Flexibility is often an overlooked workout goal. Those who are sitting for long hours or rarely stretch are at particular risk for tightness. You see, stretching helps improve circulation, posture as well as decreases joint rigidity and muscle stiffness.
Here are some of the common forms of stretching to improve your flexibility.
One of the most common forms of stretching. Passive stretching is what have been taught to us when we were kids before basketball games, karate matches and so on. You stretch a body part into a pose and maintain it with the assistance of another body part. Holding one arm across your chest and stretch it back with the other is a passive stretching.
This kind of stretching requires you to hold a particular position and maintain it exclusively with your muscle strength. Active stretching poses are typically done for about 8 to 10 seconds.
This static stretching strengthens and lengthens your muscles. One common way to perform an isometric stretch is to apply resistance with your own limbs. Sit down, stick your left leg out, place the bottom of your right foot on the inside of your left leg, bend forward, touch your left foot with your hands and apply pressure. This stretching of your leg muscles helps build muscle strength.
This form of stretching helps improve athletic performance and decrease risk of injury. It is different from passive stretching as you don’t maintain an elongated and motionless stance for a period of time. Rather, you gradually increase tempo and reach as you move your limbs and body. Such stretches include leg lifts, kicks and lunges.
This type of stretching uses your body's momentum in an effort to extend your range of motion. In the past, martial artists and gymnasts have used this form of stretching. However, experts argue that ballistic stretching could lead to injury if not done properly.
Other Ways to Improve Flexibility
Get a massage. Deep muscle techniques are designed to eliminate problems in your body that can reduce flexibility. A standard massage can help as well as it will increase circulation to the muscles, allowing them to repair any damage.
Use a hot tub or sauna. The heat of both can relax your muscles and aid flexibility. This method should be used in conjunction with other methods.
Remember, whatever your physical fitness goal may be, you must not forget about improving your flexibility. It plays a major role in your strength and overall fitness.