4 Minutes to read
Last updated: 14th January, 2018
Commonly associated with dancers and yogi’s, flexibility is something you should definitely be working to achieve. Not only does it have numerous advantages, it benefits both your physical and mental state. We won’t dwell too much into the science of flexibility, but how to incorporate it into your lifestyle and do it as often and consistently as possible.
Stretching your muscles is sort of like building muscle. It’s not something that happens overnight, it’s a long journey that requires consistency and persistence. To go from being unable to touch your toes to tickling them can take a couple of weeks or months to get to that stage. So with time and dedication, stretching 30 minutes a day, you’ll see a change in your flexibility in no time!
Don’t stretch cold.
Before you stretch, warm your muscles up a little bit, do a little bit of cardio before starting your stretch. When you stretch, aim to do it on the floor but sometimes stretching in your bed is just as great and feels even better!
A good rule of thumb is to hold a stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. As you go to finish off the stretch, pull a little more into the stretch before releasing, that way you give your stretching a little push!
Decide what you want to achieve early on. Do you want to be able to touch your toes, do the splits or even just a little bit of everything? By deciding what the reason for you to stretch is, you give yourself motivation and a reason to stretch!
If you feel pain anywhere in your body when you stretch, you should go see a doctor straight away! You’re aiming for a mild discomfort, not excruciating pain.
There are three types of stretching, it’s a good idea to combine bits of the three to get the best results.
Static stretching is the classic type of stretching where you stretch and hold for 30 or so seconds such as touching your toes. This type of stretching is safe for beginners and advanced stretchers but dynamic stretches are considered by many as more effective in terms of increasing your flexibility.
Dynamic stretching is considered better than static stretching for several reasons. It involves moving through a range of motions such as lunges. It helps to engage your legs, hips and core muscles. Dynamic stretching is the compound workout of stretching, it targets a lot of muscles and the best bang for your buck.
Ballistic stretching is often mistaken for dynamic stretching. Compared to dynamic stretching, ballistic stretching involves a lot of rapid movements such as arm swings and leg swings.
Pick a stretch that makes you feel best. The reason behind this is because you’re doing this for you, no one else. The benefits of stretching, mentioned below, can help your mental state as well as your physical. It’s good to do a combination of doing all three types of stretches if you want to be more flexible.
Improves your athletic performance
Decrease your risk of injury
Muscles work most effectively
Help your joints
Help reduce stress
Never know until you need it.
Perhaps the only disadvantage of being flexible is when you stretch, you stretch your tendons. If you overstretch them, you can injure yourself. This is perhaps the only disadvantage of being too flexible.
If you want to add a little zest to your stretching, why not try yoga? It helps with your flexibility, it’s a balance exercise and improves your core strength among many other health benefits both mental and physical. Best of all, sometimes stretching in your bed watching a cosy movie on Netflix is good. But sometimes its boring and yoga can bring some excitement, peace and concentration into your life.