Flexibility is a skill that can be improved upon by focusing on the right muscles and completing different kinds of workouts.
Flexibility is one of those skills that people believe they’re born with. You either have it or you don’t, which, if you’ve ever done yoga or pilates, you know is untrue. While some people are definitely more flexible than others, even if you have the flexibility of a rock there’s plenty of ways you can improve your skills and range of mobility.
Exercises for improving your flexibility can be practiced every day or a few times a week, showing positive results within a couple of months. Here are 5 ways that can help you improve your flexibility:
Don’t skip on the cool down process
It’s very common for people to walk out of a spinning or boxing class before completing their post-workout stretches. This is bad for your joints and muscles, and will likely leave you in pain during the day after. Stretches help in speeding up your recovery process while also increasing your mobility and flexibility. Once you’ve completed your cardio, your body is warm and more likely to stretch than during other times of the day.
Hold your stretches
Stretching is boring for most people because you have to hold these positions for long periods of time for them to have an effect. Try to hold your stretches for a minimum of 30 seconds, really feeling the strain in your muscles. To make this process more manageable, focus on completing that amount of time and on not pushing your muscles too hard. If you can’t hold a pose because it hurts too much, try applying less pressure.
Consume your proteins
Foods and shakes that are rich in proteins can help your body post work out, preventing pain and muscle loss during the recovery process. These elements are also necessary for building muscles and repairing the tissue that was damaged. Proteins are filling and help you stay mobile as you age and lose body mass.
Take a warm bath
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While warm baths alone won’t help you become more flexible, they will trick your body into feeling relaxed, which is key for developing flexibility. When trying out a new stretch or putting strain on a muscle you rarely use, your body’s natural response will be to clamp up. A warm bath can help you stay relaxed and put your muscles in a more willing mood that will allow you to push yourself when you stretch at the end or beginning of your day.
Try new workouts
The easiest way to work on your flexibility is to practice a workout that targets these muscles and skills, such as yoga, Tai Chi or pilates. These exercises can add some variety to your workout schedule and can even add more to your performance on other activities, improving your jogging, boxing or spinning skills.