Flexibility refers to the range of motion possible at a joint or series of joints. A certain amount of flexibility is necessary for body movements, and our increased sedentary lifestyles and inactivity are the major contributors to the loss of flexibility. Most people tend to lack flexibility in the posterior thigh, anterior hip, lower back, neck and shoulders. This often results in the inability to perform tasks that were, at one time, easily executed, or can even result in irritation or injury to the joints that have lost flexibility due to inactivity. Millions of dollars are lost in our economy today because of injuries that could be reduced by good flexibility programs, without particularly lower back problem leading the way among others.
To increase overall body flexibility, engage in basic flexibility exercises that will affect the large muscle groups of the areas of concern. Be sure to "warm up" the body before stretching by doing some light exercise that will increase the blood flow to the muscles and possibly bring a light perspiration to the forehead. Some basic guidelines for stretching mentioned in the book:
1. Do it daily because it takes time to make progress.
2. Use simple exercises for each muscle group involved.
3. Warm up properly before beginning to stretch.
4. Stretch slowly without jerky, explosive movements.
5. After reaching the stretch point, hold for at least ten seconds.
6. Stretch muscles that are relaxed, not flexed.
7. At the end of the stretch, move slowly back to the starting position.
8. Stretching is not a competition. Stretch only to your personal capabilities.
9. NO PAIN, NO GAIN is a fallacy. If it hurts, STOP!
Develop a safe and effective flexibility program. It can enhance your total wellness and enjoyment of life.
Taken from "Fit for Life" textbook, 6th Edition
Faculty/Staff Bulletin--November 20, 1997