Are you looking for a way to increase your flexibility? Here’s everything you need to know about it.
If the act of touching your toes strikes you as an impossible feat to accomplish, you may have wondered how you could improve on your flexibility. Though often disregarded in the aspects of fitness, having a full and flexible range of motion throughout your limbs is actually fairly important.
Training your flexibility can allow for significant freedom of control over your body and better overall body posture, it also aids to release muscle tension, and significantly lowers the chance of injury during strenuous activities, according to the American Council on Exercise.
Flexibility may be improved in a variety of methods, from at-home stretches to more structured activities like yoga or Pilates. All you need is a yoga mat, an open mind, and reasonable expectations to get started. You may not be able to touch your toes with your nose in a week, but with consistent exercise and determination, you should notice an improvement in your flexibility.
Where to start?
Stretching, yoga, and Pilates are all popular ways to improve flexibility. All of them can be done at home, but most practitioners advise that you take at least one taught session to ensure that you are utilising the proper form; you will be able to avoid injury as a result of this.
You may need to modify your exercise programme if you have a chronic ailment or an injury. If you have any health problems, consult a medical professional about the best approach to exercise.
Below are two of the easier ways to start increasing your flexibility.
Static stretches and dynamic (movement-based) stretches are the two basic types of stretches. Static stretches are those in which you stand, sit, or sleep stationary in one position for a brief time. Dynamic stretches are slow, controlled movements that warm up your muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues in preparation for physical exercise.
After a workout, many people employ static stretches as a way to cool down. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests static stretching at least two to three times per week for most people as part of a general fitness regimen. Hold each stretch for at least half a minute before repeating two to four times.
To enable efficient stretching, flexibility exercise should be done after the body’s muscles have been sufficiently warmed up. For some easy stretches to do at home, I would recommend reading health.com’s 15 Stretches You Should Do Every Day for some inspiration on some stretches you can do.
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that consists of a series of movements that include physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. According to the Yoga in America study, 36 million people practised yoga in the United States in 2016, up from 20 million in 2012. And what is the most common reason for people to start yoga? Flexibility.
A randomised control experiment published in The Journals of Gerontology found that an eight-week course of Hatha yoga was just as effective in improving flexibility in middle-aged and older persons as traditional stretching and strengthening activities. According to the research, it also states that practically all Hatha yoga postures are gentle and adjustable, ensuring a well-received, safe, and fun workout that is simple to adopt and maintain.
Certain foods you eat might help you recover from exercise and avoid stiffness.
According to research published in the Journal of Biomedicines, those who eat a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, and healthy oils had a lower risk of inflammation and chronic disease. Antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids contained in certain meals also appear to have anti-inflammatory properties.
The fatty acids in fish oil have been proven to lower the duration of morning joint stiffness and the number of swollen or sensitive joints, according to a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. Before making any big dietary changes, it’s usually a good idea to check with your doctor.
Zack Yong is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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