Discover What Can Affect Flexibility
Knowing the factors that can affect flexibility is very important, as flexibility is essential to maintaining a good quality of life. Below, you’ll discover the causes that most affect this range of movement.
Knowing the habits or actions that affect flexibility can help you avoid them on a daily basis. Although it’ll be easier in some cases than in others, it’s definitely worth a try!
Physical inactivity reduces flexibility
This is the #1 enemy of flexibility. Flexibility is a quality that you must train, just as you do strength or endurance. If you spend all your time in bed or sitting down, your muscles stay in the same position and length and aren’t stimulated.
Just like lighting weights makes you strong, your body also adapts to this situation. Therefore, if your body adapts to being at rest and your muscles shorten, they’ll stay short. This will make it much more difficult for you to stretch them, which translates into a progressive loss of flexibility.
Not stretching can affect flexibility
You always have to stretch after playing a sport or exercising. This is extremely important! Although you don’t always need to stretch beforehand, doing it afterwards is beneficial.
When you play a sport, you put a lot of stress on your muscles and force them to contract and relax repeatedly in a certain period of time. Thus, when you finish the activity, your muscles are tense and tend to retract.
But when you stretch, you tell your body that you finished. You let it know that it can relax and ensure that the effort you made doesn’t end up affecting your flexibility.
Lack of specific work
Apart from stretching after exercising or playing a sport, as we mentioned above, you must work to improve your flexibility. Contrary to other qualities, this isn’t something you can simply improve by playing sports. In fact, experts are still conducting studies that seek to discover the most effective way to do it. One of them is the study published by the Andalusian Journal of Sports Medicine.
If you don’t want to lose your flexibility, you have to train it by doing specific exercises. No matter what sport you play, adding an exercise to improve your flexibility will do your body a lot of good. These types of exercises help de-stress and loosen the muscles, as well as relax the fascia and allow blood to flow freely throughout the body.
Age affects flexibility
Aging is completely unavoidable. We’re all aging! As you get older, your muscles are replaced by fat, which affects your physical abilities. According to a study published by the Health Research Journal of the University of Boyacá, aging greatly affects flexibility.
Although you can’t stop aging, you can do other things to ensure well-being. Remember that the most important thing is to preserve your quality of life as you age. If you worked on improving your flexibility since you were young and continue doing specific exercises for older people, you’ll be able to avoid back pain and shoulder pain, among other discomforts.
In fact, one of the reasons why age tends to affect flexibility so much is because it’s often accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle. If your muscles turn to fat and you don’t move on top of that, the deterioration will be much more pronounced.
Other factors that affect flexibility
Women are naturally more flexible than men. This is the second unavoidable factor. Nevertheless, like age, it can be neutralized to some extent. This means that it isn’t a determining factor. As such, a sedentary woman will be less flexible than a man who stretches after exercising or playing a sport.
The final factor that can affect flexibility is joint limitations. Whether due to surgery or joint problems (such as arthritis or osteoarthritis, among other diseases), underlying conditions can limit mobility. This greatly reduces the possibilities of stretching, regardless of whether your muscles are in shape or not.
Flexibility is a key aspect
As you can see, it’s crucial for you to stay active and stretch, throughout your entire life if possible. Pilates, yoga, or tai chi classes for seniors are currently very popular, and could help keep people flexible.
Remember that flexibility doesn’t just concern the muscles. If your muscles are shortened, they’ll pull on the bones and you’ll end up suffering from bone conditions.
In fact, if you get used to working with shortened muscles, when you make an effort in which you have to make a sudden stretch, you’re likely to suffer a muscle injury. Big muscles aren’t necessarily healthy. You have to make sure there’s a good balance between strength, endurance, and flexibility.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- F. Ayala, P. Sainz y A. Cejudo. El entrenamiento de la flexibilidad: técnicas de estiramiento. Revista Andaluza de Medicina del Deporte. Volume 5, Issue 3, September 2012, Pages 105-112
- P. Calero y M. Chaves. Cambios fisiológicos de la aptitud física en el envejecimiento. Revista investigación en salud universidad de Boyacá. Volume 2, Issue 5, 2016
- E. Cyrino, A. Oliveira, J. Leite et al. Comportamento da flexibilidade após 10 semanas de treinamento com pesos. Revista Brasileira de Medicina do Esporte, 10(4), 233-237, 2004.