Flexibility is extremely important, and offers several physical benefits. People who are flexible have a better range of motion, can perform physical tasks more easily, and are less prone to injuries. And yet, some people are more flexible than others; we’ve all seen those super-bendy people who can effortlessly stretch to touch their toes and do splits. But don’t fret! If you’re on the less stretchy side, so to speak, there are some things you can do to improve your flexibility.
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Eating the wrong foods can cause inflammation, while eating the right ones will typically reduce it. This is a simple equation, but it has a lot to do with how “loose” you feel and how well your body is primed to function! The more inflamed your body is, the harder it is to stretch –– and thus the harder it will be to improve your flexibility. By combining the right types of foods, you can reduce inflammation and find yourself better able to practice flexibility.
If you’d like a few ideas to start with, Forbes points out that grapes and berries have particularly wonderful anti-inflammatory properties that help muscles and joints recover from exercise. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, can also help improve the mobility of joints. And fruits high in vitamin C, like oranges, help the body recover quickly from strenuous exercises.
Stretching is great for everyone –– not just athletes or those who exercise frequently. When you stretch, you are increasing blood flow to your muscles. This prepares them for activity, which is why it’s so commonly recommended to stretch before exercise. However, regular stretching also serves to improve you general flexibility on a day-to-day basis. You’ll improve your range of motion and keep your muscles from contracting, such that you find yourself better able to move and stretch as you like.
To some extent, any stretches will help you make progress –– though there are some muscle groups for which the practice will be particularly effective. Specifically, SymptomFind recommends stretches that work the upper leg, upper arm, and back muscles –– which together will get you a long way toward better flexibly.
3. Eliminating Excess Fat
While fat and flexibility are not mutually exclusive, many find it easier to practice relevant stretching and exercises with less fat “in the way.” Our previous article on the ‘10 Ways To Get Rid Of Belly Fat’ points out that exercise combined with eating healthy food are some ways of slowly trimming fat. Incidentally, this basic combination of exercise and eating healthy is also key to becoming more flexible.
In the long run, as you eliminate fat, you will also lose weight and enjoy a more flexible body.
Stretching once, or eating salmon once, will not magically make you more flexible overnight. Consistency is crucial, and this means making it a habit to stretch every day (if possible), establish regular healthy eating habits, and develop an exercise routine. It will take time, maybe weeks or months, to stretch out your muscles and increase your flexibility. But in that time –– with proper habits –– you’ll feel real results and feel better for it.
5. Living An Active Lifestyle
Living an active lifestyle is about more than exercise. It also means staying on the move. You can take a daily walk around the neighborhood, hike up a trail, ride a bike, enroll in a fitness class, or simply dance on the weekend; you can even start taking the stairs at work if you normally ride in an elevator, or stand while you wait for a coffee order rather than sit. Engaging in various activities that will involve some form of movement will be good for you and your body, and will help to keep your muscles from contracting and “tightening” too regularly.
When you’re not flexible, it can see almost impossible to get there –– to touch your toes, do a split, or whatever your goal may be. The simple steps outlined above will result in fairly speedy progress however, and once you feel some improvement you’ll realize that you can in fact become flexible.