If you have a fitness regime it’s likely that you don’t train flexibility, or if you do it’s just for a few minutes before or after your workout. And if you practice yoga you’ve got this covered right? Maybe.
We often think that flexibility if a function of our muscles, or more specifically the muscles tissue, but this is not strictly true. The components of the muscles tissue (actin and myosin fibres if you’re into the geeky stuff) actually slide past each other and their grip is activated and reset via chemical processes. Finding mobility and flexibility in the body is really a function of the facia - the material that glues us together, the connective tissues, the white stuff in your steak – and this is found throughout the body. Historically facia was cut away in dissections and disposed of. However it has been realised partly as a result of advancements in scientific technology that this stuff has properties that are essential to the body’s integrity, efficiency and feeling.
The facia has the properties or elasticity (think of an elastic band that has been stretched and is returning back to its original shape) and plasticity (think of pressing your finger into a plastic bag and deforming its shape, permanently). We can train both of these properties. But why bother?
The plasticity training is perhaps more obvious - who wouldn’t like to do the splits or touch their toes? And if you think these goals are unworthy compared to the goals of strength gains consider this: the ability to lengthen the muscles increases the amount of pull factor in the muscle (actin and myosin again) producing bigger strength gains = more power.
The elasticity training is perhaps less obvious but provides benefits that are wider reaching. The ability of the elastic fibres in the facial tissues to pull back, or return to shape, decreases due to two factors: underuse and age. One factor is inevitable, the other reversible. Training these elastic tissues returns the facia back to its healthy, buoyant, smooth properties aiding ease of movement, upright posture and a sense of well-being in the fabric of the body itself. With eleven times as many nerve fibres as muscle, conditioning the facia has an increased effect on the central nervous system also. Double whammy.
Get flexible, get mobile, move with easy and feel great with our flexibility training class. Science says it’s so.
Flexibility Training at Pacific Yoga Wednesdays 1330