A lack of flexibility can lead to injuries, chronic pain, or slow down the recovery & repair process after an injury. Tightness in parts of your body especially noticed while exercising means you are going to have ‘energy leaks’ and probably not function to your full potential. Some people are so tight they just learn to avoid certain movements and actions altogether.
Not everyone can achieve a feeling of suppleness, but we can at least try to improve our flexibility by stretching. I always say “you never know how loose you can become without trying”. If you don’t regularly stretch, it is only a matter of when you get injured, not if.
Regarding your spine, flexible muscles perform a lot better than tight muscles. In sports, such as running, swimming, football or hiking — whatever your activity, you need to gain and maintain the flexibility that is specific to the requirements of your sport.
One of the biggest controversies in sports medicine is about stretching.
Studies of endurance runners have shown pre-race static stretching has a poor effect. For instance, in one famous study by Jacobs & Berson (1986), it was found that those who stretched beforehand were injured more often than non-stretchers.
The kind of ‘static stretching’ you see as part of a warm-up for distance runners is very common, and yet the research, and logic, shows that static stretches do little to help prevent injuries or improve muscle function before an activity.
Instead, active mobility (dynamic) exercises, starting slowly and building up to sports-specific speeds are more appropriate both before exercise and generally, to develop sports performance.
The key is the difference between static and dynamic exercises.