We have all witnessed how a friend or a mate in the gym or a fitness class seems to effortlessly be able to touch their entire palms to the ground while keeping their legs straight, whereas you seem to have trouble even getting your finger tips to touch the ground!
These people seem to be able to contort their body into the sort of twists and loops that seem impossible for many of us.
So is it effort or genetics that are responsible for flexibility (or lack thereof)? According to Dr. Paul Weitzel, a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon at New England Baptist Hospital, there is a genetic component, a physical limit within which one can improve one’s range of flexibility.
While we may have certain physical limitations as to what we can make our body do, we can make gains and improvements up to 25% according to the doctor.
So while not all of us can transform ourselves into champion athletes, we can take steps to improve our personal performances, pace and physical abilities.
The trick is to be slow and steady and above all consistent when you are trying to improve flexibility. Regular stretching several times a week over extended periods, bouncing to improve balance, and stretching both sides of the body equally is what will help make the maximum gains.