Muscles shorten by disuse
In the common psyche, man believes when he lifts weights and does body building activities, his muscles grow large and also results in lack of flexibility. The truth of the matter is that muscles actually shorten due to disuse. With constant use, as the muscles grow large, there is more blood flow which increases circulation, more supple and better hydrated to actually stretch. It is strong muscles that help joints move its full range of motion.
Your innate flexibility comes from joints, ligaments, tendons and muscle
- A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact.
- Ligaments connect bones to other bones to form a joint. Their function is to balance movement with stability, and to strengthen and stabilize the joint in a passive way.
- Tendons connect muscle to bone and keep the musculoskeletal system stable allowing it to function effectively. Tendons are capable of withstanding great loads.
- Muscles are the “engine” that our body uses to propel itself. It would be impossible to do anything without the muscles. They do everything from allowing you to walk to keeping your blood flowing!
Muscle can stretch up to one-and-a-half times its own length, while tendons can be damaged permanently being stretched just four percent beyond their length. Ligaments can extend only 8%
Tendons and muscles work harmoniously to efficiently move bones. They help us achieve dynamic ease, which involves achieving a maximum effect with the least amount of effort.
Ligaments are slightly elastic, so they can be stretched and gradually lengthen, increasing flexibility. But if stretched beyond a certain point, ligaments can become overstretched and compromise the integrity of the joint they are supposed to be stabilizing — so stretch with caution.
The focus in stretching is on the muscle itself and on where the tendons and muscles meet. Smaller muscles should be stretched and held for just about 10 seconds. Larger groups of muscles benefit only when the stretch is held at least for 30 seconds.
By Gita Krishna Raj
CEO Maverick, Holistic Lifestyle coach C.H.E.K Institute USA, Metabolic Typing Advisor, Health excel UK