How flexibility exercises could be the missing link in your workout regime
Injury prevention, decreased pain and improved physical performance are all possible benefits of improved flexibility
Are you feeling a bit stiff and sore? If you’re brushing off your discomfort as an unavoidable symptom of advancing age, think again. Muscle tightness or stiffness caused by decreasing flexibility isn’t something you need to learn to live with. In fact, choosing to add flexibility exercises to your lifestyle is thought to positively affect your body in many ways.
Maximising your flexibility means you are likely to have less injuries, less pain, improved posture and balance, increased strength, and better physical performance. Flexibility – or how much your muscle can lengthen – significantly affects your overall mobility. Made up of your strength, coordination and balance, your mobility is simply the ability you have (or haven’t!) for your joint to move through a complete motion. If your joints do have a wide range of motion, you can enjoy optimal physical and functional performance with little pain and discomfort. Essentially, performing stretches allows you to be more mobile which is one of our main treatment goals.
So, here we share how you can improve your flexibility and what flexibility exercises can help.
How to improve flexibility
Your level of flexibility is influenced by your age, bone size and structure, connective tissues, and body bulk. Whilst these are fixed physical factors, you can still reduce the level of muscle stiffness or tightness you experience by committing to regular exercise and daily stretches. Here’s a few ideas how you can include flexibility exercises during your day:
- Make a habit of completing a sequence of stretches at the same time each day. Whether it’s during a routine task (like waiting for the kettle to boil), or you set a reminder alarm on your phone; building this repetition into your daily schedule will help form a reliable pattern in your life.
- Ensure you complete a comprehensive stretching program (not just a quick warm down) at the end of your workout.
- Join a class at your gym that focuses on stretching your body. Body Balance, yoga, pilates, barre, or flexibility classes can all help you incorporate routine stretching into your lifestyle.
Stretches for flexibility
To improve flexibility in your body, try to incorporate regular exercise and daily stretching in your lifestyle. Dr Greg Sher has recorded numerous stretching videos that you can watch on our YouTube channel to help get you started. Here’s five of the most common problem areas:
To help: Ease muscle tension in your neck from sitting in front of a computer with these postural exercises.
To help: Relieve arm and forearm tension from device typing and texting.
To help: Ease tension in your shoulders and upper back from poor posture when standing or sitting.
Mid Back and Chest Stretches:
To help: Relieve stiffness in your pectorals (chest) and rhomboids (upper back) from deskwork.
Lower Limb Stretches:
To help: Release tension in your psoas, glutes, piriformis, quads, adductors, hamstring group and calf/achilles.
Before commencing any exercise program, you should consult your GP or other health care professional. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or if you feel faint, please stop exercising immediately. Call 000 if symptoms persist or you start to deteriorate.
At Sydney Spine and Sports Clinic, we put you first. We believe in offering chiropractic care that enables you to make informed and educated choices about your health. If you are suffering pain and would like to talk to us about how we can help you get mobile and active again – get in touch right here.