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7 Exercises for Increasing Flexibility
Having loose, supple muscles will give you more energy on a day to day basis - and you will experience less pain thanks to your increased flexibility. As your week goes on, many people accumulate their stress and muscle fatigue in the shoulders, neck and back. Athletes commonly carry muscular stress in the hips, hamstrings, and calves - proof that anyone can get pain from muscle fatigue if they don't spend ample time keeping their muscles flexible.
Muscular tightness will drag you down, ruin your posture over time, cause you to feel clumsy and slow, and increase the risk of injury when you push yourself too hard.
Thus stretching to increase your flexibility is a critical part of any cardio or weight training regimen. Muscles fully develop with contracting (lifting) and lengthening (stretching). Unless you want short, stocky muscles, then you will need to stretch!
8 Exercises for Increasing Flexibility
1. When your muscles are warm it is time to stretch!
Stretch whenever you can. If you ran up a few flights of stairs at work, stretch your legs while sitting back at the desk. Of course, stretch thoroughly after every single workout, and be sure to include the whole body, regardless of what muscle group was worked that day.
2. Get up to stretch after every hour of sitting!
Sitting causes spinal compression, hunched shoulders, and tight legs. After every hour of sitting down, stand up to stretch for at least 1-2 minutes. Reach up, bend down, stretch forward, back and side to side.
3. Practice static stretching!
Hold stretches with no rocking or bouncing for 15-30 seconds and repeat each two to three times. Breath deeply through the nose and on every exhalation, try to lengthen the stretch a little more.
4. Take a yoga class for fun!
You can't do much better than yoga in terms of a long, deep stretching session. Plus get the benefit of a full body strength and balance workout.
5. Learn to do the splits!
Ever wanted to do the splits? Anyone can learn how to do the splits. It is actually a lot easier to learn than most people think. Men, overweight people, even the elderly can easily learn to do the splits.
You probably already know how to do these. They're very easy to learn so why not do them regularly?
Daily butterfly stretches increase flexibility in your inner and outer thighs, making the splits easier.
To perform a butterfly split, sit with your knees bent and tilted out so that each knee forms a "V" to the side. Touch your feet together and place your hands on your feet to remain balanced. Pull your feet in toward your groin and hold the stretch. To deepen the stretch, extend your knees toward the ground slowly and hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times daily. As the exercise becomes easier, pull your feet in closer to your groin. Your back should remain straight during this stretch.
7. Keep trying new things and keep at it!
While I must stress that you avoid any activities that might injure yourself, trying new stretches will also boost your flexibility progress over time. Use your common sense to determine which stretches work for you and which ones you would rather not do because you know you are not ready yet.
When it comes to trying new stretches you will not notice physical results quickly - stretching results always takes a lot of time - but you will feel amazing over time and that will be the biggest reward when you don't feel as much pain in your muscles and joints as you used to! It's common to think that stretching is boring but once you get into a routine you will wonder how you lived before feeling limber, with a skip in your step every day.
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