I used to have this thought process of how you have to get one or the other “Strength or Flexibility” and what I have learned is that we choose the concept of “OR”. We each have access to gaining strength and flexibility but it is all in the process of which we go by.
Why is it important to gain both?
Strength is important to have to help support our joints and support our tendons and ligaments. When we walk, run, bike or do any form of physical activity it produces stress and stress must go somewhere. If our muscles are not strong enough to withstand the stress that is being placed on the body then the stress goes to our joints. Stress to the joints produces injuries to those areas. So strength is very vital in helping to build stronger bones and also to help decrease the amount of stress going to our joints.
Flexibility is important because it allows our body to go through its full range of motion. Think about it this way…If I am using my quad muscles (thigh muscle) and it is really tight then technically when I walk, run or do any form of exercise I am only using a certain percentage of that muscle. I am not using that muscle at it’s full capacity (100%). Why is this important?
- If the muscle is only functioning at a 50% capacity then technically we are not using the muscle at its full capacity. So therefore we are not working the entire muscle which means that are performance is not at 100%
- The other concept is that if we are working at muscle at 50% capacity then we are earing down that muscle and never allowing that muscle to fully be stretched out therefore causing muscle strains and muscle pulls
So how do you incorporate strength and flexibility?
As much time as you spend lifting you should spend the same amount of time engaging into some stretching. Some tips on how to implement it into your daily routine
- Create a stretching regime
- Stretch before and after a workout
- Allow one day a week as your restoration day (recovery day) and spend that time really focusing on doing some deep stretching
- Implement Yoga into your workouts (Yoga not only helps increase flexibility but it also allows you to balance out your muscles)
You will come to realize that the more you implement flexibility into your workouts the more your body will be able to recover from your intense workouts. The more that you will be able to bounce back the next day. You will also notice a decrease in soreness as well. So start to change your mindset around strength and flexibility. Don’t think of the two as an “or” but think of it is as “And” Strength AND Flexibility!