How you sit, stand and move through each day plays an important role on your joint movement and flexibility. If you've noticed that you tend to be more rounded in the front of your shoulders, sooner or later your neck and upper back becomes tight, and your movement in the shoulders becomes limited. Flexibility - is an increased range of motion with in our joints. It is important that we continue to be flexible to perform everyday activities. Tasks like reaching to grab something off a shelf, bending over to pick something up, getting out of the car or simply yet, driving. I know what you are thinking; 'I could never touch my toes' or 'I have been inflexible since my youth'. However with a simple plan and a short-term goal you will be bending and reaching in no time at all.
It would be wise to start with an exercise prescription:
- To significantly improve flexibility, you must overload your muscles by stretching them beyond their normal limits
- Stretch frequently and for long periods of time
- Your intensity level would be to the point of mild discomfort, however be sure you can hold the position correctly
- You need to hold the stretch for at least 10 - 60 seconds in length
- Most importantly don't hold your breath, make sure you breath long and deep
- I would recommend that you do 3 -5 repetitions of each stretch, at least 3 days a week
- The answer to your plan is to come up with a short-term goal. Write it down and look at it every day. Tell your family and friends. If you get off track- re-evaluate your goal and start again. Its that Easy!
Here are a few stretching ideas to get you started:
- Sit and Reach. Simple sit on the floor and reach forward. Don't worry about how far you reach just hold the stretch long enough so that you feel the legs start to warm up.
- Single Leg Stretch. With one hand, hold onto something stable, like a table or chair, then with the other hand reach back and grab your other leg. You could start by using a belt or rope to help you lift up that back leg. Don't forget to do both legs.
- Upper Body-Chest Stretch: Stand in a doorframe, stretch out both hands on opposite sides of the walls, and walk your upper body through the door. Be sure to lift your head and neck to provide a full chest stretch.
- Neck Rotations: This is a great stretch to release tension in the upper back and neck area. Sit nice and tall in a chair and look to your left, then look to your right and be sure to hold each side for several seconds. Then you will look down with your chin to your chest.
Improved flexibility can have a beneficial effect on both your physical and psychological well-being. Take the challenge; your rate of progression will amaze even yourself.