I danced for 12 years, competitively for seven. During those seven years in particular, I was very serious about being the best dancer I could be, not only for myself but also for my studio and competition team. Part of my at-home practice was nightly stretches and ab exercises. I knew how flexible I needed (and wanted) to be, so taking time every night to stretch my muscles and work on my splits contributed to my continued success as a dancer (among other things).
In high school, I shifted from dance to sports, and later to straight training and fitness. When I stopped my rigorous stretching routine from dance, I lost most of my flexibility. Although I didn’t have to do splits or grand battements or other fancy dance moves, I should have kept up with stretching more than I did.