Disclaimer: Consult with a healthcare professional before attempting any new exercise or routine.
Flexibility is among the most overlooked factors associated with overall health and weight management. If bending over to touch your toes seems like a far fetched fantasy to you, realize that improving your flexibility is possible! With no, we’re not talking about understanding how to twist your body into pretzel-like shapes that seem almost impossible. Improving your bending ability can be simply about strengthening tight, sore muscles and preventing injury from happening.
Why Flexibility is Important
As our bodies enter adulthood and continue to age, flexibility is usually one of the first things to go. It takes life-long work to care for our muscles and keep our joints mobile, especially when living in a sedentary world. Flexibility might help us to:
- Prevent everyday injury and illness
- Improve our posture
- Lengthen your muscles
- Build and support functional movement
- Increase calmness, relaxation and confidence
- Improve athletic and sport performance
Tips for Increasing Flexibility
Work on Strength as Well
Strength and flexibility go hand in hand. The flexibility of a muscle is extremely dependent on the strength of that muscle. If you are trying to improve your flexibility around a specific joint but the surrounding muscles are weak, you may make yourself more prone to illness and injury. While you work to improve flexibility, also focus on small ways to improve muscle strength.
Stretch Daily, All Day
Many people skip this part, particularly if they’re in a hurry to begin a workout, end a workout or simply move on with their day. Make stretching a routine in your everyday life. Wake up and stretch. Stretch before you decide to exercise. Stretch after you exercise and throughout your entire day. Then, stretch before bed. The body will be quick to absorb this healthy habit.
Vary Your Stretches
Don’t just stick to the same stretches all day, every day. Add some variety into your routine. This will help work all areas of your muscles to ensure you are promoting flexibility and flexibility in as many places as you possibly can. There are simply hundreds of muscles in your body, and you cannot reach all of them with the same calculated stretching exercises.
Read Your Body
This may sound like an airy tip, but your body will tell you when it must be stretched and paid attention to. Have you ever been sitting at a desk for a long period of time and began to experience sharp pains and aches? This is your body signaling to you it needs some work. Wake up, go for a walk, practice some easy stretches and repeat.
Focus on Lifestyle Changes
Beyond stretching, simple changes in lifestyle can have a tremendous impact on your flexibility and range of motion. Such lifestyle changes including eating an effective diet rich with nutrients and vitamins, staying hydrated, exercising frequently and avoiding alcohol, smoking and drug use. Your body is an intricate, interdependent system that requires round-the-clock care.
No matter your age, flexibility or level of flexibility, you could work to improve your flexibility and promote all around health and wellness. However, don’t rush the procedure. Listen to your body and determine what you can accomplish at that moment in time. Things are a process, and you don’t wish to injure yourself by doing something that is beyond your ability at this point in time. And remember, always consult a doctor if you have specific concerns and need additional guidance.