There are many benefits to staying physically active, one of which is maintaining flexibility. According to a 2018 study published in The Lancet1, the percentage of people with insufficient activity remained stable from 2001 to 2016, standing at around 28.5% globally. The highest prevalence of inactivity was in western high-income countries measured using data from 358 surveys in 168 countries and with 1.9 million participants at 42.3%.
According to data from the CDC2, information from 2017 to 2020 showed that the overall prevalence of inactivity in the US was 25.3%. Although this was the overall prevalence, the CDC then broke down the information by location, race and ethnicity. According to the January 2022 map, there were seven states where inactivity was 30% or more, and there were no states where inactivity was less than 15%.
If inactivity is so high, it’s also likely that people’s flexibility has been negatively impacted. Sitting at a computer all day can stretch upper back muscles and tighten chest muscles, leading to hunched shoulders and upper back pain.3 This is known as Upper Crossed Syndrome (UCS).
This is just a challenge that comes from shortened muscles that negatively impact the joints and increase pain. Before we jump into any stretching program, let’s find out exactly what makes you flexible, and then take a simple test to determine how flexible you are now.