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Flexibility: Basic Moves

Published: December 30, 2016

Flexibility for ease of everyday activities
Flexibility for ease of everyday activities

Flexibility is an important component of physical fitness and can be achieved by performing simple stretching exercises two to three times a week. 

Everyday activities and exercise are enhanced when you have physical flexibility and being physically flexible can protect your muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints from injury.
For some people "flexibility" may bring to mind visions of experienced yoga practitioners, gymnasts, and acrobats who appear to have the ability to take up seemingly impossible positions. 
Understanding flexibility in this way can discourage people from trying to improve their flexibility.
It is quite likely that most of us would not gain a level of flexibility that would allow us to take up extreme positions, and being too flexible may have negative effects on your body.
However, a modest amount of flexibility is beneficial and can be achieved without extreme measures.
Flexibility refers to the range of motion (ROM) in a joint or group of joints and there are various ways to improve or maintain ROM in your joints.
If you participate in Yoga or Pilates classes 2-3 times per week your flexibility training will be well taken care of as both of these forms of physical activity are excellent for improving and maintaining flexibility.
Walking at a moderate pace and moving your arms through a full ROM can help maintain flexibility in your hips and shoulders.
However, we sometimes participate in activities which we do not perform regularly, but which our bodies need to be prepared for.
Walking keeps your hips flexible
Walking keeps your hips flexible
If you have an exercise program where you spend a concentrated amount of time training cardiovascular fitness, and strength and endurance fitness a flexibility component to your exercise routine will complement your workout.
For people who do not engage in regular planned physical activity, flexibility exercises (stretching) can reduce the negative effects brought about by positions required for carrying out a particular function: such as sitting at a computer.
This article provides simple stretching exercises to help you improve and/or maintain your flexibility. Follow the links to learn more about the different aspects of physical activity, exercise, and fitness.


Corbin, C.B. & Lindsey, R. (1994). Concepts of Physical Fitness. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Communications Inc.
American Council on Exercise (1996). Personal Trainer Manual. San Diego, CA: American Council on Exercise