They say if you don't use it, you'll lose it.
This adage holds true for many things in life, and flexibility is one of them. We're born to move and move well.
Watch a young child. They don't have restrictions in their movements like adults do. Why? Because it's only as we age that we begin to favor one side, specialize in certain types of movements, and become more sedentary.
If we don't try to maintain or improve our movement patterns either through functional fitness or stretching, things will get worse. And once you get to a point where you can't touch your toes or squat properly, getting it back is challenging.
That doesn't mean it's impossible, though—it just requires time, patience and persistence before you see any changes.
The hips are densely constructed with muscles, ligaments and tendons. These stable yet mobile joints allow us to generate power, move fast, lift heavy objects, and jump high. Because they're made up of so many moving parts, tightness is inevitable. With tightness comes restriction, and when there's restriction, our movement patterns change.
While reducing muscle mass and focusing primarily on flexibility is one way to loosen up the joints, it's recommended to meet in the middle. The goal is to stay strong while reducing tightness in your hips through targeted stretching.
Stretching is a great way to release the tension that builds up in the hip joint, but sitting in a stretch for a given amount of time isn't enough. When we combine it with rhythmic and slow breathing, the stretch becomes a yoga posture.
Yoga goes beyond just flexibility by way of alignment, mindfulness and movement. It provides you with a deeper and more effective stretch, and that's exactly what we want for the hips.
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