If you can’t remember the last time you’ve taken the time to stretch, then you’re doing fitness wrong. In fact, not stretching can be harmful to your health. To properly stretch is to force our musculature in order to lengthen the muscles themselves. One of the best things you can do for your health is to stretch. Relieve any built up pressure, prevent stiffness, tightness, and soreness all with just a few simple stretches. As far as your health is concerned, the Arthritis Foundation says that stretching is the best way to preserve joint health. Another added bonus to stretching is that it may improve flexibility if done correctly.
Flexibility is key for any fitness program and working to improve flexibility will help you avoid injuries. These tips to improve your flexibility also work for men and women.
To stretch seems like an easy way to improve flexibility. However, you must stretch properly to get the most improvement. Not to mention, if you don’t stretch properly, you may cause injury to your body. Choose a position to stretch in and get comfortable with it first, then push yourself to go further. The best way to judge is when a stretch feels easy, it’s time to press it further. No matter what, don’t overdo it, take your time and ease into stretching.
Routines Work Best
Routines help us complete many different things in life and stretching can be added to that list. If you want to improve flexibility in your body, make stretching a part of your routine. Add stretching to your morning routine or nightly routine, just add it in wherever it fits best. There is no need to stretch for hours at a time, 5-10 minutes will work just fine. The best part is, you can stretch just about anywhere, even in bed.
Ease into That Routine
Just like any other workout, don’t dive head first into stretching and go for the gold right away. Take your time and ease into your new routine. If you don’t take it slow you may end up injuring yourself more than improving your flexibility. Two of the most common stretching injuries include torn muscles or even ligaments. Not only will those injuries be very painful, they will also put you on the bench for long periods of time.
Pick Up Yoga
Yoga is one of the best full body workouts anyone can do. Not only will yoga stretch your body in ways you didn’t even think of, it will help train you. There are many different yoga poses that each serves a different part of your body. The reason yoga is so popular is because it will improve flexibility, build muscle, and relax you at the same time.
Bring a Friend
For the most part, stretching can be done alone, especially if you’re just starting. But as time goes on, you may need some help. That partner can help you stretch a little further, try a different position and just stay motivated. Once your partner has helped you stretch, you can help them stretch as well. It’s a win, win situation.
If you’re familiar with yoga, you’ve heard of yoga blocks, chairs, stairs and the use of walls and tons. The reason these props are used should be relatively obvious. You can use walls to help you stretch into the splits for example. To do this, sit in front of the wall in a split position and pull your pelvis close to the wall. You can use a chair, say at the office, to focus on your back’s flexibility. Sit in the chair upright and look up at the ceiling. Stretch into a backbend and then look down, relaxing the neck and shoulders. Bring your forehead to your knees to perform the roll down. These are just a couple of ways that props can help you stretch.
With everything in life, patience is key. To improve flexibility, you’ll need to be patient and remember that results may not happen overnight. In fact, becoming majorly flexible can take years to accomplish. Good things take time and shouldn’t be rushed. One thing that helps most people is to take progress photos so you can see the results as you work.