Are you hoping to become more flexible? Flexibility is an often overlooked part of fitness. Many people mistakenly believe that you’re born flexible or you aren’t. The truth is that anyone can become more flexible. All you need to do is work on it for a few minutes each day.
Before stretching, it’s important to get your muscles slightly warmed up. If you take just a few minutes to warm up first, your muscles will receive more blood flow and be able to stretch further. Warming up also reduces your risk of injury. To warm up, do a light jog or other light aerobic exercise for at least five minutes.
Here are some simple stretches that will help you to increase your flexibility:
Standing Hamstring Stretch
The hamstrings are one of the largest muscles in your body. A simple way to stretch them is to stand with your feet hip-width apart and try to touch your toes. Keep your knees slightly bent as you lean forward. Bonus: This move stretches the glutes, calves, neck, and back too.
Hip Flexor Stretch
To stretch your hip flexors, start by kneeling on the floor and putting one leg in front of you. Lean forward into the lunge, keeping your front knee at a 90-degree angle. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat as desired. Don’t forget to do both sides. You’ll feel this stretch in your hip flexor and your back quadricep.
A butterfly stretch is done in a seated position with the soles of the feet together. Keep your knees out to the sides. You can move deeper into this stretch by grabbing your feet and leaning forward. You’ll feel this stretch in your back and glutes.
Figure Four Stretch
The figure four stretch is an excellent stretch for your hip rotator and flexor muscles, as well as the IT band. Start by lying on your back. Keep your left foot flat on the floor and put your right foot above your left knee (on your quad). Then put both hands around your left leg and slowly pull it toward your chest.
This stretch is a popular yoga pose and is an effective move to stretch the chest, spine, and abdominals. Start by lying down with your belly on the floor. Keep your feet a few inches apart with the tops of them down on the floor. Don’t tuck your toes. Put your hands by your side and press into them, lifting your torso off the floor. You can leave your legs on the floor and or lift them slightly. If you lift your legs, press into the tops of your feet. Lift your chin and look up to the ceiling to complete the stretch.