As a dancer that multiple physical therapists have nicknamed “Gumby,” I’m lucky in that I don’t have to worry too much about flexibility. My natural “bendy” quality has been honed by years of dance, Pilates and yoga. When I started classes at a new yoga studio in Atlanta, the instructor laughed and said, “Clearly, we don’t have to worry about you opening your hip flexors.”
My husband, on the other hand, is constantly rigid. He blames his tight hips on skinny jeans or hours in planes and cars for work. And while he’s right in that they may be partially to blame, I point to his lack of flexibility. He sits at his office desk or in a car, then plays intense 2-hour rounds of tennis a couple of times a week, without any other training. And as my cited experts all noted, without working on your flexibility, your joints and muscles will not be able to function completely, particularly as you age.
Honey, you know I love you. Now go take some yoga and improve your flexibility.
Why is flexibility important?
Flexibility isn’t just about touching one’s toes or doing the splits. In actuality, flexibility is simply the amount of movement available at each joint. Flexibility is important to staying healthy and avoiding pain and injury.
According to Laureen DuBeau (a Master Instructor Trainer and Communications Director for STOTT PILATES®, one of Physiquality’s partner programs), our joints need a certain amount of mobility and flexibility in order to move effectively and efficiently. She notes, “When there is adequate range of motion available in a joint, the associated muscles work more effectively. But if there is tightness or injury restricting your range of motion,” you might start compensating by using other muscles for the same movement, which can lead to further pain and injury.