Along with regular physical activity and resistance training, adults whose goal is to improve fitness and health shouldn’t overlook stretching. No matter how stiff or old you are, you can improve your flexibility by starting a stretching program. The American Heart Association, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans all recommend including a flexibility program your week. A deliberate, planned regular program of stretching practiced 2-3 times per week can increase range of motion in approximately 3-4 weeks. Your flexibility may improve in as few as ten sessions with an intensive program.
The benefits of flexibility are vast and determined by your goals. Your objectives may be biological, psychological or philosophical, such as a yoga practice. Stretching feels good, whatever your objective is.
When you stretch, you take soft tissue structures beyond their available length to increase range of motion. Flexibility isn’t a general characteristic, but is specific to a particular joint and joint action. For example, you might have full range of motion in the hip, but not in the foot or ankle.