You eat the right foods, drink the right drinks, and exercise regularly. In other words, you’re strong and healthy. There is only one hole in your overall good health. You’re as flexible as a piece of plywood. But there’s good news! You don’t have to stay inflexible your entire life. With the right steps, you can improve your flexibility, which will make life that much better. And here are the four top ways you can get started on building a more flexible you: Roll Before For many years, it was common practice to stretch before working out. In recent years, folks have ditched that advice for something better: lightly performing whatever you plan to do. Going to run? Walk and then jog before getting into a run. For those who want to take their routines to the stretchy limit, it’s time to use a foam roller. With a foam roller, you work to gently stretch your muscles before working them out, and better yet, you stretch them out safely. Essentially a massage for your muscles, foam rolling helps your muscles relax and stretch. This, in turn, allows your entire muscle to be worked out in the gym afterward and prevents an already tight muscle from growing tighter through your exercise routine. Once you knock out a little foam rolling, the time is right for a round of body-weight exercises or light activity before going full force. Go All the Way Don’t forget that you can help your flexibility by performing every exercise through its entire range of motion. Initially, you may have a harder time squatting your full range of motion, but starting slow and sticking with it, you will eventually work your muscles completely which will lead to their being more flexible. To get to where you can squat or perform other exercises as deep as your body allows, you will probably want to reduce the amount of weight you use. As your body grows accustomed to going through a fuller range of motion, you can increase the weight and enjoy improved flexibility. Stretch Afterwards Your routine winds down, and your muscles feel tight and want to stay that way. Folks who are new to working out often enjoy the feeling. It lets them know their body has worked hard, and so they allow the tightness to remain as they leave the gym and return to their daily routines. However, this is when your stretches become most important. By taking 10 minutes to slowly stretch, you can take a huge step toward your overall flexibility. A good post-workout stretch will focus on the areas worked during your routine, but will provide a little stretching for the entire body. You can also finish your stretching with more foam rolling if you have time, as this will help further your flexibility goals. Take It Slow When stretching for increased flexibility, you may be tempted to push it as far as you can.
Instead, you should relax and take the slow and easy-going path to flexibility. Going too far too fast will actually have the opposite result that you want, as your body will have to repair itself from small injuries that occur from stretching and won’t want to stretch further in the future. Instead, take your time and allow your body to ease into stretches. Feel an uncomfortable burning sensation that actually hurts? That is not your body’s way of thanking you! Back off and stretch to the point of slight discomfort.
Practice Patience Accept that you can’t increase your flexibility overnight. If you’ve managed to maintain flexibility as you age, you’ve already made improvements. And you will never make better headway by forcing your muscles into flexible submission. If you need some help, call or email me today for a consultation or to get started on a challenging and consistent exercise plan to increase flexibility as well as reduce your body fat and increase your energy levels, too!