Let’s try to bend over and touch our toes. This movement requires our muscles to stretch. Flexibility is the percentage of tension a muscle allows.
Every muscle in our body is made up of long fibers, or cells, which are found in large groups and are wrapped in connective tissue called tendon. Our muscles contract and expand.
Inflexible muscles are tensed to perform everyday activities, such as reaching for something in the back of the car or picking up something that has fallen to the floor from the table. This makes it even more difficult for older people.
How to improve our flexibility: 3 different types of stretching
Certain movements are key elements to improve our elasticity and flexibility, they also prevent injuries and improve circulation.
1. Static stretching
One of the most common forms of stretching is static stretching., in which we move our joints and hold each movement for 15, 30 or 60 seconds. For example, to stretch our pelvic hamstrings, we can touch our toes while standing or sitting on the floor with our feet straight.
To stretch the shoulder, we can hold a pillar with our hands and provide resistance by leaning back. This is the most common type of stretch. They are widely used after intense aerobic exercise, as they also help reduce heart rate.
2. Dynamic stretches
Dynamic stretching is an exercise that moves more towards a greater range of motion and improves blood circulation, essentially warming up the body and thus improving its flexibility. Research shows that dynamic stretching before exercise improves performance and helps prevent injury. Some examples are push-ups or deep squats.
3. Myoperitoneal stretch
In the third and final type of stretching, pressure is applied to the connective tissue of the muscles to help them relax. It’s a bit like a massage. Sometimes the masseur treats the knots that appear in the muscles and tries to relax and calm us from the pain and tension in these areas.
The foam rolling is the best example of this type of stretching: it is a cylindrical instrument made of foam that is used for a type of self-massage such as a heating or self-healing massage. It is more like a sports massage and has been proven to improve the health of the muscular system.