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Mon, May 14, 2018 | Fitness

Improving Your Flexibility

I incorporate flexibility into each programme I write for my clients. This, alongside mobility work, is a key area that I believe everyone should aim to improve. Not only does it benefit your performance of all other exercises and movements in your programme, but it also improves your ability to move in everyday life. Even the simplest movements require flexibility such as getting out of bed or sweeping the floor!

Improving your flexibility will directly improve your overall performance during physical activity. It will also decrease your risk of injury by helping your joints to move through their full range of motion and encouraging your muscles to work effectively during exercise.

The easiest way to improve your flexibility is stretching. There are many benefits of stretching such as stress relief (exhale as the muscle lengthens in order to assist relaxation) and improving your posture by balancing the tension you develop in daily life or during your workouts.

There are two different types of stretching; dynamic and static. Dynamic stretching means your body continues to move throughout the stretch. Try to incorporate dynamic stretching before your work out. This will help to warm up the joints, maintain your current flexibility and reduce muscle tension. It can also prepare you for more explosive movements and ‘wake up’ the mind-body connection, especially if you’ve been sat at a desk all day!

Static stretching is used to overcome the stretch reflex in order to widen your range of motion. This is done by holding the stretch gently for 20 seconds and repeating 2-3 times. This is great after training because your body is already warm and loose, so it’s less likely to cause an injury.

Here are a few pictures of different stretches to help you introduce flexibility and mobility work in to your workouts:

Stretch 1 – Straddle: stretches the inner legs, back and spine

Stretch 2 – Upward Dog: opens up the front of the body and is good for the hips, abdominals and chest

Stretch 3 – Pigeon Stretch: stretches the gluten, lower back and spine

Stretch 4 – Overhead Squat Side Bends: stretches the adductors, obliques and neck

Lydia Batt

Want to find out more? Whether your goals are to lose weight, build muscle or just start leading a more healthy lifestyle, get in touch with Lydia and the rest of the Starks Fitness Team and find out how you can start getting fitter today; info@starksfitness.co.uk

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