Flexibility workouts function to improve a person’s range of motion. These exercises also allow the muscles to stay pliable which reduces the risk of injury.
Flexibility workouts often involve stretching and similar activities. All of the major muscles should be stretched when doing a flexibility workout. This includes the calves, thighs, hips, back, neck, and shoulders. Any muscles that feel tight or are commonly used in your profession or at home should also be stretched.
Most stretches can be done without specific equipment. An exercise mat can make floor stretches more comfortable. Straps can be used to extend stretches but should be used with caution so not to stretch too far and cause injury. Other aids are also available, mainly for back and leg stretches.
Cost: $0 to $15
Your largest purchase before beginning a flexibility workout will probably be a comfortable mat, like one used for Yoga or Pilates.
Activity Locations: Home or Gym
You’ll be most comfortable performing your stretches at home or at the gym, but most stretches can be comfortably performed outside.
Types of Movements
The most common way to increase flexibility is stretching. This should only be done after a proper warm up for otherwise the muscles are more likely to tear. Usually flexibility is used for five to ten minutes before starting another type of workout.
Pilates and yoga are also used in increasing flexibility but are described further in other articles. All stretches should be done slowly and gently. You should be able to feel the stretch but not pain. To stretch, move a joint slowing toward the end of its range of motion. Once this is approached, you should feel a gentle pull. Each stretch should be held between ten and twenty seconds in order to allow the muscle to lengthen. Do not stretch to the point that there is pain as that is counterproductive and can cause injury.
Mental and Physical Requirements
One of the only things that may prevent you from beginning a flexibility workout routine is an existing injury or serious medical condition. Even those not fit for physical activity can safely begin a simple flexibility workout to prepare their bodies for more rigorous physical activity.
- Comfortable Clothes
- Exercise Mat
Mental and Physical Benefits
- Improved Mood
- Reduced Anxiety
- Decreased Stress
- Improved Self-Esteem
- Improved Focus
- Weight Loss
- Improved Immune System
- Better Cardiovascular Function
- Increased Resilience
- Decreased Blood Pressure
Flexibility workouts are anaerobic. This means that their goal is not to increase the body’s oxygen efficiency and the heart rate does not increase significantly. More specifically, a typical flexibility workout will not elevate your heart rate to it’s target heart rate and maintain that level for a consecutive 20 minute period.
Increased flexibility can assist an individual in their ability to feel more relaxed and to reduce their stress level. Mental focus can also be improved through flexibility routines, especially those which involve focus on breathing.
Stretching can also help prevent sports injuries. Respiration can be improved by increasing flexibility in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Stretching also can improve circulation. The increased blood flow to the muscles is useful in healing injuries.