Benefits of Flexibility Exercise

by The Cooperative
You may be wondering, what is flexibility exercise? Flexibility exercise is an exercise that stretches your muscles and can help your body stay flexible. It is often referred to as stretching. Incorporating flexibility exercise into your physical activity routine is important to improve freedom of movement for exercise and everyday activities.
In addition to general physical activity, there are many health benefits of flexibility exercise such as increased range of motion for muscles, prevention of injury or pain, improved athletic performance, and improved functional abilities such as reaching or bending. Stretching is also a great way to help relax your body and mind and improve mental health. 
It is recommended to start your stretching routine with a warm-up that gets blood and oxygen flowing to your muscles so they can stretch farther without tightness or pain. After a few minutes of walking or another warm-up, you can start stretching. If you are doing endurance or strength exercises, you should stretch afterward. 
Breathing regularly and stretching slowly and smoothly as far as you can comfortably without causing pain is important. Once in the desired position, you should hold the stretch for 30 seconds. If you are starting out, you can hold the stretch for 10 seconds and eventually work up to 30 seconds once you are comfortable. You should do each stretching exercise 3-5 times for optimal results.  

Here are 4 tips to add flexibility into your regular routine:

  1. Start your day with gentle stretches: Set aside 5-10 minutes every morning to stretch your body before starting your day. Some simple stretches include touching your toes, stretching your arms above your head, and rotating your neck.

  2. Take a stretching break: If you work at a desk or spend long periods sitting down, remind yourself to take a stretching break every hour. You can do some seated stretches like a forward fold or spinal twist to help loosen up your body. 

  3. Incorporate yoga into your routine: Yoga is a great way to increase flexibility and strength. You can find online yoga classes or tutorials that cater to your skill level and schedule.

  4. Join a stretching or flexibility class in person or online: Look for a stretching or flexibility class at your local gym or community center. This can be a great way to learn and incorporate new stretches into your daily routine.

Flexibility exercise should be included in your exercise routine to allow for more freedom of movement during exercise and everyday activities. Stretching regularly will help decrease pain, soreness, help prevent injury to muscles, and improve your mental health. There are various flexibility exercises to choose from so you can change up your stretching routine to keep it interesting. 

By: Coach Mariah

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