Your body can do amazing things, but only if you use it properly. A lack of flexibility is one of the most common complaints that impedes movements for people. So how do you improve flexibility? The trouble is, it is not something that will change on its own. You need to take action to achieve improve your flexibility.
Below we cover why physical flexibility is important and what you can do to improve it.
Flexibility is a key component of fitness
First it is worth mentioning that of the five key components to fitness, flexibility is arguably the most important. Strength and endurance are the “glory components”. However, if you’re stiff and have a limited range of motion, it can really impede what you can do. There is a reason why its often one of the first items to focus on when we talk about top tips to stay fit.
A lack of flexibility can also leave you more prone to injuries. For all-round health as well as for physical fitness, it is sensible to develop it as much as possible. The good news is that it doesn’t require a bunch of grunting, sweating, and pain to improve it. You can improve your flexibility through light stretching, simple exercises, and even massage! Sounds great right? Here are 6 ways to improve your flexibility.
Warming up with dynamic exercises is best
In the past, experts have recommended static stretches as the most suitable form of warm-up. However, years of research have revealed that it is better to integrate dynamic exercises into your warm-up. By integrating dynamic exercises into this part of your routine, you make the most of your innate flexibility.
There are all sorts of dynamic moves that will stretch out your body and leave it feeling limber. These include push-ups, body-weight squats and lunges. A few sets of these moves made up of 10 – 15 reps will set you on the right path.
Drinking liquids lets your muscles work properly
Most people know that muscles require calories to burn in order to function. However, muscles also require a combination of water and electrolytes to perform optimally. This means hydration should be a priority for everyone. This is important whether you are working out or walking to the office in the morning.
Drinking plenty of water is one way to go about this. Sports drinks can also provide you with necessary electrolytes if you are exercising intensely. There are numerous drinks which have been formulated to give your muscles the right balance of electrolytes. Just make sure to find one relatively low in sugar. Hydration is the primary goal here.
Choosing workouts which focus on flexibility delivers results
Some workouts are better for building physical flexibility than others. The frontrunners in this category will not surprise anyone who already participates in them.
At the top of the list are yoga and pilates, both of which are essentially built around the art of stretching your muscles while also strengthening them. Taking classes from a professional coach, or even just using instructional videos at home, can increase your flexibility with impressive effectiveness.
Massage makes a difference
Everyone agrees that massages are very satisfying and relaxing. However, did you know that they can also be incorporated as part of your efforts to increase your physical flexibility? Awesome, huh!
It makes sense to pay a professional masseuse to take care of your muscles with this goal in mind. It is even advisable to book a message session to coincide with the time shortly after a serious workout.
This will not only make you more flexible, but will also alleviate a lot of the aches and pains. These aches are inevitable when you have been pushing your body hard and a massage can really help ease them.
Stick to a schedule to see benefits over time
None of the above tips will be able to alter your body overnight. You need to be committed to a fitness regimen that integrates flexibility-boosting workouts and practices. You need to do your best to follow it and expect it will take some time. The journey will be enjoyable though and have you feeling healthier early on in that journey.
As with any fitness goal, you need to be patient. Set realistic expectations and also appreciate that you will gradually become more limber. Ensure that you continue to progress by adhering to the plans you set for yourself.
As soon as you stop taking flexibility seriously in your routine, it will start to decline. It is easier to maintain a level of flexibility by always placing some focus on it. Don’t work to improve your flexibility and then stop focusing on it completely. You will have to rebuild all of your progress. This rebuilding will be easier than the first time around. However, it will be harder than just trying to maintain all your progress with some periodic flexibility focus.
Measuring flexibility is a little trickier than other fitness metrics like weight. There are also flexibility tests that you can do with your trainer to measure and track your progress. You should also feel the difference in your everyday movement. As flexibility increases, you will feel healthier, more mobile, and your muscles will feel fresher.
Stress is to be avoided
Last of all, it is a good move to make your life as stress-free as possible. Stress reduction has numerous benefits to your mental health. In addition, it will also improve your physical health by easing tension from your muscles and making you more flexible.
So as you can see, a body which is the epitome of flexibility is within your reach. All it takes is a willingness to stretch out and grab it.