Health Benefits of Flexibility?

I’ve read a lot about health benefits from cardiovascular fitness and to a lesser extent, strength. In the sense that these things reduce your chances of getting conditions like heart attacks, strokes, osteoperosis, and so on.

Is there any analogous health benefit to being flexible?

I’d imagine that flexibility is an indicator of overall health, but not a prime driver of it.

I’d also imagine that someone who worked to maintain flexibility would need to engage in at least a low level of exercise, which is a good thing in and if itself.

Not much. The rationale for advising inclusion of flexibility activitiy as part of an exercise program in the American College of Sports Medicine Guideline is pretty weak:

Flexibility is useful in its own right.

Precisely. But I would point out that, as I have posted elsewhere, I have fewer and lesser back problems since I started doing a half hour of flexibility exercises every morning.

Being flexible might make it easier to exercise, and a person less prone to certain types of injury, which might mean it indirectly promotes better health.

I wonder if better flexibility makes a person less likely to fall, and/or makes it easier to get up after a fall?

I don’t know about less likely to fall but I reckon it makes you less likely to hurt yourself if you do fall

All anecdotes and reckonings duly noted I again point out the ACSM review of the actual evidence:

Possibly better balance, especially if combined with resistance exercise. Perhaps a goal in own right, sure, but no collateral benefits on disease prevention or other health measures like there are for aerobic and strength exercise.

Wouldn’t better balance prevent falls?

Seeing as how falls are the leading cause in injury death in older Americans, I’m thinking better balance is not small potatoes.

Yes. Better though to go after balance directly than through something that just might be of benefit. The cited guidelines calls those exercises “neuromotor” or “functional fitness” exercises:

I’d include balance disc work and gymnastic style body weight exercise (as appropriate for the individual) in that group too.

Even if there are not direct, provable benefits to flexibility I, personally, enjoy my body more when I’m able to bend and move freely. It makes it easier to pick things up off the floor, put things up on shelves, get dressed, get washed, negotiate uneven terrain while walking, and gives me more options during sex. Admittedly, a lot of that is subjective, but it makes me happy.

It depends on how one becomes flexible. I have a mild condition that has allowed me to be very flexible, even in the face of age and weight gain. I can still touch my toes at 67. I could do a full lotus position until a few years ago, and with a bit of practice, could probably do it now.

However, I’m now much more prone to tendonitis and osteoarthritis.