Once you know more about its benefits, being flexible would be quite alluring. By staying nimble, you can offset any age-related stiffness, optimized functional movement and improve athletic performance. If you can maintain a proper range of motion, you will be able to prevent injuries. It is highly recommended to do stretching for each of the major muscle group, at least two days each week. Here are things you should do to increase the flexibility of your body:
- Make a serious plan for flexibility training: Your flexibility training shouldn’t just be brief and simple stretching. It’s true that having a couple of quick stretches before and after an exercise session is better than nothing, but you will get limited results from it. You may start with generic stretches and then go beyond that. You need to give more attention and time on flexibility training. Physical therapists, qualified personal trainers and other health professionals can design an effective flexibility program.
- Consider your daily activities: You may play tennis, ski or golf regularly. Your regular activities determine what kind of flexibility training that you should have. There are also activities that can ruin your flexibility, such as sitting, lifting and bending for a long period of time. Any functional flexibility training should be aimed to improve mobility and stability. Stability is the ability to keep having an ideal body alignment, regardless of your activities. Mobility is the ability to consistently use normal and full range of motion.
- Focus on tight areas: If you want to be flexible, you should pay attention to any tight area. Your hips, hamstrings, chest and shoulder can be especially tight. Depending on your posture and regular movement, you can maintain tension in a specific area. In some cases, you may overstretch your muscle and completely miss specific muscles that require proper training.
- Listen intently to your body: Your body will send specific messages that you need to understand. Slight discomfort and tightness are early signs that you have poor posture. You should avoid having jerking and bouncing movements, when you want to gain momentum. This is a quite risky approach. It’s better to stretch muscles slowly and hold the stretch for about 10 seconds. People with past injuries, pregnant women and elderly should take precaution.
- Be creative: You may discover new ways that can make your body more flexible. As an example, you can use resistance balls, towels and various accessories to add some diversity to stretching and flexibility training program.
- Warm up properly: Before doing physical exercise, you should warm up first. If you have intense activity with cold muscles, injuries could happen. A simple warm up activity may include walking briskly for about 10 minutes.
- Stretch your mind: If you want to stretch your body, you need to stretch your mind as well. Check your emotional state to know whether it allows for a flexible and relaxed body. Before a flexibility training, you should listen to music that you consider relaxing and enjoyable. Focus on your breath and make sure that you are feeling comfortable.