Most people think of exercise and immediately think of weights, treadmills, and weight machines. Getting strong and building endurance is part of fitness, but you need flexibility for total fitness. Flexibility workouts help increase your range of motion so you don’t experience injury doing simple tasks. Warm up before an exercise by stretching and use stretching to cool down afterward. If you’re doing active recovery, stretching can help speed the process. It’s the most effective way to boost flexibility.
Before you start your day, the first thing you do should be stretching. Your body temperature drops and your respiration slows as you sleep. When you first wake up, stretch. It slowly warms the muscles, boosts circulation, and increases oxygen intake when a yawn accompanies it. Start by stretching in bed, tightening your stomach muscles as much as possible while you stretch. Sit up and shift your bodyweight side-to-side at the waist for more stretching. Get out of bed, reach for the sky, and then throw your arms open and lean as far back as possible. It only takes a minute but provides a world of benefits.
Many yoga poses have become traditional bodyweight exercises, like the bridge. Combining two poses, the cat and the cow, increases flexibility while relieving back pain. Start with the cat pose. Get on your hands and knees. Arch your back like an angry cat as you lower your head. Hold the position, return to the starting position, then move to the cow position. Drop your belly and raise your head. Hold and return. Alternate between positions to improve back flexibility and reduce pain.
Warm-up stretches are dynamic stretches that increase circulation, but they aren’t as effective for improving long-term flexibility as the static stretches done after the muscles are warm. The warmed muscles let you increase your range of motion, boosting flexibility. That’s the time to do static exercises like touching your toes or hamstring stretches, both static stretches where you to a position and hold it. Warm your muscles before doing static exercises and you’ll get better flexibility results.
For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness Studio