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5 Best Workouts to Make You More Flexible
Limiting our physical activity or sitting in one place for a long time can decrease the flexibility of our muscles. Furthermore, as we age, our muscles gradually begin to lose some elasticity and the range of motion in our hips, shoulders and spine begins to decrease. If bending over to touch the toes seems like a difficult task for you, it's time to think about increasing your flexibility.
Additionally, flexibility is required to release muscle tension and soreness and to allow relaxation. If your muscles are inelastic, performing everyday activities may also become challenging. You can increase your overall flexibility by incorporating a combination of exercises which are easy to perform and can be done at your convenient place. If you already have an exercise routine, just allot five minutes every day for these exercises in your workout regime and you can improve your flexibility and mobility.
Ways to Improve Flexibility
A combination of breath work, static stretching and dynamic stretching can help to enhance your flexibility significantly. Here are some ways by which you can improve your flexibility.
Proper breathing is extremely important for all exercises. You can include some breathing exercises like diaphragmatic breathing, seated inhale and exhale, seated side-to-side stretch, cat-cow pose and lying twist to improve the flexibility of your muscles.
Yoga can reduce stress and allow you to focus on breathing and bodily postures. It leaves you feeling stronger and mentally focused along with augmenting your balance and flexibility. Doing some basic yoga poses once or twice per week can help stretch your muscles as they can become tense with your everyday lifestyle. You can join a yoga class in person or virtually and take regular yoga classes to improve your flexibility.
One of the important ways to increase flexibility is static stretching. Here you come into a stretch and hold the position without any movement for a certain time. Static stretching exercises can make a noteworthy difference in how your body feels. You can include static stretching exercises like forward fold, seated torso stretch, figure-four, kneeling hip flexor stretch, neck rotation and chest stretch to enhance flexibility.
Similarly, you can incorporate dynamic stretching to put your muscles and joints through a full range of motion. These stretching exercises can be a perfect warm-up before engaging in other activities. Some dynamic stretching exercises like front swings, side swings, lunges, arm circles and high knees can help you increase flexibility.
4. Stretch Bands
Stretch bands or resistance bands can stimulate some of the dormant muscles in your body and increase your mobility. These bands help to engage your muscle groups to create tension and the more you can stretch the band, the greater resistance is placed on your muscles. Stretch bands can be used in exercises like leg extension, wide leg stretch and for upper body extension.
5. Foam Rollers
Foam rollers can help to remove lactic acid from the muscles and help them to recover from a workout. You can use a foam roller to knead or roll out your muscles by using your body weight to relieve tension. This self-massage technique can relieve muscle tightness, soreness and inflammation. You can place the roller beneath the targeted area like hips, calf, back, hamstrings or quadriceps and move the roller with the help of your body. This will gently massage the muscles and make them flexible.
Best Exercises to Improve Flexibility
Flexibility is not just for athletes, but for everyone. It can help you to decrease the risk of injuries, increase blood supply and nutrient flow to joints and reduce muscular tension. These five easy-to-do exercises can make you feel more flexible.
This yoga exercise stretches your spine and core and opens your chest. It engages and strengthens your core and back muscles and improves their flexibility.
Begin on all fours with your wrists placed directly on the ground under the shoulders. Your knees should be directly placed under your hips. Imagine how a cat stands and position yourself accordingly.
Now, inhale and arc your back and turn your face towards the sky. Allow your stomach to drop in the direction of the ground.
Now, exhale and round your back and allow your head to drop and feel the stretch.
Turn your face towards the sky and allow your stomach to drop in the direction of the ground.
You may experience a tight chest if you are sitting in one place for a long time. The shoulders naturally round forward and affect your chest. This exercise will give a nice opening stretch to your chest and help you to maintain an erect posture.
Begin by standing with your feet joined together.
Now, clasp your hands with arms extended and the arms should be behind your back.
Start to raise your arms and bend forward at your waist. Feel the stretch in your chest.
This exercise will help you loosen up your hips after sitting in one place for a long time.
Stand next to a wall or any other stable surface like a chair or table.
Stretch out your hand to reach out for balance. This will support your body while performing the exercise.
Now, start to gently swing your outside leg front and back. Aim to swing your leg as high as it can go.
Repeat the same for the other leg.
You can also include side swings wherein you can swing your right leg out to the side and back in and do the same with your left leg. This side swing exercise can also help to loosen up your hips.
This exercise can loosen up your shoulders and upper back. You can either go both ways with the circles or one way as per your suitability. Alternatively, you may begin by doing it one way and gradually as your body is accustomed to the workout; proceed towards doing arm circles in both ways.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be at your sides positioned downward.
Start to lift your straight arms in front of you and take them behind your head. Aim to draw a circle with your fingertips.
Always keep your arms straight and stick them close to your ears.
Oppositely repeat the same.
You should not neglect your head and neck area as prolonged unnatural positioning can make you feel sore and out of alignment. Stretching with the help of neck rotation can help to relieve discomfort in the head and neck area.
Sit or stand in a comfortable position and place your right hand on the top left side of your head.
Now, tilt your head to the right and permit your left hand to deepen the stretch. You will feel the stretch along your neck's left side.
Repeat the similar action on the other side.
If you feel pain or discomfort while doing any of the exercises, stop immediately as you could risk a muscle strain or tear. Consistent practice can help you perform these exercises with ease and become flexible. Incorporating these flexibility exercises for just 30 minutes a week (5 minutes daily) can increase your flexibility and mobility significantly.
Generally, these exercises are safe to perform, but if you have any health condition or have recovered from an injury, consult your healthcare provider before doing these exercises.
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