Flexibility is the ability of our body and its joints and muscles to move through their entire range of possible actions like stretching and lifting, etc. without any additional support. It goes much beyond performing isolated actions of bending down to tie your shoelaces and stretching your hand to lift an object, etc., and allows for sustained and uninterrupted movements of all our limbs.
We often wonder as to what are flexibility exercises? Flexibility exercises, also known as mobility exercises and stretching, are a group of exercises that focus on enabling your muscles and joints to remain elastic and have an unrestricted range of motion. Body flexibility exercises work by lengthening, stretching, and strengthening the targeted muscles.
Flexibility is something that we all are born with but many of us lose it due to our lifestyle choices and conditions that are beyond our control. Some of the major reasons why our flexibility reduces include: One of the major reasons for losing flexibility is the age-related loss of water in our spine and tissues that dehydrates them and reduces their elasticity. Leading a sedentary lifestyle and not doing flexibility exercises also contributes to loss of flexibility. Swelling or inflammation in the joints or the soft tissues that surround them. Fractures, injuries, or dislocations. Certain medical conditions like osteoarthritis, spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebral palsy, sepsis, syphilis, etc
Here are some of the most common indicators of reduced flexibility: Stiffness in the muscles. Pain in the joints and muscles. Inability to do the simplest of tasks. Feeling fatigued. Sensation of pins and needles in the muscles.
Flexibility exercises are recommended for everyone. Anyone who wants to enjoy physical fitness and improved cognitive functioning must follow a regular mobility exercise routine. One of the best advantages of body flexibility exercises is that they can be customised for everyone according to their age, experience of exercising, and fitness levels. The following categories of people can also do flexibility exercises: Seniors, above the age of 60 years, can do gentle exercises to improve flexibility. Pregnant women can get these exercises customised to increase flexibility to reduce body stiffness and to prepare for giving birth. Flexibility exercises can be customised into fun routines for children as young as 7 years. People who are immobile for any reason can do flexibility exercises easily. Those who are recovering from an injury or illness can do stretching exercises for flexibility. People who have undergone surgery and are recuperating can benefit from exercises to improve flexibility.
There are certain categories of people who should avoid doing flexibility exercises. These include: You should avoid mobility exercises if you are suffering from fever, cold, or flu. Avoid flexibility exercises if you are asthmatic. If you have suffered a recent injury that’s yet to heal, you should avoid flexibility exercises. Pregnant women or those who have just delivered must avoid doing flexibility exercises without consulting a doctor. High-impact flexibility workouts should be avoided by those who suffer from heart diseases. If you have undergone surgery recently and are yet to recuperate fully, you should avoid flexibility workouts. If you are fatigued, stressed, or sleep-deprived, avoid doing flexibility exercises to avoid getting injured. If you have sore muscles or back pain, avoid doing stretching exercises.
Here is a list of some of the best flexibility exercises that be done at the gym or home with minimal equipment. These include flexibility exercises for beginners as well as for those who have experience of exercising. Jumping Jacks Planks Push-ups Blackburn Lower back knee drop Dynamic side lunge Frog stretch Dead bug Calf massage Lower back mobiliser Standing hamstring stretch
Here is a detailed step-by-step explanation of some of the most effective flexibility exercises that can be done at home. We have included all types of flexibility exercises i.e. exercises for beginners as well as for those at intermediate and advanced levels. Jumping Jacks Jumping Jacks is one of the best flexibility exercises that offer a full-body workout. A superb combination of resistance and aerobic exercise, this is a great flexibility exercise at home that offers an amazing workout for your heart and lungs too. Stand straight with your arms at your side. Jump up and spread your feet hip-width apart as you bring your arms above your head. Jump again as you lower your arms and bring your legs back together. Total time: 3 seconds Total sets: 4-5 sets of 30-40 reps Planks Planks is one of the best flexibility exercises for beginners that also works on the core and the abs. This is also one of the best stretching exercises for flexibility of the spine and lower body. Start by being in a face-down position with your forearms and toes on the floor. Your elbows should be directly under your shoulders and you should be looking at the floor. Engage your abdominal muscles as you draw your navel towards the spine. Your body should be in a straight line with your heels over the balls of your feet. Hold this position for some time. Total time: 10 seconds Total sets: 4-5 sets of 10-15 reps Push-ups Push-ups is an amazing compound exercise that helps in making the muscles in your back, abs, legs, shoulders, chest, etc. flexible. It is also one of the best strength and conditioning exercises. Start this flexibility exercise by getting on the floor on all fours and position your hands under the shoulders. Extend your leg backward so that your body is balanced on your hands and toes and is in a straight line. Contract your abs and tighten your core by pulling your belly towards your spine. Bend your elbows and lower yourself until