freedom of movement Total range of motion around a joint is highly specific and varies from one joint to another (hip, trunk, shoulder), as well as from one individual to another. Muscular flexibility relates primarily to genetic factors and to physical activity. Beyond that, factors such as joint structure, ligaments, tendons, muscles, skin, tissue injury, fat, body temperature, age and sex influence range of motion around a joint. The range of motion about a given joint depends mostly on the structure of that joint. Greater range of motion, however, can be attained through plastic and elastic elongation. Plastic elongation is the permanent lengthening of soft tissue. This is best attained through slow, sustained stretching exercises. Joint capsules, ligaments and tendons are non-elastic. However, they can undergo plastic elongation. Elastic elongation is the temporary lengthening of soft tissue. Muscle tissue has elastic properties and respond to stretching exercises by undergoing elastic or temporary lengthening, thus increasing the extensibility of the muscles. Changes in muscle temperature can increase or decrease flexibility. Properly warmed individuals have better flexibility. Cool temperature has the opposite effect, impeding range of motion. The amount of adipose tissue (fat) around joints and muscle tissues will increase resistance to movement, and the added bulk also hampers joint mobility because of the contact between body surfaces. On average, women have more flexibility than men and seem to retain this advantage throughout life. The two most significant contributors to lower flexibility levels are sedentary lifestyles and lack of physical activity. Factors Affecting Flexibility Flexibility is defined as the ability of a joint to move freely through its full range of motion. Health-care professionals and practitioners generally have underestimated and overlooked the contribution of good muscular flexibility to overall fitness and preventative health care. Most people who exercise do not take the time to stretch, and those who do stretch don’t always do it properly. Many muscular/skeletal problems and injuries experienced by individuals today are related to a lack of flexibility. In daily life, we often have to make rapid or strenuous movements we are not accustomed to making. A tight muscle that is abruptly forced beyond its normal range of motion often leads to injuries. A decline in flexibility can cause poor posture and subsequent aches and pain that leads to limited and painful joint movement. According to a recent article, approximately 80 per cent of all low back problems stem from improper alignment of the vertebral column and pelvic girdle, which is a direct result of inflexible and weak muscle. Improving and maintaining good range of motion in the joints enhances the quality of life. Good flexibility promotes healthy muscles and joints. Improving elasticity of muscles and connective tissues around joints enhances freedom of movement and the individual ability to participate in all types of activities. Taking part in a regular stretching programme also increases resistance to muscle injury and soreness, prevents low back and other spinal column problems, improves and maintains good postural alignment, promotes proper and graceful body movement, improves personal appearance and self-image and helps to develop and maintain motor skills throughout life. In addition, flexibility exercises have been used successfully to treat dysmenorrheal (painful menstruation) and general neuromuscular tension (stress). Regular stretching helps decrease the aches and pains caused by psychological stress and contributes to a decrease in anxiety, blood pressure and breathing rate. Furthermore, stretching exercises, in conjunction with calisthenics, are helpful in warm-up routines to prepare for vigorous aerobics or strength-training exercises, as well as in cool-down routines following exercise to facilitate the return to a normal resting state. Fatigue muscles tend to contract to a shorter-than-average resting length and stretching exercises help fatigue muscles re-establish their normal resting length. Similar to muscular strength, good range of motion is critical in older life. Because of decreased flexibility, older adults lose mobility and are unable to perform simple daily task such as bending forward or turning. Many older adults do not turn their head or rotate their trunk to look over their shoulder but, rather, must step around 90 to 180 degrees to see behind them. Physical activity and exercise can also be hampered severely by lack of good range of motion. Because of the pain during physical activity, older people who have tight hip flexor muscles cannot jog or walk very far. This condition usually worsens with further inactivity. A simple stretching programme can alleviate or prevent this problem.
