Why is physical flexibility important?


Quick Answer

The main reason physical flexibility is important is because it prevents muscle injury. Flexible muscles are less likely to incur tears, strains and sprains from everyday activities such as lifting heavy objects, walking up and down stairs, or bending over to pick something up.

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Full Answer

In addition to preventing common muscle injuries, flexibility improves posture, enhances sports performance, and makes strenuous cardiovascular activity feel easier. It also lengthens the muscles for a leaner, more graceful look and can be a calming and relaxing activity.

Experts recommend including flexibility training with a routine workout four to seven days a week. For most people, flexibility training need not exceed 5 to 10 minutes per session, and should focus on the major muscle groups of the legs, back and core.

Do not stretch until muscles are warmed up and pliable, as stretching cold muscles can increase chances of injury. It is best to warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of light cardiovascular activity first, or to just save stretching for the end of the entire workout. Stretching is also not recommended before a major physical event such as a marathon, as stretching the muscles may decrease performance for a period of time afterwards.

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