Flexibility Fitness Exercises to Stay Young and Agile
Flexibility fitness exercises are one of the most important aspects of fitness. Being able to move with ease and comfort can lead to better daily life, as well as an improved ability to participate in your favorite activities.
And yet many people overlook this aspect of holistic health and wellness!
There are so many different stretches you can do that will improve your flexibility, but here are some ideas for getting started:
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the ground with one leg extended in front of you and the other bent and crossed over it.
Bend both knees, grab your ankle with one hand, and pull it toward your buttock. Hinge at the hips to stretch your hamstrings. Make sure that both hips are facing forward (not twisting).
Hold this position for 30 seconds or as long as is comfortable, then switch legs and repeat on the other side.
The chest stretch is a great way to get flexibility in the chest. It can be done lying down or sitting up and leaning forward.
The benefits of doing this stretch include improved posture and breathing, as well as an increased range of motion in the shoulders.
To do this stretch, sit on the floor with your back straight, legs extended out in front of you and feet flexed so that only your toes touch the floor. Then place both hands behind your head, just below your ears (not touching them).
Take deep breaths while gently pressing your elbows back into their sockets until you feel a good stretch in your chest muscles; hold for 15 seconds or longer, if possible, before releasing slowly.
If it’s difficult for you to reach all the way back with one arm behind your head, alternate arms every few reps instead.
Standing Calf Stretch
Stand on a step or bench with your whole weight on one leg.
Raise the heel of your other foot off the floor as high as you can and reach back with one hand to grab it. Keep your body upright and hold this position for 30 seconds before switching legs.
Repeat twice on each side for a total of four times per set.
Groin Stretch (Seated)
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right leg, and put the sole of your foot on the floor.
Place your left hand on the outside of your right leg for balance. Put your right hand on your left knee for support and leverage as you lean forward from a sitting position to stretch out the groin muscles at their origin (upper inner thigh region).
Repeat on the other side.
When it comes to flexibility, the knee is one of the more important joints to keep limber.
There are several different types of knee flexion, including:
- Straight leg raise (SLR) – This exercise involves raising your straightened leg as high as possible without letting your heel touch the floor. You can perform this exercise by lying on your back with both legs extended and then lifting one leg up in front of you while keeping the other foot flat on the floor.
- Heel raise – Similar to SLRs, this exercise focuses on bending at only one joint: your ankle or heel. To do so, start seated with feet flat on the floor and knees bent at 90-degree angles; then lift one foot off ground as high as possible while keeping the other foot planted firmly down toward the ground below it.
This exercise is a great way to improve hip flexibility, as well as strengthen your core and glutes.
First, lie flat on your back with knees bent at a 90-degree angle and feet flat on the floor. Lift one leg up, so it’s perpendicular to your body, and keep it straight throughout this exercise (don’t bend or lift it).
Gently pull the knee towards the chest until you feel a slight stretch in the hip flexor muscle group. Don’t go too far—you need only travel halfway toward your opposite shoulder before returning back to starting position by bringing both legs together again. Repeat five times on each side three times per week for best results.
To perform this stretch, lie on the floor with one leg extended and the other bent. Place your hands gently on either side of that leg and gently push it away from you until you feel a stretch in your hamstring.
Breathe deeply, relax your body completely and hold for 10 seconds. Do not bounce or force this stretch; instead, take deep breaths and focus on releasing any tension in the muscles being stretched.
Repeat with each leg three times on each side if possible.
The quadriceps stretch is an excellent way to improve flexibility in your legs.
To perform the quadriceps stretch, stand with one foot slightly in front of the other and bend forward at the waist.
Place your hands on your front knee for additional support as needed. Hold this position for 20 seconds, switch feet and repeat for three sets per side (10 seconds on each leg).
Lateral ankle dorsiflexion
Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Place a towel under your foot, so it’s easy to slide it back and forth on the floor.
Lift up your toes towards you and then lower them again. Repeat this ten times for each side of your body, for a total of 20 reps overall.
Inner thigh stretch
Sit on the floor with one leg extended and the other bent as if you were about to do a forward bend.
Reach for your toes or as far as you can go. Repeat with the other leg.
You can also use a towel to help you reach your toes.
Psoas major stretch (rear leg)
Lie on your back with your legs together. Bend one knee and place a towel under it as shown, then bring that leg out to the side.
You can also use a rolled-up towel or blanket instead of using the floor; make sure it’s long enough so that you can lie down without having to bend at the waist.
Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat with the other leg.
Check out this easy-to-follow program to improve your flexibility fitness right away.
Why Is Flexibility Important?
So now that you can define flexibility fitness, you can implement a regular flexibility fitness regime. But why is flexibility important? It all comes down to the way our bodies move.
Improve Posture and Balance
Flexibility is the capacity of joints to move, and it’s essential for good health. It can help improve your posture and balance, as well as make you feel more relaxed.
Improving your flexibility doesn’t just benefit your joints; it also helps with muscle growth and relaxation. The ability to stretch out will make you feel less tense and more flexible mentally, too!
A more flexible body will be able to perform more grueling tasks like reaching, squatting, or running without risking an injury. Stretching our muscles keeps them from being tense. When our muscles are tense and then we use them, they may cramp, strain, or get pulled.
Move with More Efficiency and Grace
Long, flexible bodies create long, efficient movements that look more graceful and easy than a stiff, tense body. As women, we want to walk, sit, and dance with a grace that mimics a queen.
As you incorporate flexibility fitness into your holistic lifestyle, you’ll notice that every movement you make becomes easier and more graceful.
Feel More Comfortable
Long gone will be those days of groaning and wincing as you move. Flexibility fitness can make your everyday movements more comfortable. No more aches and pains from stooping over or reaching up high.
Remember that the best way to stay flexible is through regular stretching and exercising. You don’t need any special equipment at all, just a little bit of time every day!
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