Stretching and Flexibility Training for Fitness

There are four types of physical activities that we should perform for overall fitness – aerobic (cardio) exercise, strength (resistance) training, balance exercises, and flexibility training. Cardio and strength training are emphasized a lot, but balance and flexibility are just as important. Flexibility exercises maintain or improve the range of motion in our joints, allowing us to squat all the way down, reach our arm behind our back, and twist our trunks from side to side. Flexibility training is functional training. This allows you to pick up heavy things from the floor without injury, zip your dress all the way up your back, and other common movements in your daily life. And it feels good to stretch your body and loosen up all your muscles.

woman stretching leg at home

What’s you favorite stretch?

Unfortunately, flexibility training doesn’t count towards your 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week because it generally doesn’t raise your heart rate or build muscles. However, if you are doing yoga or pilates, which do help with flexibility but are also good for strengthening your muscles, this would count as physical activity. Stretching may be a good first step in making physical activity a habit because it feels so good and doesn’t take much time or equipment. Start with five minutes of stretching a day and work on doing it every day until it becomes a habit. It makes a great bedtime routine!

How to Stretch

Flexibility training has many benefits. Tight muscles of the lower back and back of the leg can lead to low back pain that stretching can help improve. Good flexibility helps reduce stiffness, prevent injuries, and maintain good range of motion in the joints. Practice stretching and improve your flexibility to feel better in your daily life. What are your favorite stretches?

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