When you’re working out at the gym or attending a yoga class, you’ll probably notice people who seem to have natural flexibility that you feel you could never hope to achieve. But the truth is that you don’t have to be born with elastic limbs – you can also train your body to be more flexible, It just takes time and effort.
Developing more flexibility is essential as you get older and your joint mobility becomes more limited. It will allow you not just to train and exercise more rigorously, but also to carry out everyday activities without issue.
If you’re wondering how to become more flexible, keep reading. With a little practice, these helpful tips will have you bending and lunging with ease in no time!
Do Casual Stretching Once A Day
Even if it’s just a few minutes at a time, a brief session of stretching per day will add up over time and contribute greatly to your overall flexibility. You should develop a routine of atleast six simple stretches that take between 5 to 15 minutes to complete, depending on your lifestyle. You can carry out these stretches in your bedroom before sleeping or upon waking up, while you wait for your coffee to brew, on your lunch break, etc.
Sit On The Floor More
Yes, something as simple as sitting on the floor can get your joints and muscles flexing. Floor-sitting requires a wider range of motion than sitting on furniture, so it will stretch out your hips, knees, ankles, and back.
You can sit cross-legged, with your legs straight, out, or even kneel for about 15 minutes at a time per day. What’s great about this is that you can do it while doing the most basic of tasks, whether it’s watching TV, reading a book, or taking a phone call.
Add Flexibility Exercises To Your Workout
If you already have a regular exercise routine, whether at home or at a gym, this will make improving your flexibility easier. Make some space in your routine for flexibility exercises that focus on holding positions that strengthen and lengthen your muscles and joints for an extended period, which will improve your range of motion.
Consider joining a weekly yoga or tai-chi class for guided flexibility exercises, or finding online guides for workouts at home.
Incorporate Static Stretching
Sometimes things are “classic” for a reason. Static stretching is a common type of stretching that involves moving your joints through to the extent of their range of motion and then holding them in that position for an extended period of time, anywhere between 10 to 60 seconds.
It may seem obvious but it is still a tried and true way of improving flexibility in different areas of the body. Static stretching should ideally be done after an exercise session, or in between more fluid stretches.
Move Through A Range Of Positions
Static stretching isn’t the only kind of stretching you should practice in everyday life. Dynamic stretching can also contribute to improved flexibility over time. Dynamic stretching involves moving your joints through their full range of motion and back, instead of holding them in an extended position a la static stretching.
Not only will it help to build up flexibility, but it also increases blood flow in the muscles and connective tissue, and can improve performance when done before a workout. Dynamic stretches can include leg swings, hip circles, and walking lunges.
Try Foam Rolling Before Stretches
Foam rolling is an easy way of practicing myofascial release at home – all you need is a foam roller. Myofascial release involves moving back and forth on a foam roller in order to put pressure on the connective tissues of targeted muscles. This will help the muscles to loosen and relax.
One 2015 study showed that when foam rolling immediately prior to a set of static stretching, flexibility will be improved far more and more quickly than when either exercise is done alone.
Use A Resistance Band
If you’re a little older or you just don’t exercise as much as you’d like to, falling into those deep stretches that really help improve flexibility can be difficult. If you’re having trouble, a resistance band could be the perfect thing to help.
Hamstring stretches, inner thigh stretches, upper back stretches – all of these stretches and more can be made more effective with a resistance band. But if you haven’t used one before make sure to move slowly and maintain tension to avoid any jerky movements that could overstretch your muscles or cause minor injury.
If It’s Painful, Stop
It’s important to listen to your body while stretching or practicing flexibility exercises. Pushing yourself too far can put you at risk of injury, which will only make it more difficult to improve flexibility in the long run. If you’re feeling pain or cramping in your joints and muscles, stop stretching and move on to something else.
Reach Out For Professional Help (If Necessary)
When you’re prioritizing how to increase flexibility, sometimes exercising solo just isn’t enough. Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help, whether via a personal trainer or physical therapist. This way you will be given a customized set of exercises that will help you streamline your progress and achieve your flexibility goals much faster in the long run.
If you are trying to restore your flexibility or range of motion after an injury, our team at Kellie K Middleton MD might be able to help. We specialize in mobility restoration and injury treatment in Atlanta, GA. Get in touch with us via email or give us a call at +770-509-4030.