Simple Tips for Increasing Flexibility
One of the hardest parts of working out for many people, especially as age plays a factor, is flexibility. When you’re young, you tend to have flexibility in spades. The older you get, however, the less and less you’re able to stretch and move. Increasing your flexibility can make a big difference in your workout, as well as your life. Check out these tips for increasing the flexibility for a looser and more limber body.
A lot of people will tell you to push further when you are stretching. In reality though, stretching is not about pushing. It’s about allowing. The best stretching comes when you relax and let your body do its own thing. This is why it is very beneficial to take a deep breath and lean into the stretch on the exhale. The exhaled breath allows your muscles to go a little further. The most important thing about stretching? Don’t push past pain. There’s a big difference between feeling tight and feeling pain. If you try to take a stretch further than your body is ready, you’ll only end up with pulled muscles.
Heat allows the muscles and ligaments to go a little further without the pain. Because of this, stretching warm muscles instead of cold muscles will prove more beneficial. To do this, you can try a few different techniques. First, give yourself a quick warm-up before you begin stretching. This could be a quick set of high knees, a brisk walk, or an easy jog. Don’t push too hard before you’ve stretched, but get them warm before you begin the stretching process. You can also do this by physically putting yourself in a warm environment. Go to a really warm room or stretch out in the sun. A great example of this is hot yoga...a stretching process done in a 104 degree room. While you don’t have to take it to this extreme, warming the muscles before stretching will prove more beneficial in the long run.
Most of us participate in static stretching, which is where we sit or stand still and stretch in certain positions. Moving stretching is where you are stretching while moving the body at the same time. An example is the donkey kick, which is where you take an easy jog, kicking the back leg backward with every step. Other good examples of moving stretching can be found through a quick internet search.
Stretch Before and After
Many people believe that you are only supposed to stretch before or after your workout, but the most beneficial for your body is to do both. Get in a pre-workout stretch to get warm before the workout, and follow your workout up with a post workout routine in order to cool down. While this may seem excessive, you’ll quickly see the results of your double efforts.
Gaining flexibility is hard, but you’ll be glad you spent the time improving your range of motion. Greater flexibility is not only beneficial for workouts, but also for everyday life. Use these tips to get more limber, stronger, and healthier overall.