A million excuses can be found just like they are being found now, not to believe in or invest in our young players. It has been going on for years. This process has damaged, demoralised and destroyed the confidence of the average young Jamaican footballer, who will struggle to recover from the psychological scars left by these subliminal messages. A clear index of this was expressed by outstanding young talent Alex Marshall who, at the end of a brilliant run last season, took the decision not to even attempt to play Premier League football, but instead indicated that he wanted to concentrate on his schoolwork and becoming a physiotherapist. It is a sad, but clear, indication of the damage that has been dealt to the psyche of the young Jamaican football players. The myopia and lack of vision is killing our youth. We are, once again, at the proverbial crossroads in our football. Let us take the opportunity and venture down a totally different road. DISCOURAGING REMARKS Recent discussions and debates regarding issues of local football have emphatically confirmed the suspicions that Jamaica’s development as a country and our advancement as a people continue to be severely hampered by endemic myopia, lack of vision and foresight, and effective leadership and forward thinking. It has been nothing short of shocking to see and hear the short-sightedness that continues to dominate the narrative. A simple fundamental such as the investment in youth as the vehicle for development, has been met with such fervent and widespread resistance, followed by the most imbecilic and nonsensical excuses. EXCUSES Our young players are not good enough. They must get overseas contracts. They are not consistent enough. Who will these young players replace in the current team? They need to develop some more. They need to go to the gym. They are not ready. These are but some of the disparaging and discouraging remarks repeatedly thrown at the nation’s best young football talent, all in response to recommendations that we invest more in our best young players. By glaring contrast to other countries – blessed with not some semblance of vision and foresight as well as simple common sense – Italy, for example, just gave a 17-year-old goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, his international debut. Nineteen-year-old Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus scored twice in a recent World Cup qualifier against Ecuador. Portugal’s 18-year-old midfielder, Renato Sanches, was a star performer in their recent European title-winning team. A 17-year-old named Christian Pulisic became the United States of America’s youngest-ever goalscorer in World Cup qualifying, when he netted against St Vincent and the Grenadines two weeks ago. Just to name a few. The shallow and predictable response of ‘group myopia’ will be that these players from these countries are playing top-flight club football, while our young players are not. It matters not to the wider principle. The salient fact of the matter is that these countries are investing in and exposing their young players, while we are attacking, condemning, and waging psychological war on ours, drilling it into their subconscious that they are not good, too young, and not ready, and are thus inferior to their counterparts. There is a conspicuous and crippling inability to visualise and conceptualise the nuance of projected development and that it is for future rewards that we must invest in our young players and not for the immediacy of now, especially in a context where our senior team is filled with mediocre journeymen, who continue to be embarrassingly ineffective. Identifying genuine and select talent at 18, 19, 20 or younger and believing and investing in that talent consistently by systematically exposing them alongside the senior pros to international football, giving them meaningful playing time over a one- or two-year period, can only mean the improvement of these young players for the future, ensuring that some short- to medium-term continuity within the context of our imperfect football structure.
Flasback: Enders speaking at second closing ceremony of the African Dream Academy last year has vowed to make District #6 shineThe proprietor of the African Dream Academy, Rev. Samuel R. Enders said his African Dream that has brought into operations the African Dream Academy and its children’s clinic, among many other initiatives is greater and bigger than the politics of a district.Appearing on the Bumper Show recently, Enders said even though he is into politics to help restructure and improve the conditions of Montserrado electoral district #6, he has not lost sight of his primary mission that compelled him to return home after many years of struggles in the US.“I came back to help rebuild my country by investing in education and social structures that have the capacities to shape and better the living conditions of any population, regardless of place of origin or challenging economic status,” he said.He noted that during political times, many lose sight of the cardinal issues affecting society and focus on trivial matters such as demonizing people they know nothing about and many other things that are not worth giving attention to. “We came to deliver and our service took us to the establishment of the African Dream Academy that began with 144 students in its first year of operations. Today we have 1000 students from homes across the district and its environs that are directly benefiting from the African Dream,” Enders said, noting that whether he wins or loses, his African Dream institution which goes beyond Liberia will continue to deliver to any given population in district #6 and other communities nearby.“Because it is political season some candidates and their surrogates go around defaming other people’s reputations. They use this time to totally fabricate lies so as to uglify the mutual coexistence between or among people,” Enders said.He pointed out that 1500 women are now receiving skills training and development at the African Dream Academy and with the skills and knowledge they will be able to contribute to the transformation of their communities.“They are receiving the trainings in many different skills, including cosmetology, hair braiding and dressing, tie and dying, tailoring and catering and pastry on a free of charge basis. All we expect from them is to go back to their communities after the acquisition of said skills among many others and help do something with their learnings for the good of those communities they represent and the families,” he noted.About the African Dream Academy children’s clinic, he said it is and will remain a free of charge medical service center for the children of Liberians and other nationals. “The clinic is well equipped and staffed to serve all children from all backgrounds,” he said, noting further that his opponents’ statement that he (Enders) goes to America to beg on behalf of Liberian children so as to enrich himself are in error and should think of saying or doing something else better.“I was petitioned by over 5000 people in December of 2015, right after our success in the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus to contest this District’s representative election come October 10, 2017. I did not beg for it, neither have I wished to enter into politics but I had no choice except to accept the call of these people who yearn for real change daily,” he said. He added that when elected as “it is already certain, the voices of the people of district #6 will drive his Legislative functions. “I will be the servant of the people to whose calls I must listen and carefully consider what will be good for the district. Continuous better education as already undergoing delivery by the ADA and other few standard schools and others to be improved within the district will be paramount and healthcare, reconciliation, security will top my office’s agenda for my people,” Enders assured.He meanwhile called on all his opponents in the legislative race to not see him as their enemy but as one opting to do what is right for district #6, which has not been done over the years. “We are not at war with each other, so let’s be civil and put the interest of our district above our selfish reasons,” he admonished.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)