Improving your range of motion can have many benefits. Better circulation, better respiration, and reduced muscular skeletal pain. Also it’s easier to pick up things with your feet and put them in your hands. Ah yes, having increased flexibility means more movement and less pain, but how does one go about increasing their flexibility?
Focus On Your Breathing
When I first began training in the martial arts flexibility was an important part of my regimen since I began training in my early 20s. Breathing was one of the key factors that helped me to achieve relaxation and increased muscle elasticity. Muscles won’t stretch if they’re tense, so your body has to be the complete opposite. You must clear your mind of any distractions and feel your muscles loosen up little by little. You must always maintain a steady breathing pattern, and it should feel great and relaxing to stretch out a tight muscle.
Stretch A Bit Longer
Typically when stretching to achieve that next level of flexibility you want to be able to hold each stretch for about 30 seconds. During the first 10 seconds your muscles are becoming accustomed to the stretch, which is how long most people will hold a stretch for if they’re preparing for a jog. After the few initial seconds you begin to feel the muscle loosen and give way, which means the muscle is relaxing and lengthening. Good posture and deep, relaxed, steady breathing are a must for stretching muscles the proper way and preventing any kind of injury.
Try a Little Yoga
I like to write about yoga often and there is a reason for that. There are so many benefits to doing this exercise that I can’t list them all, so I’ll give you a few awesome key points. Yoga has been shown to have a positive effect on pain, stress management, and overall well being. On top of that, yogis have some of the best flexibility and you can maintain it for a lifetime if you keep up with dedicated practice. You are also strengthening the bone and muscle, which can be great for women who may experience bone loss or pain from conditions such as osteoporosis or osteoarthritis. Fella’s don’t worry, there’s benefits for us to do Yoga too, and it just might get rid of that low back pain!
Martial Arts Training
Karate, Kung Fu, Mixed Martial Arts, they all have their strengths and uniqueness. However, one concept that is common in all martial arts is body conditioning, which includes stretching and flexibility. When the muscles are loose and more relaxed, you are able to deliver more power with each strike. Just know that you are never too old to start training, and it’s more about finding the right martial art exercises for you as you age. Tai chi is a great martial art because it allows you to improve your flexibility as well as your physical and mental health. Kids and teens that begin martial arts training early will find it easier to maintain flexibility as adults. Find a local class where you live and just take the first step.
This is just a small introduction into helping you improve your flexibility. Increasing flexibility is a slow process that takes months so do try to rush it overnight because it won’t happen. I treat patients with many types of different ailments and they all benefit from increased range of motion. Besides, freedom to move is a basic human right, and if you could do a little each day to maintain that right, would you?
Before starting any stretching or workout regimen check with your healthcare provider.
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