I know you are busy, dealing with life and kids but isn’t your health and mobility important as well? I’m not going to tell you to take an hour every day to focus on flexibility and strength training but maybe this will give you a few ideas on how to fit them into your life. 5 minutes at a time because working on strength and flexibility is crucial for your bodies health.
So, why do we need strength and flexibility?
There are two ways to look at this but they both come down to the same thing If you are trying to build strength then you also need flexibility and if you are building flexibility you need to work on strength. Why?
When you are strength training, your muscles can become shorter and tighter, repetitive short movements tighten muscles. Having tighter muscles will decrease mobility which can decrease flexibility depending on the movements that you are doing. This can lead to injury because your body can not move so freely which is why it’s essential to work on flexibility as well.
Makes sense right? But why do you need to work on strength if you are focusing on flexibility?
Flexibility Loosens the muscles, the tendons, the fascia and this can make them weaker (if you imagine a hair band that has been stretched over and over it’s more likely to break) meaning your body may not be able to support your body which can then increase injury.
Now I always say that flexibility will help with less bodily injury and this is true, so why can being flexible cause injuries? Have you heard the saying ‘You bend so you don’t break’?
Being flexible can help with so many things and it will definitely help cause less pain in the body UNLESS you take it to the extreme. Meaning if you practice too often or if you work only on flexibility and nothing else and don’t support you body in another way.
Muscles are made to contract and relax this means we need both of them things for them too function properly. If we are constantly focusing on relaxing to gain flexibility when it comes to contracting the muscles, they may not have enough strength to do so and can’t support your body like they should. This can leave you feeling weak and then it can cause pain in the body.
As an example, let’s talk about the forward fold. If you are constantly stretching the back body, the front body can become tight. This can cause the front body to shorten whilst the back body is lengthening creating an unbalance in the body.
If you then try to open the front body, you may get pain in the front because it isn’t used to moving that way and from the back because it isn’t used to contracting and the muscles are not strong enough to be able to do this.
Where as if you have worked on strength and flexibility in the back body it will be able to handle it a lot better with no pain.
Now you know why you need strength and flexibility, how can you do both?
A great way to add both of these is different types of yoga.
Yin yoga is great for flexibility we are really relaxing into the poses to calm the nervous system to allow the muscles to lengthen.
Power Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga can build up strength as well as flexibility. You don’t do 10 Chaturangas (push ups) and not feel that in your muscles.
A great yoga practice combines flexibility, strength and mobility. The aim of the physical part of yoga is to be able to sit in meditation for longer, you can’t do that if you don’t feel flexible, strong or mobile.
You don’t need an hour everyday, a few minutes a day is really all you need to get started. You can work on your flexibility and strength at home right now in every day situations. Are you sat on the sofa with your phone reading this now? Then cross your legs, work into that hip flexibility.
Or lift your legs out in front and hover them, tense everything for 10 seconds and release them back down. Get some strength building up in your legs. Even holding your arms out to the side for a while and letting gravity help will build a little arm strength.
If you do need more focus in one of these areas then it is great to add additional strength training or mobility training. Either way make sure you are working on strength and flexibility daily or at least 3 times a week to keep your body healthy and mobile with less pain. (remember it only has to be a few minutes a day).
If you would like to work on your flexibility with me, then check out the free challenge that we are doing June 13th 2022. A full body flexibility challenge with live classes focusing on the 5 main ways the body moves. (plus a little strengthening along the way)
Click the link below for more details and if you got something out of this post, share it with friends.