Can you touch your toes without bending your knees? Try any yoga moves lately? These questions hopefully got you thinking about your physical flexibility, or lack of as the case may be.
Physical flexibility represents a struggle for me. My muscles constantly feel tight and resistant to movement even though I’m in shape (can run a 5k & bike 12 miles) and not what I would consider a weakling (can life 10 pounds weights 100 times in a few minutes).
While I make a point to stretch often, I fail doing so consistently enough to keep inflexibility at bay. And this lack of physical flexibility serves as a reminder of the importance of flexibility – and a regular habit of stretching – not just physically but mentally as well.
The Benefits of Flexibility
What experts tout as the benefits of physical flexibility correlate well with the advantages of mental flexibility. In fact, when flexibility exists as a character trait – those elements that define you and shape your reputation – the same benefits seen with physical flexibility become visible in other areas of life too. Those benefits include:
- Reduced Risk of Injury. A flexible person has broad shoulders. Rather than harboring offenses, he releases them by giving the benefit of the doubt and refusing to take them personally.
- Improved Posture. Flexibility allows for confidence to stand strong amidst life’s struggles. This confidence reduces the strain that poor posture – lack of confidence – places on the system as a whole.
- Reduced Pain. Low back pain can immobilize a person, and flexibility goes a long way in reducing the pain. Flexibility as a character trait reduces the long-term impact of hurt and keeps a person from being frozen by it.
- Brings Life. Physical flexibility increases blood flow resulting in greater range of motion, less joint pain and reduced joint inflammation. Likewise, mental flexibility gives a person greater courage, less fear and increased stamina.
- Better Overall Health & Vitality. A flexible person lives a fuller life as he exudes positivity and energy. In fact, others are drawn to a flexible person because of his alacrity, making flexibility an impactive and even contagious trait.
What does flexibility look like in a person? While the benefits listen above serve to create motivation for the individual, they are not always easy to pinpoint tangibly. So, how can others pinpoint that flexibility exists and see its benefit?
When a person’s character involves flexibility, she becomes known for her servant’s heart, consistency & reliability, encouragement, broad shoulders, and abundance of grace. A flexible person draws people to himself, and people leave his presence feeling inspired.
A flexible person becomes so by stretching, by be willing to get outside comfort zones and extend into areas that at first feel unnatural. But with increased flexibility comes tremendous benefits, both to the individual becoming flexible and to every person she comes into contact with. Flexibility serves to amplify an already solid character.
DISCUSSION: What other benefits do you see with flexibility? What other ways is it identified in someone? What specific ways are there for increasing flexibility as a character trait?