Flexibility is a component of physical fitness. Developing and maintaining
it are important parts of a fitness program. Good flexibility
can help a survivor accomplish such physical tasks as lifting,
loading, climbing, parachuting, running, and rappelling with greater
efficiency and less risk of injury.
Flexibility refers to the range of movement of a joint.
Flexibility is the range of movement of a joint or series of joints and their associated muscles.
It involves the ability to move a part of the body through the
full range of motion allowed by normal, disease-free joints.
No one test can measure total-body
flexibility. However, field tests can be used to assess flexibility
in the hamstring and low-back areas. These areas are commonly
susceptible to injury due, in part, to loss of flexibility. A
simple toe-touch test can be used. People should stand with
their legs straight and feet together and bend forward slowly
at the waist. A person who cannot touch his toes without bouncing
or bobbing needs work to improve his flexibility in the muscle
groups stretched by this test.
Stretching during the warm-up
and cool-down helps people maintain overall flexibility. Stretching
should not be painful, but it should cause some discomfort because
the muscles are being stretched beyond their normal length. Because
people differ somewhat anatomically, comparing one person's flexibility
with another's should not be done. People with poor flexibility
who try to stretch as far as others may injure themselves.