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The Flexibility Aspect of Fitness

A major part of physical fitness is flexibility, the range of movement that you have around a joint. Some people are naturally flexible while others have to work hard to increase the total range of motion. This can be done by progressively stretching certain specific muscles that surround the particular joint beyond their normal accustomed length.

Work on your spine and back to begin with, by standing as erect as you can and stretching your arms upwards as high as they can go. Remember to hold your head high. As your flexibility increases you will find it easier to reach up for things on high shelves, and to bend down to look under a bed. Your sense of balance will also improve.

As with other forms of physical activity, start slowly and increase your efforts gradually. Flexibility calls for stretching of the groin muscles, the hamstrings, the calves, triceps and quadriceps. The best time to do this is after a brief warm up before your exercise and during cooling down after exercise. At the end of a workout, when the muscles are still warm, is one of the best times to stretch and increase flexibility of those muscles.

Another good way to increase flexibility is to try to stretch for 10 to 12 minutes a day, after a brief warm-up. As you warm up the circulation to the working muscles is increased. As fluids begin to lubricate joints the range of motion is enhanced. Do your stretches regularly with your warm up and cool down exercises to increase your flexibility ranges.

Exercise tends to shorten your muscles repeatedly and to counter this, stretch slowly and regularly, to become more flexible. Combine this with other forms of fitness exercises and see your flexibility improve.

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