Fitness

Flexibility Exercises: What Are They and How Do They Work?

People either love it or hate it when it comes to flexibility and stretching. The latter is frequently hampered by tension in their body, which prevents them from increasing their stretch.

Tight muscles and joints do not imply flexibility; instead, the body can enhance its total flexibility and range of motion over time to benefit your health.

What does it mean to be flexible?

The ability to move, stretch, and bend one’s body is known as flexibility. According to UC Davis Health, “flexibility is the ability of joints to move through an unrestricted, pain-free range of motion.”

Each person has a unique range of dynamic flexibility, with some having more naturally than others. On the other hand, flexibility exercises should always be included in your program if you want to maintain overall health and fitness.

Lack of physical activity and active stretching causes a loss of normal flexibility, leading to injury and negatively impacting your daily life.

Exercises to Improve Flexibility

What are the many sorts of flexibility exercises, you might wonder? Because there are so many types of flexibility exercises, we will share a few of our favorites with you today.

1. Yoga

Yoga is an excellent approach to increase flexibility. Yoga is an ancient Indian discipline that dates back over 5,000 years. Yoga is both physical and spiritual exercise that uses breath and movement to bring mind, body, and soul together.

Yoga has spread throughout the western world, and there are now many different styles of yoga being performed.

On the other hand, traditional yoga poses all follow specific alignment protocols that allow your body to stretch and deepen into the joints and muscles, increasing flexibility with time.

2. Hamstring Stretch 

The hamstring muscle, especially if you’re a runner, is one of the tightest muscles in the body. Stretching the hamstrings before or after exercise is an excellent method to warm up or cool down the body.

Lift one foot and straighten it towards the sky while lying on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the ground.

Reach for the bottom of your foot with your hands or a strap for support, and gradually lift it towards your face and the floor beneath you.

A slight stretch should be felt towards the back of your leg. Maintain a tiny bend in your knee to avoid hyperextension; if you feel a stretch at the back of your knee, bend it further. To stretch both hamstrings, switch to the other leg.

3. Supine Twist

A supine twist is a great yoga posture stretching the back, hips, ribs, and glute muscles.

Begin by resting completely flat on your back. Pull your right knee up to your right armpit, gripping it with your hands against your ribs.

Begin sweeping your right knee across your body to rest on the ground to your left, rotate your hips on the ground so that you’re laying on your left side hip, keeping both shoulder blades grounded on the floor underneath you.

Even if your right knee doesn’t entirely drop on the floor, keep both shoulder blades on the ground. Extend your right arm to the right and turn your neck to look at the tip of your right middle finger. Sustain this pose for as long as you want, but at least one minute is recommended.

Close your eyes deep breathe to execute this exercise for added relaxation. Allow gravity to perform the majority of the work.

When you’re done, end the posture in the same manner you started it, and then repeat these steps to stretch the left side.

4. Butterfly

Begin by sitting on the floor in a seated position. Bend your knees till the bottoms of your feet are in contact. As much as you can, pull your feet in towards your center.

Fill your abdomen with air on your next breath, challenging your spine. Round your back and lean your upper body towards your feet and the ground as you exhale.

A stretch should be felt in your groin, as well as in your spine and neck. Sustain this pose for as long as you can, but at least one minute is recommended.

If this stretch is too uncomfortable for you, brace your knees with blocks or pillows. Your hips will get more flexible over time, allowing your knees to fall closer to the floor.

5. Cat/Cow

Starting in a tabletop position, stack your knees under your hips and your wrists under your shoulders. Drop your belly to the ground while inhaling, flip your tailbone up towards the sky, and lift your gaze to the sky.

Exhale and round your back, rising the back of your chest to the heavens, tucking your tailbone in, and lowering your chin to your chest.

Continue this breathing cycle for as long as it feels pleasant to you, at least a minute. This exercise stretches your back and neck while waking up your spine.

6. Rolls on the shoulders

Be sure your spine is straight if you’re starting from a standing or seated position. You’ll begin by rotating your shoulders forward and rounding them in a circle, which is a pretty self-explanatory stretch.

Then reverse the roll, starting with your shoulders rolling backward circularly. Concentrate on isolating the movement to your shoulders only.

7. Stretch your neck

Start with a criss-cross sitting position and a straight spine. Let one hand on the floor and stretch over to the opposite side of your head.

Pull your head gently to the side of the arm that is dragging you, keeping your eyes straight ahead. A slight tug should be felt in your neck, stretching it slightly.

Hold this position for up to one minute, and then slowly and gently release the stretch. For balance, switch arms to start the stretch on the opposite side.

We propose that you include flexibility training in your fitness program. Stretching is an excellent technique to warm up your body before an exercise and to assist your body cool down after rigorous activity.

Stretching first thing in the morning is also a terrific opportunity to connect with your body and the present moment while getting your day started.

While flexibility and strength exercises may be done almost anywhere, having a defined training site can help people get into and commit to their routine.

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