Flexibility may not seem like the most important health aspect for you right now, but the truth is that the older you get the more you’ll wish you’d spent time increasing your flexibility. As you age it gets more difficult to stretch – such as bending over to tie your shoes, reaching the top shelf in the kitchen, or even gardening and other yardwork.
Additionally, you can be more adept at those tasks while younger if you focus on adding flexibility training to part of your regular workout routine. You’ll be surprised at how effective it is – and what a difference added flexibility makes in your day-to-day activities.
So let’s look at three different activities in which you can engage to aid in your flexibility.
This was likely obvious right off the bat, but for good reason. Yoga is one of the best activities you can possibly do to increase your flexibility. In addition to any mental and emotional benefits you may feel from yoga, the biggest help it gives is in keeping your body strong and fit. Yoga involves using almost all of the muscles in your body – keeping your weight in check and aiding you in getting that sculpted body you’ve always wanted. The other benefit from all of those greatly toned muscles, though, is that using them on a daily basis means the ones reserved for flexibility – and consequently, the ones that get worked out the least – will receive consistent attention, making you a more flexible, fit individual.
Yoga can even help you stand taller and become more limber as it strengthens the muscles around your spine and in your back.
One study, performed at the University of Iowa, found that after two months of weekly Pilates workouts, participants were able to reach an inch closer to touching their toes than before they’d started. And since touching your toes seems to be the barometer by which the flexibility is generally measured, this is a great sign.
Pilates are similar to yoga in that it utilizes your entire body to strengthen and tone your core. Again, the side effect of that is the ability to tone the muscles which are rarely used, making sure they’re ready to perform when you need them.
One thing that many people skip when trying to become more flexible is looking at their body objectively and determining exactly what areas are holding you back from flexibility. Is bending over a challenge? Then it’s likely your hamstrings are tight and need some work. What about side-to-side movements, or simply leaning across your lap to tie your shoes? Everything that can be tied back to a flexibility issue is one to evaluate first, then you can choose the workout that best aids in helping you become more flexible in that area.