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Flexibility is affected by many factors, some which can be changed (inactivity, muscle tightness, poor posture and injury) and others which cannot (joint structure).
Since we are born with these factors, they cannot be greatly altered by a stretching program.
• the bony structure of the joint
• the structure, length and pliability of the joint capsule and surrounding ligaments
These factors are changeable. They represent either temporary conditions or variables which can be manipulated to increase flexibility.
During times of inactivity, we become stiff and less mobile. Active lifestyles and exercises which incorporate full range of motion are required to maintain “normal” joint movement.
An injury to a joint or its surrounding muscles, tendons or ligaments will temporarily decrease range of motion due to pain, scar tissue, swelling, or immobilization (from a cast or brace). Rehabilitation following any injury must include consistent stretching to return the joint’ normal R.O.M.
The muscle’ ability to stretch is a major factor affecting joint flexibility. Tight muscles limit joint movement, while lengthened muscles allow greater movement. Stretching, therefore will directly affect flexibility, especially if done consistently and properly. Muscle extensibility is most easily affected when the muscle temperature and blood supply are increased (which happens during a proper warm-up). The colder the body, the longer the warm up should be.
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Jun 28th, 2015
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