This is an important topic as many people are seeking various methods to increase the flexibility of their body. As we age, our body construct will start losing its flexibility. So it is very important to keep our body in continuous movement.
So first let us look at what is flexibility
Flexibility is the ability of your muscles and other connective tissues to stretch temporarily. Mobility is the ability of your joints to move freely through a range of motion in a pain-free way. Part of good mobility is good flexibility. But being flexible doesn’t mean your mobility is up to par, and vice versa.
So Why is flexibility important ?
At its core, flexibility is important for everyday life.
Think about bending over to pick up the laundry or reaching for something high on a shelf. If your muscles are inelastic, tasks like these will be much more complicated.
Flexibility is also needed to release muscle tension and soreness as well as to promote relaxation. It’s hard to get comfortable if your body constantly aches!
It can also improve muscular strength, and endurance, allowing muscles to complete the full range of motion (mobility) for maximum effect.
Once you have decided to improve your body flexibility, it is important to follow a routine which keep you motivated to achieve your goal. Do not deviate from it.
So let us now look at how to maximize your training process ?
To get the most out of your flexibility training, keep these factors in mind:
- Aim for 3 days a week of flexibility training to start. A 10- to 15-minute session that combines breath work, static stretching, and dynamic stretching will be efficient and manageable.
- Hold or perform each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Relax and repeat.
- Perform dynamic stretches before strength training and cool down with static stretches after. Static stretching is typically safer and more effective when performed on warm muscles.
Proper breathing is an important part of all exercise, especially stretching.
The foundation of breath work — diaphragmatic breathing — is intended to teach you how to breathe more effectively and with less energy.
It also engages and strengthens your diaphragm and core muscles. If your diaphragm and core aren’t strong, stretching and strength training will be more difficult.
Mastering diaphragmatic breath is a great first step to getting in tune with your body and increasing your flexibility.
- Stand or sit in a chair. Place your hands on either side of your rib cage.
- Inhale through your nose, filling your lungs with air and feeling your rib cage expand.
- Begin to exhale through your mouth, engaging your core and pelvic floor muscles as you push the air out.
Seated Inhale & Exhale
Build on diaphragmatic breath by adding movement with your arms.
- Sit cross-legged with your arms down at your side.
- Inhale and bring your arms up overhead.
- Exhale and return your arms back to start.
Seated Side to Side Stretch
Build on diaphragmatic breath again and start to stretch your torso with a side-to-side stretch.
- Sit cross-legged with your arms down at your side.
- Inhale and bring your right arm up over your head to the left, stretching your right side.
- Exhale and return back to start.
- Inhale and repeat with your left arm.
This yoga move stretches your spine and core and opens your chest.
- Start on all fours with your wrists stacked directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
- Inhale and arch your back, turning your face toward the sky and allowing your stomach to drop toward the ground.
- Exhale and round your back, allowing your head to drop and feeling the stretch. Turn your face toward the sky, allowing your stomach to drop toward the ground.
Focusing on your breath in the lying twist will allow you to sink deeper into the stretch.
- Lie on your back on the ground.
- Bring your arms out to form a T and twist your lower body to the right side, bending your left leg and allowing your left knee to rest on the ground.
- Keeping your shoulders on the floor, turn your head to the left.
- On each exhale, allow your body to relax slightly deeper into the stretch.
Following a strict discipline in executing the above stretches can bring about a tremendous change in your body functioning.
This is part 1 of stretching. Keep reading to get to more stretching….
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