Do you hate going to dance classes or doing your post-workout stretch? It may have something to do with your flexibility, or lack thereof. It’s okay, not all of us are flexible (like that girl at your gym who does the splits without batting an eyelash). The good thing is that you don’t have to be. The most important thing is to make the most of what you’ve got! If you want to improve your flexibility, here are 4 easy ways that you can do it:
1) Set Up a Stretching Routine
Just like working out or eating right, having a routine is important. If you want to become more flexible, then you need to make stretching part of your daily routine. Starting off or ending your work out with some stretches is a good idea in general, so commit! In addition to those warm up and cool down stretches, try to do as much as you can each day. It may be 5 or 10 minutes…or even 30! It’s all about what you have time for in your schedule. Just remember, the more that you do it, the sooner you will start noticing a difference.
2) Learn To Breathe Better
To allow your stretches to go deeper, it is essential to focus on breathing. Breathing quickly makes your body tense up. The result will be reduced flexibility. You’ll need to open up the chest by breathing deeply and slowly. Don’t rush your breathing or your stretches. When you breathe in and out calmly and slowly, you help your muscles and body to relax into the stretch. How does this happen? Improved blood flow allows muscle fibres to stretch more. That means that you can go even deeper with your stress and focus on improving your overall level of flexibility.
3) Try to Contract Your Muscles
To further improve your flexibility, contract your muscles and hold that contraction for 30 seconds or less. Then stop the contraction and stretch. Do this a few times until you start to notice that your stretches are able to go deeper. This is an effective flexibility improving method, as the muscles relax even more than they usually do after a contraction. Add contractions to your stretching routine and it won’t take long for you to see and feel a difference. Another tip to help you become more flexible? Breathe into your muscles as you stretch by focusing your breath and your mind.
4) Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
The key to success is repetition. Know that stretching routine that was mentioned in the first point? You really need to keep up with it. By repeating gentle stretches over a period of days, weeks, or months, eventually the muscles will respond. Repeat the same body stretches a few times within each routine and repeat that routine every day. You will likely notice that your flexibility increases throughout the routine itself – and later on as well.
Flexibility is great if you want to try certain types of workouts, like yoga or dance. Just in case you aren’t super flexible, these tips will help you become your very best.