How to Improve Your Flexibility: Straight Forward WHAT, WHY, and 7 Tips to Help You be More Flexible, Instead of Walking Around Like a Zombie
How to improve your flexibility … You probably think that it is a good idea to have a certain amount of flexibility. That is why you are reading this article, right? Wouldn’t it be great to have a straight to the point article on what is flexibility training, why you should work on your flexibility, and some helpful tips and actual stretches that you can do on a regular basis? Well, that is exactly what this article is all about.
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What is flexibility training? According to wsu.edu, flexibility training includes stretching exercises for the purpose of increasing one’s range of motion.
Why should you work on your flexibility? According to wsu.edu, flexibility training exercises help to increase your range of motion, which can improve your mobility in both sporting events and everyday activities. Proper range of motion also aids your natural body alignment, which may prevent or decrease pain (e.g., lower back pain) or injury. According to skinnyms.com, additional reasons to work on your flexibility are that it helps increase blood flow and nutrients to your soft tissues. And it aids with better overall health and vitality.
7 Tips on “How to Improve Your Flexibility”
1. Make sure you warm up your muscles and joints before you stretch. Cold muscles are subject to quicker injury.
2. Stretch slowly and smoothly only to the point of mild discomfort. Avoid bouncing. The idea of “no pain, no gain” does not apply to stretching.
3. Maintain normal breathing throughout each stretch. Try inhaling through your nostrils and exhaling through your mouth. Or try yoga type belly breathing.
4. Aim for ample amount of stretching. According to wsu.edu’s referring to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should aim for holding each stretch for at least 10 seconds and work towards 30 seconds. Aim to perform each stretch 3-5 times per workout. And aim to do a stretch workout at least three times a day.
5. Choose stretches that fit your life style. Here are handful that I pulled from realsimple.com and (click here for images of how to do the stretches):
– The Runner’s Stretch
(A) Step your right foot forward and lower into a lunge, placing your fingertips on the floor or on two firm cushions if your hands don’t reach.
(B) Breathe in, then, in one motion, exhale as you straighten your right leg. Slowly return to the lunge position. Repeat four times. Switch sides.
– The Standing Side Stretch
(A) Stand with your feet together and your arms straight overhead. Clasp your hands together, with your fingers interlaced and pointer fingers extended. Inhale as you reach upward.
(B) Breathe out as you bend your upper body to the right. Take five slow breaths. Slowly return to the center. Repeat on the left side.
– The Forward Hang
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your knees slightly bent.
(A) Interlace your fingers behind your back. (If your hands don’t touch, hold on to a dish towel.) Breathe in and straighten your arms to expand your chest.
(B) Exhale and bend at your waist, letting your hands stretch toward your head. Hold for five deep breaths.
– The Low Lunge Arch
Step your right foot forward into a lunge and lower your left knee onto the floor or a folded towel or blanket.
(A) Bring your arms in front of your right leg and hook your thumbs together, palms facing the floor.
(B) Breathe in as you sweep your arms overhead, stretching as far back as is comfortable. Take five deep breaths. Switch sides.
– The Seated Back Twist
Sit on the floor with your legs straight.
(A) Bend your right knee and step your right foot over your left leg. Put your right hand on the floor, fingers pointing outward, for support. Bend your left elbow and turn to the right, placing the back of your arm against your right knee. Inhale as you sit tall.
(B) Breathe out as you twist, pressing your arm into your leg and looking over your right shoulder. Hold for five breaths, then slowly return to the center. Switch sides.
– The Bound Angle
Sit on the floor with your legs straight.
(A) Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, letting your knees drop toward the ground. Hold your shins as you inhale and stretch your chest upward.
(B) Exhale as you hinge forward from your hips (without rounding your back) and place your palms on the ground. Hold for five slow breaths.
So there you have it – a straight forward article on the what, why, and tips for “How to Improve Your Flexibility.” Now, that you have the information, make sure that you use it.
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Here are list of resources that I consulted when writing this article and I recommend them to your for further study: