HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FLEXIBILITY: WHERE TO BEGIN - Deepstash

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FLEXIBILITY: WHERE TO BEGIN

Popular activities to improve your flexibility include stretching, yoga and Pilates. These can all be practiced at home, but most practitioners will recommend that you attend at least one taught class to make sure you are using the correct form. This will help you avoid injury.

If you have a chronic condition or injury, you might need to adjust your exercise routine. Talk to your doctor about the most appropriate way to exercise if you have any health concerns.

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If the idea of touching your toes feels impossible, you may be wondering how to improve your flexibility. Being flexible and having a good range of motion is important, yet an often overlooked element of fitness.

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HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FLEXIBILITY: STRETCHING

There are two main types of stretches: static stretches and dynamic (movement-based) stretches.

  • Static stretches are those where you stand, sit or lie still and hold a single position for a short period of time. Many people use static stretches as a "cool-down" after working out
  • Dynamic stretches are controlled movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues for activity. Dynamic stretching helps to raise your body temperature, improve joint flexibility and increase muscle elasticity, preparing the body for the activity to come," he said.

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HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FLEXIBILITY: PILATES

Pilates is a series of repetitive, low-impact exercises, commonly performed on a mat to promote flexibility, stability, and strength. It's suitable for all ages and fitness levels and there are moves to help to improve flexibility from head to toe. 

If three hours of Pilates a week sounds daunting, don't worry. Pilates expert Beverley Densham told that six minutes of Pilates every morning before breakfast can be beneficial, once you have worked with an instructor to ensure you are doing the moves correctly.

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Wondering how to improve your flexibility? Here’s what you need to know.

Flexibility training can allow greater freedom of movement and improved posture, increase physical and mental relaxation, help to release muscle tension, and reduce the risk of injury.

There are many ways to improve flexibility, from stretches you can do at home, to more structured workouts such as a yoga or Pilates class.  All you need to get started is a yoga mat, an open mind and realistic expectations. You might not be able to touch your nose to your toes within a week, but with regular practice, you should be able to see an improvement in your flexibility.

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HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR FLEXIBILITY: YOGA

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that aims to improve strength and flexibility through a series of moves that typically involve physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques and meditation. Doing yoga regularly is a great way to improve your flexibility.

Results of a randomized control trial, published in The Journals of Gerontology showed that an eight-week course of Hatha yoga was just as effective as conventional stretching and strengthening exercises in improving flexibility in middle-age and older adults.

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There is no direct correlation between diet and improved flexibility, but certain foods may aid recovery after exercise and help you to avoid stiffness which can affect flexibility.

Research in the Journal of Biomedicines suggests that people who follow a Mediterranean diet with a high intake of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and healthy oils may have a reduced risk for inflammation and chronic disease. In addition, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids found in some foods appear to possess anti-inflammatory effects.

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Five Ways To Improve Flexibility:

  • Practice Yoga, Pilates, tai chi and stretching.
  • Get good quality protein post your exercise routine, combining it with Vitamin C to aid recovery.
  • Hold your stretches of a longer period, like 30 seconds if you can.
  • Practice daily, as an increased range of motion reduces the risk of injury.
  • Take a warm bath to relax your muscles.

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More than 20 million Americans...

...practice yoga, making it one of the most popular forms of exercise.

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Flexibility Exercises Aren't Enough

Just being flexible isn't providing us with the necessary level of fitness, and the role of stretching exercises prescribed at the gym is now being debated.

Being flexible isn't making us age better, or be injury-free and is not improving our sports performance in any activity which does not require a wide range of motion.

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