Stability and Flexibility
“I feel so stiff but stretching doesn’t seem to make any difference, so I want find a way to safely improve my flexibility”
Flexibility is important to perform daily activities with relative ease. Activities most of us take for granted, like getting out of bed, putting on socks and lifting all require flexibility. And within an exercise and sport environment flexibility is essential to achieve end-range movements without incurring injury to muscles, tendons and ligaments. Unfortunately flexibility tends to decrease with age, sedentary lifestyles and development of poor postural habits, so it needs to be maintained by staying active and stretching regularly.
Flexibility at the Sogunro Practice is all about getting the balance right between stability and flexibility to promote healthy joints with longer life.
Every joint in the body, be it shoulder, spine, hip, knee has its own optimum range of flexibility for the movement it is designed to perform. This is not the same thing as extreme range of movement, which many people mistakenly view as desirable.
Pushing joints beyond their optimum range typically results in wear and tear and early onset osteo-arthritis. And for many adults “beyond range” can include sitting cross-legged, bending over to touch toes, as well as more obviously extreme positions like splits.
But on the other hand, if the muscles around a joint are too tight and rigid, this puts that joint and adjacent joints under compressive stress, again leading to damage within the joint – for example tight muscles at the back of the thigh (hamstrings) can lead to prolapsed disc in the spine, tight muscles at the front of the thigh (quads) can lead to damage to the knee-cap.
The ligaments and muscles around a joint control its range of movement, and muscles around joints need to be kept strong to provide joint stability.
So the objective at the Sogunro Practice focuses on optimum, not extreme, flexibility along with strong muscles to stabilize joints. Our formula is: optimum flexibility + strong muscles = healthy joints.
Applied Pilates – how can we help?
One size does not fit all. Every individual arrives with different degrees of strength and flexibility depending on age, genetics, type of daily activities, fitness level, and these cannot be improved by giving everyone a generic routine. This is why Applied Pilates is different.
During your initial assessment and your subsequent exercise sessions we actively assess your strength and flexibility both at rest and during movement. This tells us which of your muscles need strengthening, which muscles need to be more flexible and how mobile your major joints are, and from this we develop your personal Applied Pilates routine. Applying the right exercises strengthens the muscles that stabilise your joints and improves flexibility of tight muscles. This provides balanced muscles on each side of your joints for stability, and improves the range of movement in those joints.
Osteolates – how can we help?
Osteolates soft tissue treatment techniques can prepare the muscles so they are able to respond to and maximise the benefits of doing the right Applied Pilates exercises. During a flexibility improvement programme it is essential for us to get the correct balance between flexibility and strengthening to achieve stability at each major joint. For example tight hamstrings can result in pelvic instability and back pain, but trying to stretch tight hamstrings inappropriately will also create back problems. Osteolates provides a controlled way to resolve muscle, tendon and ligament issues that become apparent as your exercise programme progresses. We have found over the years that clients who combine Applied Pilates exercises with occasional Osteolates soft tissue treatments improve strength and flexibility more quickly.
Other advice we provide for you
We can show you the difference between optimum range and extreme range of flexibility, and advise where you are on that scale. We can help you to understand the degree of flexibility that for you is appropriate to your daily activities, so that you have realistic and appropriate objectives to help you improve and maintain your flexibility safely.