Why You Should Focus on Flexibility
By Sara Butler
A lot of things in life are about flexibility. You’re expected to be flexible mentally when you’re at work or at home because, well, anything can happen. But there’s also a type of flexibility that has a huge impact on your overall health and wellness that is often overlooked: physical flexibility.
There are several benefits to your health from staying physically flexible and the ability to effectively bend, twist, arch, and stretch. Here are a few of those benefits as well as some solid advice from the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic on how to become, and stay, flexible.
The Benefits of Flexibility
There are several physical benefits that can have a positive impact on your overall wellness if you work to improve your flexibility. They include:
- Reduced chance of injury - When your body is strong and flexible, you’re simply able to avoid more injuries. Plus, addressing muscle imbalance through a combination of regular chiropractic care and flexibility exercises can help your body to be more resilient.
- Reduced pain - If you work to increase your flexibility, then you’ll feel better too. Loose muscles that aren’t holding onto a lot of tension will experience fewer painful issues such as muscle cramps and normal aches and pains.
- Improved balance and posture - A byproduct of focusing on flexibility is improved posture. Correcting muscle imbalances through strengthening and lengthening the muscles helps to increase your range of motion, making it easier to stand and sit in a way that utilizes proper posture.
How to Become More Flexible
There are several ways to become more flexible. The first step is creating flexibility goals for yourself. You may never be able to channel your inner Olympic gymnast, but you can create specific, measurable goals for yourself.
After you create your flexibility goals, you can work on your flexibility with a few of these exercises that you should aim to do most days of the week for up to 20 minutes at a time:
- Standing hamstring stretch - This is done by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, your arms down by your sides, and your knees relaxed and slightly bent. Slowly bend forward at your hips as you lower your head toward the floor, making sure your neck, head, and shoulders stay relaxed.
- Gently grab the back of your legs with your hands and hold for up to two minutes, rolling up when you’re through.
- Triceps stretch - Sit, stand, or kneel with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended up over your head. Bend one of your arms at the elbow, reaching the hand of that arm toward the middle of your back. Reach with the opposite hand and grasp the elbow of the bent arm, gently pulling the elbow down toward your head. Switch arms and repeat.
- Frog stretch - Tackle tight hips by getting down on all fours. Slide your knees wider than your hips and turn your toes out so that the inner edge of your feet is flat on the floor. Shift your hips back and forth toward your feet. If you want to get a deeper stretch, move your hands to your forearms. Hold for up to two minutes.
- Butterfly stretch - Sit on the floor with your back straight and the soles of your feet together. Your knees should fall out to the sides. Hold your feet or ankles and slowly lower your torso toward the floor as far as you can as you press your knees down. If you cannot bend because your muscles feel too tight, then simply press your knees down toward the floor. Hold for up to two minutes.
These exercises are a great place to start working on your flexibility. Try to make them a part of your daily routine, doing them in the morning or before you go to bed at night. If you need more challenging stretches or want to target different areas of your body, then talk to the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic for more ideas to help you increase your flexibility.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.