Range of motion is the degree of movement a joint has when it is extended, flexed, and rotated through all of its possible movements. A joint becomes stressed or overextended if it is moved past its natural range.
Factors that limit the joint’s range of motion are the type of joint (there are several different types of joints in the human skeleton), the structure of the bones that meet to make up the joint, as well as the stiffness of the muscles, tendons and ligaments, to name a few. Another important factor is the cartilage situated at the bones ends and the synovial fluid contained within the joint to allow movement to occur more freely.
It is important that the body tissues are regularly taken through their full range of motion to maintain their extensibility and elasticity. When this does not occur, the muscle can shorten and remain like this until stretched back to its original length. This can completely alter the function of a joint and compress the associated nerve fibers that pass through the joint and run alongside the muscles. A common example of such a case would be shortened hip flexors, due to prolonged periods of sitting and lack of stretch, because most of their everyday movements only work these muscles to within their inner range. This will result in the muscle pulling on the lumbar spine, causing a forward tilt, which can affect the sacro-illiac joints and ultimately lead to sciatic pain.
To prevent this from happening, don’t wait until its too late, follow a practitioner- assisted Active Isolated Stretching program, which is aimed at stretching the psoas major, illiacus and sartorius -these are the main hip flexor muscles – and preventing them more shortening. It will take huge amounts of pressure of your lower back.
Another important internal factor is bone. Whilst you cannot affect the amount of bone in a joint, you need to be aware of it as a limiting factor in flexibility. For example, after a break or fracture, the amount of bone over this site will increase, so if this site is near a joint, range of motion is likely to be reduced. A stretching program is advised to prevent calcification from permanently affecting the structure of the joint and limiting range or motion.
Just as range of motion can be decreased, through the stresses we placed upon our bodies each day, range of motion can be increased by consistently adhering to an Active Isolated Stretching program. Muscles can be stretched up to 1.6 times their original length. This greatly relieves the pressure put on the joints and nerves, which in turn will reduce pain and result in comfortable movement and achieve a more correct posture with less effort.
You will conserve more of your body’s energy making you feel more rejuvenated each day. Along with these benefits, for you, sports men and woman out there, it will help you achieve and maintain peak levels of muscular function which in turn will have a positive effect on performance.
Remember to drink between 2-3 liters of water a day. This keeps the muscles hydrated and supple by allowing easier blood flow and transport of nutrients. Temperature is also an important external factor effecting flexibility. When warmed, the body tissues become more pliable. So before attempting an vigorous activity, a light warm up is recommended, until the athlete starts to sweat lightly, followed by gently active isolated stretching, this will greatly decrease the chances of muscular injuries.Follow us on: