A certain amount of flexibility is a must for you muscles. The more elasticity your muscles have the bigger range of motion your joints will have. If your not stretching at all, gradually your muscles will “seize up”. I teach yoga so I know how important it is to stretch properly so here’s some tips:
To see an improvement in flexibility, stretching exercises must be done regularly-daily if possible- for many weeks. Your muscle tissues will stretch best when you apply gradual pressure or gentle force at elevated tissue temperatures. 10 or more minutes of warm up is good to do before stretching. Exercise heats the muscle more deeply. That’s why the call it “warm up”. Flexing cold muscles does not increase flexibility and can cause injuries in extreme cases.
The easiest and safest way to increase flexibility is with static stretching. A good static stretch is slow and gentle after warm up. Get into a comfortable stretching position and relax into the stretch. Take some deep breaths and go into the stretch as much as you feel comfortable. Try to hold it for at least 30 seconds. If your tensing up then your stretching too much.
So the most important tip to stretching is to relax. You may have gone to some sort of exercise class and looked around at a person trying their hardest to stretch as much as the person next to them. Pushing their muscles to the limit so they don’t look silly or something haha. They are unintentionally activating the motor neurons that initiate muscular contraction in the muscles they are supposed to be relaxing, which of course means they are tightening the very muscle they are trying to stretch. Pretty silly right? So next time you stretch remember to relax- Sam