Flexibility refers to the ability of your joints to move through a full range of motion. Having flexibility in your muscles allows for greater movement around joints. The shorter and less flexible the muscle, the tighter the joint.

Increased flexibility reduces your risk for injuries or sprains when you are physically active. Being regularly active is essential if you want to promote long term healthy blood pressure levels or want to lower high blood pressure.

Developing your flexibility keeps muscles relaxed and reduces tension that can result in headaches and back pains.

Stretching after your workout, when your muscles are warm, is a good way to increase your flexibility and help protect yourself from injury.

How Flexible Are You?

Here are three simple tests to gauge your current flexibility level:

1. Upper Body Flexibility

• Reach your right hand over your shoulder and behind your back, stretching down to your waist.
• Place your left hand behind your back and reach toward your neck trying to touch or overlap fingers with your hands.
• If you can touch/overlap fingers you have a decent level of upper body flexibility.

2. Lower Body Flexibility

• Sit on a chair with your back straight.
• Keep one foot on the floor and raise the other leg to be parallel to the floor.
• If you can raise your leg to thigh height without shift position or raising your other foot you have a decent range of motion in your lower body.

3. Overall Flexibility

• Sit on the floor with legs stretched out in front of you.
• Place your feet against a solid box.
• Lean forward and see how many inches you can reach without bending your knees.

8-9 inches past box - excellent
5-8 inches past box - very good
1-5 inches past box - fair
Cannot reach box - poor

Improve your flexibility test results by completing regular flexibility exercises for the next week and the re-test yourself. Remember when it comes to flexibility - if you don't use it, you lose it.

Author's Bio: 

Be sure to sign up for the free e-course 7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure provided by dietitian Lisa Nelson at http://lowerbloodpressurewithlisa.com