you are at an angle of 90-degrees. Contract your chest muscles and push back your hands to the starting position. Total time: 8-10 seconds Total sets: 4-5 sets of 20-30 reps Blackburn This is one of the best stretching exercises for flexibility that works on your chest and back muscles and helps with your posture. Lie on the mat with your arms at your side and elevated above the glutes. Your palms must be facing up. Start swinging your arms slowly over the top of your head while you rotate your palms. Total time: 2 seconds Total sets: 4-5 sets of 12-25 reps Lower back knee drop This is an excellent flexibility exercise for the lower back. It helps in loosening up tightened muscles and improving blood circulation. Sit on the mat with your knees bent and your heels on the floor in front of you. Place your hands behind you as your palms face down and your fingertips face your glutes. You may bend your elbows a bit. Stack both the knees one on top of the other and drop them on the left. Hold for a few seconds and repeat on the other side. Total time: 30 seconds Total sets: 2 sets of 5-10 reps Dynamic side lunge One of the best exercises to increase flexibility, this helps in improving the range of motion for your glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors. Stand with your legs wide apart and toes facing outward. Send your hips back and shift all of your weight on the right side. Lower yourself into a side lunge. Push through your right heel and shift your weight to the left side. Total time: 3 seconds Total sets: 3 sets of 15-20 reps Frog stretch One of the best exercises for mobility, this flexibility exercise works on the entire frontal part of your body from the feet to the throat. This is also one of those split exercises that strengthen your back muscles and stimulates your abdominal cavity. Start this flexibility exercise by getting down on all fours with wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Spread your knees wider than the hip-width and turn your toes outward. Slowly send your hips back between your feet. Hold in this position for a few seconds. Total time: 30 seconds Total sets: 3 sets of 20-25 reps Dead bug One of the best exercises for mobility and flexibility, Dead Bug helps in promoting the stability of your core and alleviates lower back pain. Lie on a mat with your arms extended over your chest so that they form a perpendicular angle with your torso. Bend your hips and knees at an angle of 90-degrees lifting your feet above the ground. Ensure that your torso and thighs form a right angle along with your thighs and shins. Slowly reach your left arm back above your head and simultaneously extend your knee and hip while you reach your right heel towards the floor. Reverse the movement and do the same on the opposite side. Total time: 5 seconds Total sets: 4-5 sets of 15-20 reps Calf massage This is one of the best stretching exercises for flexibility in your legs. This flexibility exercise also helps in relaxing and stretching your muscles and reducing leg pains. Start this flexibility exercise by being in a tabletop position with your wrists under the shoulders and knees under the hips. Place your left knee on top of your right calf. Gently press your knee into the calf muscle and make small circles as if you are massaging your calf. Start by massaging clockwise and then anti-clockwise. Total time: 30 seconds Total sets: 3 sets of 7-8 reps Lower back mobiliser One of the best exercises for mobility, this helps in stretching your back, improving blood circulation, and reducing lower back pain. Start this flexibility exercise by lying on your back with legs straight and arms stretched on the floor in a cross-like position. Raise both your knees towards your chest. Drop both the knees to your right and turn your head to the left. Bring your knees back to the chest and repeat on the other side. Total time: 5 seconds Total sets: 4-5 sets of 10-15 reps Standing hamstring stretch One of the best body flexibility exercises, this helps in improving the range of motion in your hip area, improves circulation, and works on your quadriceps, hamstrings, pelvic muscles, etc. Start this flexibility exercise by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your left foot and flex it towards yourself. Bend forward at your hips and place your hands on your left thigh. Bend the right knee keeping your left leg straight. Total time: 30 seconds Total sets: 4-5 sets of 7-10 reps
Being flexible is extremely critical for living healthily and leading an independent and stress-free life. Here are some benefits of having a good range of motion and flexibility: Doing stretches for flexibility helps in lengthening your muscles and the tissues that surround them. This helps in making your body more agile and improves your ability to do daily activities quickly and efficiently. One of the best mobility exercises benefits and advantage of being flexible is that you can withstand more pressure and weight. This not only reduces your chance of getting injured but also improves your athletic performance tremendously. Exercises for mobility improve your balance and coordination. This helps in preventing falls and injuries. Flexibility exercises are said to be therapeutic that induce calmness and reduce the effects of stress and anxiety. With daily stretches for flexibility, your soreness and fatigue are alleviated. This happens because through mobility exercises full body is put into action and all your muscles get stretched, warmed up, and become stronger. Higher your flexibility, stronger are your muscles. This helps in becoming overall more fit and healthy. Working towards your flexibility also helps in toning your body. When you look good, you feel better, which has a direct impact on your self-confidence.
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