Apart from weight loss and muscle building, one of the most common goals that people have in mind when they start to workout is to build flexibility, agility and balance to achieve improved mobility. An extraordinary joint range means less difficulty in performing specific tasks and workout routines, but it also means that your muscles are in good health and will be in the long run.
Now, as attractive as the thought of having a flexible body is, loosening muscles that have gone stiff from over two years of minimal activity can be somewhat tricky.
So, to help you with that, here are 3 effective flexibility exercises that trainers swear by and that will help you build flexibility healthily and safely:
Since you will be training your muscles after a long break or for the first time, there are certain precautions you will have to take. It is one of them. The best way to ensure you are working on your flexibility without causing any injury to your muscles is to start with a slight warming up session. Whether a stretching session or your regular daily workout circuit, doing some warmup exercises like on the spot jogging, lunges, and a few jumping jacks will prepare your cold muscles for exertion and make them more pliable and less prone to tears or catches.
Now, what can be a better way to loosen up muscles than to stretch them, right? Flexibility exercises include a lot of stretching and variations, like dynamic and static stretching. Dynamic stretching includes performing 15-20 reps of flexibility exercises like leg swings, side shuffles, arm circles and torso twists that move the muscles to their full extent. Static stretching includes exercises or stretches that you will need to hold for 30 seconds, release and then repeat. The latter is meant to be done only after your muscles have warmed up; the former can be done as a warmup. To effectively build flexibility, you are going to have to try a combination of these flexibility exercises in your daily routine.
Since the beginning of time, people have used yoga as a flexibility exercise. Yoga Asanas include both breath work that will strengthen core muscles and poses that will gradually open up muscles and allow them to complete a full range of motion. As a beginner, you can start with some of the easier to do asanas like
- Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold to work on your hamstrings
- Purvottanasana or Intense Side stretch works on your spine, hips and legs.
- Bitilasana- Marjaryasana or the Cat-Cow pose to work on your shoulders, spine, neck and core.
- Gomukhasana or Cow Face Pose to work on your shoulders, chest and arms.
As a beginner, a circuit consisting of strength training and a balanced combination of these flexibility exercises for at least 3 months, watch your body quickly and painlessly contort in ways you did not think it could!