Many of us work and this consumes a lot of our day. While working we try to eat healthily and move more to increase our physical and mental health. But often we become so engrossed in what we’re doing that we forget about our posture and this can lead to stiff necks, back pain and even sciatica if we sit for long periods without movement. The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. There are 5 ways to increase your flexibility and improve your posture, along with your physical and mental health. Let’s look at these now.
Trying to look after your posture by being more flexible helps you to improve muscle elasticity and to reduce at work fatigue. Many flexibility movements are easy to do, and they can be done at work. This approach reduces stiff neck, back aches and pains and gradually improves your posture when carried out regularly.
If you’re looking to boost your flexibility even further, combine the ways that we’re about to share with you with daily walks and visits to your chiropractic care practitioner. Your neck, back and posture will thank you. Plus, over time your physical and mental outlook on life will improve so that you have a spring in your step and you feel more energized.
Ways To Increase Your Flexibility #1 Static Stretches
Static stretching is a tried and true method of increasing body flexibility. It involves stretching warm muscles and holding the stretch to the point of tension for 20-45 seconds. A short, brisk walk is a great way to warm up your muscles before stretching.
At first holding a stretch may seem challenging. So it’s important for you to start out with a hold that feels comfortable. For instance, a 10 second hold may be appropriate for you the first time and then the next time aim for a 12 second hold. It’s also recommended that you move slowly into a stretch with a fluid movement and not one that’s jerky.
HOT TIP – By gradually getting your muscles used to stretching they will lengthen. This approach reduces muscle tightness and fatigue, increases range of motion, and it helps you improve your flexibility. You’ll begin to feel that it’s easier to move and bend with less difficulty.
#2 Target Muscle Groups
Target all major muscle groups if you want to be more flexible. Focus on areas of your body, such as your hips, legs, abdomen, shoulders, neck and back. By stretching specific areas will let you develop the flexibility of these regions even more, along with your range of motion. Plus, you’ll reduce muscle pain stiffness, and stress, and increase blood flow. Just remember not to over stretch.
HOT TIP – Just because you can touch the floor doesn’t mean you are increasing the flexibility of your neck or back. If you have back or neck stiffness, look to do individual stretches for these areas to reduce muscle fatigue.
Ways To Increase Your Flexibility #3 Variety Rules
Mix it up when you stretch. Rather than just static stretching look to include yoga, Pilates and other forms of stretching into your flexibility training. Dynamic stretching and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) can ensure your body is able to move through its full range and they strengthen muscles while increasing flexibility.
HOT TIP – If your sitting at your office desk and can feel your hips, back or neck muscles tightening to the point of pain, then try dynamic stretches where you move your hips from side to side in your chair for a few minutes. You can then try a static stretch where you move your hips to the left and hold, before doing the same on the right.
#4 Warm Up
Use dynamic stretches such as bending down and touching your toes several times or rotating your hips to warm up muscles before you go to work. Then when you’re at work you can do static stretches where you stretch a muscle and hold. Your stretching is going to be much more effective if you follow this approach.
HOT TIP – Look to stretch areas of your body when you feel fatigue creeping in. This methodology reduces muscle stiffness and soreness and helps to increase your range of motion.
Ways To Increase Your Flexibility #5 Listen To Your Body
Listen to your body. When it comes to any kind of training, you shouldn’t push your body to the point of discomfort. If you feel pain, then stop. You need to safely and effectively improve your flexibility and stretch only to the point where you feel muscle tightness. Any further than that and you’re putting yourself at risk of injury.
HOT TIP – If a movement hurts, then your body is telling you to stop or that it needs to move and try a different position. Listening to your body lets you cater to its needs so that you improve your health rather than hinder it.
Ways To Increase Your Flexibility Key Takeaways
There are many ways to increase your flexibility and improve your posture. The key is to find what works best for you and your body, and for you to listen to what your body is telling you.
Just to recap, 5 ways to increase your flexibility include:
- Static stretching – where you stretch a muscle and hold this pose for 20-45 seconds. This type of stretching is best done when your muscles are warm to gain maximum benefit.
- Targeting muscle groups – focus on stretching specific muscle groups to increase flexibility.
- Variety rules – incorporate different types of stretching into your day to really activate your muscles and alleviate stiffness and soreness.
- Warming up – use dynamic stretching to warm up and static stretching after you’re warm.
- Listening to your body – lets you deliver what it needs when it needs it without pushing it over its limits.
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