Learn How to Improve Flexibility With These 5 Simple Exercises

How to Improve Flexibility
Flexibility is required for supple movements of the body. While some people are naturally flexible, others can always improve their flexibility with certain exercises.
FitnessVigil Staff
Last Updated: Feb 16, 2018
Stiff muscles and rigid body often lead to several injuries. Inflexible body puts a lot of restrictions on your movements and can result in muscle pain if you stretch it too much. However, having a flexible body is very important, since we need to stretch our body in several ways while doing daily activities. If you don't have a naturally flexible body, then exercises can be done for improving flexibility of the body.
How to Improve Flexibility
You can perform certain activities that improve flexibility of the body. These activities can be performed in the confinement of your home and won't take more than 10 minutes. Since these exercises to improve flexibility can be performed at any time during the day, you won't have to alter your schedule. Just make sure you leave a gap of at least an hour between your last meal and the workout.

Here's what you can do...
stretch
Forward Bending
Stand in an upright position with your legs together. Now, slowly raise you hands forward and try to touch your toes. Stretch your hands only as long as you are comfortable. Maintain the position as long as you can. Repeat this exercise 3 - 4 times in each session. Over the time, you'll find that you can bend down with more ease.
hand stretch
Sideways Bending
Stand upright with your legs apart. Keep one hand on your waist and raise the other hand and try to bend it sideways. Stretch your body sideways as far as possible. Then, reverse the position of the hands and repeat the exercise, now, with your body bending in the opposite direction. Repeat the exercise 3 - 4 times on each side.
hamstring
Hamstring Stretch
This is similar to forward bending, with only difference that it is performed while sitting. Sit on a floor with legs flat in front of you. Hold your hands straight in front of you. Try leaning towards your toes as much as you can.
leg stretch
Calf Stretch
Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart. Place the toes of one foot on a slightly raised platform (as shown in image) while keeping the heel of that same foot on the floor. Repeat with the other foot. Calf compression is performed by elevating your body by standing on your toes. Hold the position for a few minutes. Repeat it several times a day.
leg stretch
Quadriceps Stretch
Stand upright with your legs apart. Bend one leg at knee and grasp your foot with one hand. Press it against your buttocks. Now perform the same exercise with the opposite leg and hand. Repeat 4 - 5 times, every session.
Tips for Stretching Exercises
  • Do not begin stretching exercises before warming up your muscles. Brisk walking, jogging, cardiovascular exercises etc., help warming up your muscles. Exerting cold muscles may invite an injury.
  • Gradually increase the frequency of stretching exercises as well as the holding time for each stretch.
  • Make sure you are not dehydrating yourself during these exercises. Drink ample water before you begin with the stretching exercises.
  • Breathe deeply and evenly throughout the session. Many people inadvertently hold their breath while stretching. Remember, the oxygen that you breathe while stretching, directly goes to your muscles.
  • Know your limits. Do not stretch your body to the point that it becomes very uncomfortable or painful.
  • Besides the above exercises, you can also opt for dancing or yoga exercises. Dancing, in fact, is the best way to improve flexibility of the body. Aerobics, is yet another way of improving flexibility of the body.
Diet for Improving Flexibility
Any exercise yields desirable results only when you accompany it with appropriate diet. Thus, diet also plays a significant role in improving your flexibility. There are certain foods which assist in improving your agility, while some others impede your suppleness. Green vegetables such as green beans, artichokes, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini are great for improving flexibility. Similarly, nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, avocado, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds also improve your agility. Cold-pressed oils such as coconut, olive provide the body with required amount of saturated fat so that the joints are well-lubricated. This results in better agility and reduction in injuries.
Thus, with the blend of stretching exercises and healthy diet, you can certainly improve your flexibility to a great extent. It is best to work upon your flexibility from a younger age itself, so that you do not face problems as you age.
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Couple Doing Warm Up