Flexibility exercises is a crucial component of fitness and plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. It’s a part of your fitness routine that’s easy to overlook or skip, especially post-workout. But stretches for flexibility should definitely be a part of your fitness activities.
We’ve broken down the key benefits of flexibility training below. Keep reading for some simple yet effective exercises you can add to your stretching routine.
The Benefits of Stretching
Before we get into types of exercises to try, let’s establish the advantages of improved flexibility:
Flexible muscles and joints are less susceptible to strains, sprains, and other injuries. By increasing your range of motion, you reduce the likelihood of overstretching or tearing a muscle in the future.
Athletes in various sports, such as gymnastics, dance, and martial arts, rely on flexibility to perform at their best. Improved flexibility helps you excel in your chosen activity by allowing for greater agility and precision of movement.
Did you know flexibility training can improve your posture? By addressing muscle imbalances, stretching corrects poor posture and alleviates back and neck pain.
Stretching is just as good for the mind as it is your body. Static stretching activates your parasympathetic nervous system. When this system is activated, it can result in a feeling of calmness. This makes flexibility training a great tool for stress relief and improving mental health.
Maintaining flexibility as you grow older significantly impacts your ability to perform daily activities independently. Through regularly practicing mobility stretches, you’ll retain your range of motion and maintain an active lifestyle throughout life.
Simple Flexibility Exercises
Now, let’s explore simple fitness techniques that will help you improve your flexibility. If you’re new to stretching, remember to go easy on your body.
If you only think you can handle holding a pose for a certain amount of time, don’t push your luck. For a full body stretch routine, we recommend doing at least one set of stretches for each muscle type in your body. With that aside, let’s get into some stretches!
These are inner thigh stretches that both work your thigh muscles and relieve any discomfort you might be experiencing in that area. The inner thigh is a common source of pain for seasoned athletes, so knowing how to practice a butterfly stretch may come in handy.
- Sit on the floor with your back straight.
- Push the soles of your feet together, letting your legs fall to the side
- Next, put your hands over your feet, elbows on your knees, and bend forward.
- Once you begin feeling pressure in your groin area, hold the position for 60 seconds.
- Repeat 3-4 times.
The hamstring stretch targets the muscles at the back of your thighs, promoting greater flexibility in your legs and lower back.
- Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight.
- Slowly lean forward from your hips, reaching your hands toward your toes.
- Keep your back straight, and avoid rounding your spine.
- Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.
- Repeat 2-3 times.
Keeping your lower body fit and flexible is crucial. Here’s an easy leg stretch technique to test your muscles:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a step forward with one leg and bend your knee while keeping the other leg straight
- Push your hips forward and downward, feeling a stretch in your hip flexors and quadriceps.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds on each leg.
- Repeat 2-3 times.
Yoga Flexibility Poses
Yoga is a fun way to practice mobility exercises before or after a workout. It’s also a form of active stretching, where your own muscles provide resistance to stretch other parts of your body. Here are two simple yoga stretches to get you moving:
- Begin in a push-up position with your hands under your shoulders.
- Push your hips up toward the ceiling, forming an inverted “V” shape with your body.
- Press your heels toward the floor, feeling a stretch in your calves and hamstrings.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds
- Repeat as needed.
- Lie face-down on the floor with your hands under your shoulders.
- Press your upper body off the floor, arching your back and lifting your chest.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your abdominal muscles and lower back.
We hope this article has given you insight into how important stretching is for your body’s flexibility and well being. If you enjoyed reading this, check out more on everything fitness and health on the Ninefit blog.