Flexibility measures the ability of your joints or muscles to move and accomplish a full range of motion. While you might think that strength and speed are the only qualities that truly matter when it comes to sports and exercise, the lack of flexibility can seriously hinder physical performance. Without flexibility, your joints and muscles are at very high risk of injury.
Not all joints and muscles in the body can offer flexibility. The degree of flexibility in certain joints and muscles will also vary depending on the type of motion that the muscle or joint needs to accomplish. Without proper maintenance, it can diminish over time. This is why it is essential to do stretches, exercises and other activities regularly to promote flexibility.
Here are 25 proven ways to increase flexibility.
1) Do simple stretching exercises.
If you are someone who isn’t used to doing sports or certain exercise routines, it would be best to improve your flexibility by doing stretching exercises. Simple stretching exercises can include arm stretches if you want to do upper body resistance training, and leg stretches if you’re going to do running or leg exercises. According to studies, stretching will not just help increase it; it will also help you maintain mobility.
2) Get in dynamic warm-ups before a workout.
If you feel more confident about your physical ability when it comes to movement, we recommend that instead of doing simple stretches, you focus on doing dynamic warm-ups. Unlike static stretching exercises, dynamic warm-ups require more complex body movements. This type of warm-up includes lunges, jumping jacks, and squats that use only your body weight. With continued repetition, dynamic warm-ups may help increase the flexibility of your muscles and joints.
3) When doing resistance training, focus on a full range of motion.
Doing exercises that allow you to cover a full range of motion may help strengthen joints and muscles over time. Exercises such as deep, full squats, oblique twists, and even full bicep curls may help increase flexibility since they allow you to stretch the joints and muscles to their full length. Doing exercises in a full range of motion must be done with care as they may cause injury. This is why we recommend that you do trial sets of these exercises using light weights first.
4) Never forget to do static stretches after a work-out.
Muscles typically get micro-tears after a strenuous work-out, it is also possible for muscles and joints to tighten up after intense training. By making sure that you are doing static stretches after a work-out, your muscles can be adequately lengthened. This will allow you to avoid muscle tightness and have better flexibility.
5) Always stay hydrated.
Muscles need water so that they can stay strong and flexible. Water also helps lubricate your joints. This is why it is always important to mind your water intake during and after exercise. Dehydration may cause decreased muscular performance and flexibility. This is why hydration must be a part of any flexibility training regimen.
6) Yoga may help increase flexibility.
Contrary to popular belief, yoga is not just about flexibility. This type of exercise is focused more on making your muscles stronger. However, this type of training may help to make your muscles limber because of the nature of yoga postures. Yoga exercises will allow your muscles to have the strength and the length needed to be as flexible as possible.
7) Proper breathing may help increase flexibility.
Believe it or not, your breathing will have an impact on your flexibility. Shallow breathing often makes your muscles tense and tight, while deep and relaxed breathing allows your blood to flow into your muscles properly. Deep breaths will also enable you to deliver oxygen properly into your muscle tissues. This allows your muscles to relax, and it may also help you avoid lactic acid buildup, which will cause cramps and reduce flexibility.
8) Massage may help increase flexibility.
Deep tissue massage may help increase your flexibility since it allows the activation of muscles, joints, tendons, and cartilage. By alleviating soreness and improving the condition of these parts of your body, your body may be able to experience full range of motion more easily. Massages are also known to decrease tension and tightness, which may further help increasing it.
9) Make use of ballistic stretching to increase flexibility.
Although this type of stretching is not recommended for beginners, ballistic stretching has been known to help athletes significantly increase their flexibility. This type of stretching requires you to push your body beyond its normal motion range with the help of bouncing movement.
10) Make use of various stretching styles to further increase flexibility.
If you want to increase your flexibility, you have to challenge your body’s limits safely. It is highly recommended that beginners start with doing regular static stretching routines. And, as soon as you feel more confident about your body’s flexibility and mobility, you can move on to doing dynamic or even ballistic stretching routines. Your primary focus must be to keep challenging the body so that you can keep increasing your muscle’s length.
11) Dancing may help increase flexibility.
Taking dance classes has been known to help increase your body’s mobility and flexibility. While you might not want to jump into certain dance types that require a lot of skill or endurance, you can always opt to try contemporary dance or ballet so you can make your body more limber.
12) Doing pilates regularly may help increase flexibility.
The main focus of pilates is increasing the strength of your core muscles. However, because it has been known to help provide excellent results that can lead to significant changes in body weight and shape, it may also be used to help increase flexibility. Pilates also focuses on internal resistance and breathing, which has been known to improve performance in the gym and in doing other exercises.
13) Older people may prefer to do Tai Chi to help increase their flexibility.
