Adult Student’s Corner
by Sifu Mark Jolley
When one thinks of a martial artist, one characteristic that comes to mind is flexibility. One of the benefits of Kung Fu is increasing your flexibility. Not only does it allow for higher kicks, but improved flexibility also produces a wide range of physical benefits and can have a positive effect on your overall well-being. Here are a few ways that increased flexibility is likely to help you.
Fewer injuries: Once you develop strength and flexibility in your body, you’ll be able to withstand more physical stress. Plus, you’ll rid your body of any muscle imbalances, which will reduce your chance of getting injured during physical activity. Correcting muscle imbalances requires a combination of strengthening the under-active muscles and stretching the overactive (tight) ones.
Less pain: If you suffer from aches due your work situation, your body is likely to feel better overall once you work on lengthening and opening your muscles. When your muscles are looser and less tense, you’ll experience fewer aches and pains. Plus, you may be less likely to experience muscle cramps.
Improved posture and balance: When you focus on increasing muscular flexibility your posture is likely to improve. Working out your body allows you to have proper alignment and correct any imbalances. Plus, with an increased range of motion you may find it easier to sit or stand in certain ways.
A positive state of mind: Regularly engaging in poses that stretch and open your body can bring about feelings of relaxation. The physical benefits can extend to a relaxed state of mind. You may find it easier to unwind once your body feels better.
Improved physical performance: Once you increase your flexibility to allow greater movement in your body you’ll be able to perform better physically. This is in part because your muscles are working more effectively. Taking steps to become more flexible can be a great way to connect to yourself and your body. You’re likely to feel more balanced and better overall once your body is more open, strong, and flexible.
Be careful about starting a stretching program if you have a chronic condition or injury. If you have any health concerns speak to your doctor or physical therapist to decide upon the best approach.
Stretching can be done pretty much anywhere, and anytime. Waiting for your morning coffee to brew, you can take the time to stretch. As we age, we need to stretch more, and often. As I listed above, there are many benefits to be achieved. Always ensure your body is warmed up before any major stretch. If you feel any pain, you have dial back the stretch to where you feel tension. So, take the time to stretch and improve your flexibility.