Written By Laura Evans / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Having enough elasticity and control over your movement without ending up on an orthopedist's table is one of the most fulfilling uses of your body. But beyond being able to touch your toes from a standing position or having the almost impossible ability to lick your elbow, flexibility helps you overcome limitations.
You will no longer be limited by activities, postures, or even aches. When you are flexible enough, you feel like an upgraded version of yourself.
Below are some basic stretching exercises and tips to become more flexible. For even more options, check out Bodytonic Clinic. Keep reading for tips and basic stretching exercises to help you become more flexible.
Recognize Your Limit
Being flexible doesn't come instantly; it’s a gradual, and enjoyable, process! Try not to be too hard on yourself. You need to acknowledge that you may have spent the past few years of your life with a stiff posture and a few days of stretching is not going to help you fold into a pretzel straight away. Be patient and pace yourself.
Bouncing Doesn't Count As A Warm Up
If you keep starting every workout with five to 10 minutes of bouncing, you may break something important. A warm up should focus on your tensed muscles and help you ease them enough for your exercise. Bouncing doesn't do that, but walking does.
Try walking for a few minutes to unclench your muscles. Do this at a medium pace - don't run or walk too slowly. Use even strides that feel natural and relaxed so you can feel out your tension points.
Remember To Breathe
Breathing counts as a great stretching exercise. Mastering breathing through your diaphragm is an effective technique for flexibility, and is one of the easiest techniques for beginners.
While you warm up and you move into exercise, stay conscious of every breath you take, while inhaling and exhaling frequently. If you think you will get caught up with the exercise and forget to breathe, try using your breathing as a countdown for every exercise. Breath in, breath out and count. Repeat.
Basic Stretching Exercises
Keep these tips in mind as you try out our favorite simple stretches. Try not to strain yourself too hard! If it hurts, you are going too far.
This pose stretches most of your lower body from your waist to your knees, your vertebral column, thorax, and inguinal region. It also affects your shoulders and upper arms.
Start with your right leg extended to the front and engage the muscles above your right knee. Open your arms wide apart with your palms facing forward. Follow this by lowering your right hand to your right shin or ankle without folding your left arm. Make sure to keep your femur and hip tucked as you bend to the side.
Hold the pose for 10 to 20 seconds before doing the same with your left arm and leg. Pay attention not to overextend your legs, and resist the urge to bend your knees.
Knee to Chest Stretch
This stretches the muscles in your hip and lower back. It is not only good for your flexibility, but it is also a very comfortable position to lie in.
To do this stretch, lie down with your back on the floor. Bend your knees, ensuring your feet are flat on the floor. You can lift both legs, but for starters, lift one of your knees to your chest level high enough for you to hold it with both hands, locking your fingers right under the knees.
Maintain this position for 10 to 30 seconds before laying down. Do the same with the other knee.
This is one of the most common stretches used to target the abs, lower back, hamstrings, and glutes.
Lay with your back on the ground, bending your knees with your feet apart. Keep your feet flat at a safe distance from your body. Plant your heels into the mat and raise your pelvis off the floor till your knees are in a straight line from your chin. Hold the position for a few seconds, inhale, and lower your pelvis. Repeat a few more times.
Start With The Basics
Other exercises can help you get your desired flexibility, but if you start out with these tips and basic stretches, you are well on your way to being more elastic!
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Laura Evans is a writer working on behalf of Bodytonic Clinic. After finishing her education she went on to become an established writer in her field. She is an especially sought after content creator as her skills, knowledge, and expertise speak for themselves.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.