This gentle form of exercise is known to help improve the physical health and wellness among its practitioners. Since it does not require heavy lifting or physical endurance, Tai Chi is highly recommended among older adults. Its slow motion and low impact movements have been known to help increase mobility and flexibility.
14) Rest must be incorporated into your routine to help increase flexibility.
While you might think that doing regular stretching and rigorous training programs will ultimately lead to increased flexibility, you should know that overworking muscles can lead to strain, tightness, and limited movement. This is why many experts agree that rest and proper recovery are as important as regular exercises when it comes to it.
15) Stretching must be done after a long day at work.
One of the indirect ways that you can lose flexibility is when you fail to maintain your muscles and joints on a regular basis. Sitting all day at work has a significant impact on your daily posture, and it may unknowingly lead to tightness, especially around your back area. By incorporating stretching routines after a long day at work, you can slowly get back the proper range of motion, and you can also begin to increase flexibility.
16) Take the time to stretch your wrists.
Although they do not play a significant role in overall mobility, the wrists are very important when it comes to flexibility. Losing flexibility on the wrist area may hinder you from doing toning exercise as well as dynamic stretches. This is why you should never take the wrist area for granted in your journey towards increasing flexibility.
17) Stretching your back may help increase flexibility.
When it comes to it, the back area plays a significant role in its maintenance or improvement. If you are suffering from back pain or tightness on your back muscles and spine area, it is hard to focus on the other parts of your body. Static stretching exercises and yoga poses such as the cobra and downward dog poses, may improve back flexibility.
18) Stretching your legs may help increase flexibility.
After the back area, you should also prioritize your legs when it comes to flexibility. This is because these parts of your body play an important role when it comes to your mobility. To increase flexibility in your legs, you can focus on exercises that strengthen your knee joints. Stretching your calf, hamstrings, and glutes may also help increase flexibility in your legs.
19) Simply listening to your body may help improve flexibility.
Most people lose it over time because they fail to take heed of the signals that their body is trying to tell them. For example, pain and stiffness are signs that you are losing mobility in certain areas of your body. But while there are people who remedy these problems with stretching and training, most people would opt for pain relievers instead. By focusing on muscle and joint strengthening, especially in problem areas, your body can have more flexibility.
20) Create a stretching routine.
Make stretching a habit before and after doing any kind of sports, exercise, or training. Even during rest days, you can still focus on doing simple static stretches for as long as your body is not in any pain. This is to ensure that your muscles and joints stay in good condition. Maintaining a daily stretching routine allows you to avoid a decreased range of motion, and it can help propel you towards increased flexibility.
21) The use of a foam roller may help increase flexibility.
Experts suggest that you make use of a foam roller for those who have limited flexibility, especially those who are suffering from a bad back. This product is an inexpensive tool that you can use to help improve blood circulation and increase flexibility, especially around the back area. Foam rollers can also be used to decrease stiffness and provide pain relief for various muscles and joints.
22) Focusing on problem Areas may help increase flexibility.
When it comes to it, you need to access your unique problem areas and your flexibility goals. Problem areas such as the back, the arms, or the legs will need to have deep, focused stretches that you need to hold longer to be effective. You can also make your stretching sports specific, so you will be able to increase flexibility and have improved performance for a particular activity in the soonest time possible.
23) Slow down during stretching.
Take your time to do stretches, training, or activities that are meant to help increase your range of motion properly. You need to understand that increased flexibility will never happen overnight. This is why it would be best if you slow down and stay at a realistic pace. With continued stretching and training, your muscles will lengthen, and you will be able to gain increased strength around your joints.
24) Stretching is different from a warm-up.
While both stretching and warm-ups are used interchangeably, you need to know that you must never stretch cold muscles. To help increase your flexibility, you need to make sure that your muscles are warm enough to avoid injury and allow proper movement. Warm-ups can include light jogging or a few minutes of low-intensity movements.
25) Proper nutrition can help Increase flexibility.
You can’t expect to be flexible if you keep feeding your body junk food. If you want to be as flexible as possible, you need to maintain proper nutrition through a balanced diet. Aside from helping you to lose weight, proper nutrition can help you regain as much mobility as possible. The nutrients in the food you eat can also help improve the condition and flexibility of both muscles and joints.
Increasing it is all about making use of the right techniques based on your specific physical condition. For beginners, we recommend to start by using static stretches or by taking basic yoga or dance classes to help condition your body. If you are in good shape but still want to have more flexibility, then we recommend that you incorporate various types of stretches to help push your flexibility further.
It is also essential that you try to take care of your body with the help of rest, proper diet, and hydration to help increase flexibility. All these factors play an essential role in it since they can help improve your muscles’ length and range of motion.