041120 How to Improve Your Flexibility? Part two of two
By Brad Walker
Improving flexibility is right up there with cardiovascular health and strength training if your goal is to stay fit and healthy, and be able to move your body freely.
Below are 7 tips to help you get the most out of your flexibility training, and help you improve your range of motion even if you’re stiff as a board and have never been able to touch your toes.
1. Minimize Injuries
Injuries can be a big hurdle in achieving ultimate flexibility. Whenever you get injured, that area of your body will tighten up as a protective mechanism to limit further damage. If you want to maximize your flexibility, work hard to get rid of all injuries, including tears, sprains, strains, and especially aches, pains, niggles, twinges, and sore spots.
2. Prepare for Stretching
You will experience the best results when you prepare your muscles prior to stretch exercises. To do this, use subtle joint manipulation and gentle mobilization exercises before a stretch session. These may include shaking, vibrations, massage, joint rotations, or foam rolling.
3. Muscle Strength impacts Flexibility
Strength and flexibility are interlinked. Your muscle flexibility is dependent on the strength of that muscle. To put it in simple terms; your body won’t let a particular muscle go past a certain level of flexibility if it’s not sure about its strength.
Muscle strengthening is crucial for joint stability. If your joints are weak and lack adequate, they can’t achieve the level of flexibility an otherwise healthy joint could.
4. Types of Stretches
There are two main types of stretches, namely dynamic and static.
Dynamic stretching is great for warming up and helping athletes who do sports involving fast ballistic type of movements. However, it is not highly effective for improving flexibility. Static stretching, on the other hand, is the go-to option for improving your flexibility as well as ROM. These are stretches that are held for a certain amount of time (about 30 seconds is ideal).
5. Stretching Variety
It is common to get stuck in a rut of doing the same old stretches you’ve always done. Try to mix up your flexibility training with as many different stretches as possible. Don’t fall into the trap of doing the same stretches every day, as you may develop imbalances that could lead to injury.
6. Best Time to Stretch
After exercise, as part of your cool-down, is one of the best times to stretch. Your muscles are warm and pliable, which makes it easier to stretch and reach new levels of flexibility.
Another great time to stretch is just before going to bed, as the increased muscle length is the last thing your nervous system remembers before falling sleep. Sleep is also the time when your muscles and soft tissues heal, which means your muscles are healing in an elongated, or stretched position.
7. Sleep, Nutrition, and Hydration
Like any other aspect of health, proper sleep, balanced nutrition, and adequate hydration are fundamental for good flexibility and overall fitness. Eliminating processed food and cutting down on unhealthy meals will help you achieve your goals of flexibility. Try to get at least 8- 9 hours of sleep a night, and above all, take care of your mental and emotional health.
With stretch training, just like cardiovascular and strength training, the most important thing to remember is consistency. Follow the tips above and maintain a consistent stretching program over the long-term. For 100’s of stretching exercises that you can incorporate into your existing exercise program, visit StretchCoach.com
About Brad Walker
Brad Walker is an internationally recognized stretching and sports injury consultant with 30 years of practical experience in the health and fitness industry. A Health Science graduate of the University of New England, he has postgraduate accreditation’s in athletics, swimming, and triathlon coaching. He has worked with elite level and world champion athletes and has lectured for Sports Medicine Australia on injury prevention.
Brad has written many health and exercise books including several international best-sellers, including: The Stretching Handbook; The Anatomy of Stretching; and The Anatomy of Sports Injuries. His stretching and sports injury articles have been published in numerous health and fitness magazines and extensively online at sites such as About.com, Athletes.com and BodyBuilding.com.
See more here on his Amazon page
See more here on his Amazon page https://www.amazon.com/Brad-Walker/e/B001JOUA3S?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1597770145&sr=8-2