Can you run for 45 minutes but cannot touch your toes? Do you often sprain and strain your muscles and ligaments? You aren’t the only one. Many of us can go through our complete workout where we push our muscles to their limit without stretching. Stretching increases flexibility and lengthens out the muscles.
Some of the best ways to improve your flexibility are:
– Stretching routines
Irrespective of whether you are a runner or a dancer, stretching is crucial to increase your flexibility. To explain it better, flexibility is the measure of the range of motion at any joint as well as the ability to move the joint through a complete range of motion. In fact, to put it in simple words, flexibility improves your range of motion and hence reduces risk of injury.
7 Rules To Improve Your Flexibility
Here are the rules for improving your flexibility and get more out of your fitness regime:
Rule#1: Perform a dynamic warm-up before any workout
Dynamic stretching means putting your body through a range of dynamic movements like lunges and squats that lengthen the muscles and prepares them for hard training.
The aim is to get all major muscles to contract and relax so that they become less susceptible to injury during the workout. This is a MUST before any cardio or strength training routine. Perform lunges, squats, push-ups, jumping jacks and side lunges for about 20 reps each to warm up your entire body.
Rule#2: Finish every workout with a static stretching ritual
While dynamic stretching is an active stretching session, static stretching is a passive stretching session. The idea is to stretch all joints to increase range of motion and get all muscles to relax.
Perform the more traditional stretching routine post a workout to lengthen muscles that may have tightened up during your exercise session. Forward bend, side bend, backward bend, and hip rotations are just a few examples of static stretching.
Here is a classic example of the difference between Dynamic and Static stretching, and how it affects joints and muscles differently:
Rule#3: Increase range of motion
It’s very important to increase your range of motion during your workout to improve your flexibility. Make sure that you add ‘depth’ to all your lifts even if that means lifting a lighter weight.
Simple idea is to work at full range of motion with a lighter weight, especially with new moves, and then increase weight as your flexibility improves.
Rule#4: Get massages
While stretching before and after a workout and increasing your range of motion will immensely help your flexibility, massages provide extra benefits.
Knots in the tissue and muscles can restrict your movement and a deep massage can bring extra relief.
Rule#5: Make time to relax
A hectic day at work, household chores and an extensive workout routine can build up stress over a period of time. Make sure that take one day a week off to unwind.
Try some yoga or go for a relaxing walk instead. De-stressing can relax the body and all muscles. A relaxing bath will also soothe sore muscles, helping your flexibility in the long run.
Rule#6: Begin the day with breathing exercises
Make sure that you learn how to breathe correctly. Instead of breathing with your chest, breathe with your belly to engage the diaphragm.
You must perform deep breathing exercises every morning for 5 minutes to start your day on the right note – relaxed and stress-free. This helps to improve your posture as well as flexibility.
Rule#7: Stay Hydrated
Water is essential for the optimal functioning of muscles. Drink 8-10 glasses of water, especially before and after a workout.
Try This Stretching Routine
Stretching makes your muscles more pliable and hence flexible. Before you begin any workout, perform stretching exercises that specifically target:
– Hip Flexors
Are you flexible? Do you stretch before and after every workout? Would you like to share your secret mantra for increased flexibility with other readers?