There are many factors that may limit flexibility and mobility, long term or short term. It is good to be aware of them and adjust our workouts accordingly to maintain flexibility and mobility and reduce the risk of injuries.
The warmer your muscles and joints are the more flexible and mobile you will be.
Outside temperature, particularly if you workout outdoors as we do, is a big factor that may limit flexibility and mobility. In the cold season give yourself more time to warm up and more patience.
Type of training
If your sport or training style itself involves mobility and flexibility (i.e. Martial Arts, gymnastics) you will naturally be more flexible. No matter how much a runner stretches there will be limitations compared to a Martial Artist or gymnast.
This is why we train in natural movement, we incorporate mobility and flexibility in all exercises. If you are a runner, for example, you should consider yoga classes at least 3 times a week I’d say.
Time of stretching.
In the morning when you wake up you may feel a bit stiffer than normally. In the afternoon your body is probably the most flexible.
Age is indeed a factor that limits mobility and flexibility. However, if you constantly trained to be mobile and flexible throughout the years the limitations will be smaller.
Women are generally more flexible than men.
Sorry ladies, but wearing high heels is not going to be great for flexibility and mobility, ankle mobility will suffer the most limiting dorsiflexion (when you pull your toes towards your shin). Wearing high heels also alters posture and alignment.
In his book “Stretching Scientifically” Thomas Kurz says that flexibility can be affected by anger, happiness, sadness, frustration, stress or how mentally burnt out we are.
There are situations when joints or bony structures limit range of movement. These are cases, along with pain in the joint, when you should consider seeing a your GP and see whether there is a more serious problem which needs attention.
A body builder will be generally less flexible and mobile than a lean Martial Artist or a rock climber.
In the end the more you train the more flexible and mobile you will be. Be consistent and the above limiting factors will not influence you as much.
I give you this information not to discourage you but to help you train in a more complete way.
Also read about The difference between mobility and flexibility.
If you have questions don’t hesitate to contact me.