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flexibility exercises


Physical fitness is about more than just cardio and strength training workouts. Flexibility is the key to maintaining good range of motion in your joints and is essential for loosening muscle tightness and helping prevent injury. Like with any kind of exercise, flexibility can also improve your quality of life, overall wellness, and independence as you age. Flexibility training can include simple stretches you do on your own or more structured classes if you prefer more direction. Before you buy mens sneakers or women’s running shoes for a challenging exercise program, consider these tips for improving your flexibility from the comfort of your home.

The Big Three

When you think of increasing flexibility, one of three types of stretching regimens may come to mind: yoga, Pilates, and tai chi. Each of these exercise types may yield similar results, but they are incredibly different. Here is a quick run-down on each one:

• Yoga is a mind-body exercise that also unites strengthening with flexibility. It has different styles, including yin, hatha, ashtanga, restorative, therapeutic, and power. Yin and hatha both emphasize stretching over strength.

• Pilates was created for dancers to combine strengthening with lengthening for long muscles and range of motion, but everyone can benefit from it. It also concentrates on core strengthening, making it a great choice for back conditioning.

• Tai Chi includes precise movements and a slower pace to improve balance and flexibility. Because it is low impact, it is an excellent choice for older people who may be more prone to falling.

None of these forms of exercise requires a big investment in equipment. With a mat and a comfortable pair of men’s or ladies shoes, you should be ready to go.

More Intensity

If you want to get your heart pumping while your muscles move, dancing may be more your speed. With movement in almost any direction, your joints and muscles can get in a good workout while you become more flexible. Plus, dancing is a perfect activity to do at home, especially if you feel self-conscious out on the dance floor. Find some upbeat music that makes you want to move and clear some space to give you room. You may be surprised at how much your range of motion can improve with regular, impromptu dance sessions.

A Simple Addition

What if you are not interested in learning a new kind of exercise? That’s okay; just add stretches at the start and finish of your normal workouts. Most stretches are either static, a slow, steady stretch you hold, or dynamic, movements that allow your muscles to warm up. Start any workout with dynamic stretches to prime your muscles and get blood flowing, such as lunges or knee raises. At the end of a workout, cool down with static stretching, such as supine twisting or child’s pose, to help you relax, cool down, and get a deeper stretch. The next time you buy Puma shoes or new fitness apparel, why not treat yourself to a comfortable yoga mat and stretch bands to use when you work out? Once you feel the difference in your ability to move, you may be thankful you included flexibility in your fitness routine.

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