Do you often find yourself with an aching back after tending to your garden for too long? Is bending down to get objects from the floor becoming too much of a burden recently? Chances are your flexibility needs work and conditioning.
Being nimble and flexible is essential in performing day-to-day activities with ease. In this blog, we’ll take you through the things you need to know about improving your flexibility. We’ll also include six flexibility exercises to help you get started.
Benefits of Improving Flexibility
Flexibility refers to your ability to stretch without any sign of pain. Regularly stretching your limbs can do wonders for your muscles and joints.
Keeps Muscles and Joints Healthy
Your muscles and joints can greatly benefit from being flexible. Regular flexibility exercises allow your muscles to stretch and expand, allowing them to become stronger, healthier, and more mobile.
Makes Daily Activities Easier
Having flexible muscles and joints allows you to move easily without straining yourself. From doing mundane tasks like carrying groceries and tying your shoes to more rigorous activities like engaging in sports, being flexible can greatly benefit your body.
Reduces Aches and Pain
Being flexible can also help reduce muscle and joint pains. Your muscles can become short, stiff, and prone to strains if you don’t use and stretch them often. Stretching exercises provide the necessary body movements to relieve your back and hip pains.
If you move or stretch your muscles and joints beyond their capacity, you can risk injuring yourself. Working on your flexibility can help expand your range of motion and keep your muscles and joints in shape. Conditioning your limbs in this way lessens your chances of injuring them.
Stretching exercises often require you to maintain poses for certain periods. Doing these exercises can fix and greatly improve your posture, which can be beneficial if you sit on a desk for extended periods for work.
Tips Before You Begin
Before you start working on your flexibility exercises, it’s important to keep the following things in mind to make the most out of your workout:
Keep It Simple
If you’ve been sedentary for a while and looking to work on your flexibility, it’s best to start slow and with simple exercises. Take 10 minutes of stretching a day to help your body get used to the movements before moving on to more advanced stretches.
The key to improving in any fitness area, including flexibility, is consistency. Make it a point to stretch regularly along with your workout routine. You can then progressively increase the intensity of your stretches and exercises once you get used to the routine.
Hold & Maintain Your Stretches
As mentioned earlier, stretches require you to hold a position for a certain amount of time. However, if you only keep it for 5-10 seconds, your muscles may not be stretched enough. It’s best to hold your stretch for at least 30 seconds so your muscles will get used to the sensation and motion.
Control Your Breathing
Proper breathing is key when it comes to doing stretching and flexibility exercises. Make sure to breathe from your belly and engage your diaphragm to make your exercises more relaxed and feel every sensation of your routine.
When doing flexibility exercises, hydration is essential to keep your muscles moving smoothly. Always have a water bottle near your workout area so you can drink water during and after your workout.
Six Stretching Exercises For Flexibility
Want to work on your flexibility but don’t know where to begin? You can start with these stretching exercises:
Yoga is one of the most well-known exercises for improving your flexibility. The routine focuses on static poses for several seconds or minutes. As you move, you can elongate your muscles and build their strength. Every pose targets specific body parts, engaging them properly and increasing their range of motion.
What’s more, you don’t need any equipment to get started. You may want to use a yoga mat to cushion your knees and feet. But if you don’t have one at home, you can simply use a towel, rug, or blanket.
If you’re looking for a more dynamic flexibility exercise, tai chi can be for you. This exercise lets you perform movements in a slow but fluid and continuous manner. Moving this way helps loosen tight muscles and stretch your entire body.
Since its movements aren’t as demanding as yoga, tai chi is generally recommended for people with balance and mobility issues and those who have recent injuries. Both of these relaxing exercises can greatly improve your overall wellness along with their various physical benefits.
Pilates is another beneficial stretching exercise that you can try out. It requires a fluid flow of movement to improve your body’s flexibility and core strength. You can do this both on a mat alone with and without special equipment. Knowing where to start in pilates is key if you want to see the best results.
Pilates was originally intended for athletes and dancers recovering from injuries. Nowadays, anyone, regardless of their physical state, can try this exercise to reap its benefits.
Doing strength training can also benefit your joint flexibility. It’s an all-around workout for improving muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility. To make the most out of this workout, make sure to maximize the full range of motion of your exercises. Consider adding squats, Romanian deadlifts, and pull-ups to your routine to strengthen and stretch your muscles further.
Static stretches are the perfect exercise after an intense workout session. To do this, you need to bend forward and hold a joint, such as your hamstrings, in a stretched position for 20-30 seconds. Doing static stretches lets you loosen tight and tense muscles during your workout.
Unlike static stretches where the muscles are relaxed, dynamic stretches are more movement-oriented, making them great routines for warming up before a workout. Doing this regularly before working out also minimizes your chances of injury.
Work On Your Flexibility Today
Improving your body’s flexibility requires steady effort and time. Fortunately, you can choose to do yoga, tai chi, pilates, strength training, and numerous other stretching exercises to develop your body.
If you need a personalized training plan focused on stretching and flexibility, you can ask a licensed physical therapist to get you started. For more health and wellness tips, visit the LifeClinic blog today.