If you’re concerned that you can’t bend over and touch your toes, relax. Flexibility isn’t a natural ability. No one is born exceptionally flexible.
Flexibility is a discipline that requires practice. It’s also something you can build over time.
Wondering how to improve flexibility? You’re not alone. As we age, our bodies require more work to maintain flexibility.
Getting in the habit of stretching every day will help you to increase flexibility. Consistency is the key when you’re working on improving flexibility. You can’t just do it once a week or once in a while.
In this article, we’ll provide the tips you need to increase flexibility fast using flexibility stretches designed to target all of the major muscle groups.
How To Improve Flexibility Fast
Improving flexibility is something that is vital to the health of all types of bodies. The benefits of stretching apply to everyone. Fortunately, getting started with flexibility exercises is easy.
All you have to do is start! Let’s take a look at a few tips for how to get in a stretching routine that will ensure you improve your flexibility in as short a time as possible.
Begin and End Each Day With Static Stretches
What do human beings naturally do when we wake up in the morning? We stretch our arms over our heads, yawn, and struggle to get out of bed. People of all ages start their day with the natural instinct to stretch.
The key is to turn that into an actual routine. When you get out of bed in the morning, find a little bit of space and do a few static stretches to warm your body up for the day.
A static stretch is a stretch that holds a muscle in a stretched position for a longer period of time – usually 20 to 30 seconds.
Stretching in the morning increases your blood flow, which improves how your body functions throughout the day. A good morning stretch can also help to relieve tension or pain from sleeping.
Likewise, stretching before bed helps relieve the tension you carry during the day. It also helps your body rejuvenate during sleep.
Perform Dynamic Stretches Before and After Exercising
Dynamic stretches are different than static stretches. While static stretches focus on holding a stretch in one muscle group, dynamic stretches involve continuous movement.
A dynamic stretch can take your muscles and joints through a full range of motion. Dynamic stretches are typically more vigorous than static stretches.
Stretching is an important way to prevent your muscles from tensing up and sustaining sports injuries. When muscles are tight, they are much more susceptible to tearing and straining.
Massage Your Muscles a Few Times Each Week
Many people experience knots in their muscles. Knots cause pain and make stretching more difficult. These knots are actually adhesions on the fascia (connective tissue) that covers your muscles.
To combat adhesions, you can incorporate myofascial massage into your weekly routine to release the tension in your muscles. You can do this using foam rollers, muscle rollers, or massage guns.
Best Leg Stretch
Our favorite leg stretch is the Calf/Hamstring Stretch. This is because the hamstrings and calves bear the brunt of the work your legs do during the day.
Here’s how to do the calf-hamstring stretch:
- Begin by placing one foot in front of your body
- Bend over at your waist and lean your torso forward toward your extended leg
- At the same time, bend your supporting knee
- Flex the ankle of your extended foot for a deeper stretch
- Hold for 30 seconds
Return both legs back to center. Repeat the stretch with the other leg.
Best Arm Stretch
The Tricep Stretch is a great arm stretch because your triceps are the major muscle group in your arms. In fact, your triceps account for about 70 percent of your arms.
To perform a tricep stretch:
- Stand with your legs hip-width apart
- Roll your shoulders back
- Extend one arm out to the side and bend it at the elbow
- Touch the palm of that hand to the middle of your back
- Lift your other arm behind your neck
- Use the second arm to apply pressure to the elbow of the bent arm
- Hold for 20 seconds
Release your arms from the stretch position. Repeat the stretch on the other side.
Best Back Stretch
Seated Twists are an excellent way to stretch your back and improve flexibility in your spine. They also feel incredible! If you work at a sedentary job, it’s a great idea to incorporate seated twists throughout the day.
You can do a seated twist like this:
- Sit on the floor
- Stretch your legs straight out in front of your body
- Place your arms behind your back with your fingers facing away from you
- Place your left foot flat on the ground on the outside of your right knee
- Inhale and raise your right arm up in the air
- Exhale and lower your right arm
- Place your elbow on the outside of your left leg
- Twist your chest, head, and eyes toward the left side of your body
- Hold for 60 seconds
When you finish the stretch, bring your head back to center, followed by your chest. Then repeat the stretch on the other side.
Best Side Stretch
When it comes to side stretches, we love the Overhead Side Reach. It’s a great stretch that lengthens your spine and completely stretches both sides of your torso.
Here’s how to do an overhead side reach:
- Stand with both feet shoulder distance apart
- Place one hand on your hip for balance
- Reach the other hand over your head
- Stretch your raised arm up and over your body so you feel the stretch along the full side of your body
- Hold for three to five seconds
When you finish the stretch on one side, switch to the other side. The best method is to keep switching sides.
Best All Body Stretch
For the best overall stretch, we recommend the Forward Fold. The forward fold is great because it stretches your arms, legs, neck, and spine at once.
Here’s how to do it:
- Start by standing with your feet together
- Bend your knees a little bit and fold your torso over your legs
- Make sure you bend at the hips and avoid using your lower back
- Hang your arms next to your body or place your hands on the floor next to your feet
- Inhale and extend your chest to lengthen your spine
- Direct your gaze forward
- Press your legs into as straight of a position as you can within reason
- Avoid hyper extending your legs
- Exhale and extend your torso downward
- Extend the crown of your head downward
- Draw your shoulders together and down your back
- Hold for as long as is comfortable
When you finish the stretch, slowly roll your body back up the standing. Then repeat the stretch.
How to Increase Flexibility Takeaways
People who want to know how to improve flexibility need only do one thing: incorporate stretching into your daily routine. Once you get started stretching regularly, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you increase flexibility.
If regular stretching isn’t enough to relieve your body of pain and tension, the best thing you can do is reach out to a licensed chiropractor.