Injuries are common among athletes in different types of sports. Strength training and flexibility exercises are two of the conditioning techniques most commonly used by athletes to promote muscle strength and prevent different forms of sports-related injuries, such as ankle sprains and lower back pains.
If you are not an athlete, however, conditioning exercises like flexibility and strength training can also provide a myriad of benefits to you, especially if you want to achieve your personal fitness and health goals. Keep in mind that these exercises are not for weight lifters and athletes, because everyone can benefit from it, especially if we want to decrease our risk of acquiring some kind of injury in the future.
Some important benefits from flexibility and strength exercises
- Prevention of Injuries – Whenever our muscles get enough flexibility, injuries like sprains and muscle pains, are less likely to happen. In addition, flexibility gives the muscles additional efficiency and increased range of motion, reducing the overall occurrence of shoulder and lower back pains.
- Protection of joints – Muscle strength can help avoid joint pain usually among those with arthritis.
- Helps in weight management – Just like other types of exercise, regular conditioning exercises can also help manage and control weight. By having more lean muscles, it is easier to burn calories, thus, controlling weight in the process.
How does strength exercises help muscle flexibility and prevent injuries?
In order to identify the mechanisms of action behind flexibility and strength exercises, we can become aware of the benefits these provide to our body. Essentially, strength training increases muscle capacity, as well as the flexibility of joints, tendons and ligaments. The stronger the tendons, joints and muscles, the easier it is for them to make our body properly aligned. With respect to injuries, stronger muscles and joints protect the bones during heavy impact or when moving very fast. Because of the overload placed on the muscles and bones, they eventually become stronger and more flexible, and this can help properly absorb the shock applied during movements.
In contrast, when the body is always at rest and few muscles are used during activities, the body is more likely to become injured because the muscles are weak and cannot handle heavy stress load. By engaging in regular flexibility and strength exercises, such muscle weaknesses could be avoided and injuries could be prevented.
Additional information on flexibility and strength training:
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“Flexibility and Stretching.” Sports Performance Bulleting. Retrieved online on August 14, 2014 from http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/flexibility-and-stretching-preventing-sports-injuries-336
“Stretching.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved online on August 14, 2014 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931