How Flexible Will You Be This Year?
By Sara Butler
To make it through life, you have to learn to be flexible. Literally.
If you’re looking to improve your health and wellness this year, then one of the best things you can do is work on your flexibility. Stretching your body to become more flexible and supple offers a lot of benefits to your health, especially as you get older.
But if you’ve not been able to touch your toes for a while now, you may not be sure where to start. That’s understandable! Here are a few things you can do to help you become more flexible physically -- but when it comes to your attitude, you’re on your own!
The Benefits of Flexibility
There are many reasons why you should strive to be more flexible. For starters, you’ll experience fewer injuries as a result. When you’re flexible, you’ll be able to better withstand the physical stress you put your body through each day. And with the help of your chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic, you can tackle muscle imbalances that can reduce your chances of getting injured.
Flexibility also helps to alleviate pain. Opening up your muscles and allowing them to go through their full range of motion means fewer aches and pains -- and fewer muscle cramps too.
Finally, better flexibility can help improve your balance and your posture -- something that will make your grandmother really proud the next time you have family dinner!
How to Become More Flexible
To help increase your flexibility, you need to work on three things:
- Dynamic stretching
- Static stretching
The key is to develop a daily stretching routine that works for you. Even devoting just 10 minutes to these things every evening before bed can make a big difference. If you can’t do it every day, then aim for at least three days per week and hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds when you go through your motions.
Work on Your Breathing
Every type of exercise requires proper breathing, including stretching. When you work on your breathing, you’re teaching yourself to breathe more effectively and also strengthening your core muscles and diaphragm.
Breathing exercises are not that difficult to do. All you need is your lungs and a few extra minutes to go through this breathing routine:
- Sit or stand, whichever is more comfortable, and put your hands on the sides of your ribcage
- Take a breath in through your nose and fill your lungs as you feel your ribcage expand
- Exhale through your mouth as you engage your core muscles to push out the air
Dynamic stretching is stretching that involves movement. Instead of holding a position to stretch your muscles, you simply take your joints through their full range of motion to stretch. This is a good warm-up for other activities or something you can incorporate into your stretching routine.
You can perform a sequence of dynamic stretches, making sure to do each for at least 30 seconds:
Static stretches are also a great way to improve your flexibility. These are done without movement, but are instead simply holding a position for about 15 to 30 seconds to stretch the muscle that’s being targeted.
You should do dynamic stretching before you do static stretching to warm up your muscles. Also, make sure to not bounce in an attempt to stretch deeper, but instead hold the tension for several seconds, then relax the muscle and repeat. And don’t forget to breathe!
Try these static stretches:
Getting healthy takes commitment, but you don’t have to train for a marathon to improve your health. In fact, doing something as simple as working on your flexibility just a few minutes per day can have a huge impact, so why not give it a try?
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.