How To Be More Flexible

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Can you touch your toes or do the splits? Unless you're freakishly flexible or have been training your flexibility for some time, it's not a natural thing for the average adult to do.

But it isn't impossible. With a little regular training, you can limber up your body and be more flexible and bendy. Why would you want to do that? Because flexibility is key to building a strong, healthy body that can carry you through the years. After all, who wants to be a hunchback in old age?

Here's how to build your flexibility:

1. Be a yogi

Yoga has to be one of the best ways to improve your flexibility. There are so many asanas that will stretch and elongate your muscles; the trick is to do a little bit each day for gradual improvement.

Always remember to breathe into each pose, with long, deep diaphragmatic breaths.

Try a low lunge (anjaneyasana), forward bend on one leg (parsvottanasana), standing forward bend (uttanasana), and downward dog (adho mukha svanasana). Ask your yoga teacher for instruction, or look online for instruction photos and videos.

2. Always warm up

When we don't stretch and warm up our muscles, they shorten. Add a high-impact workout on top of it, and you're likely to finish with tight, sore muscles. This can actually hamper our flexibility over time.

So always warm up and stretch before any activity. Most exercise experts now say holding long stretches isn't necessary; you can dive straight into gentle movements such as squats, lunges, planks, and push ups. This gets your body fired up and build your flexibility.

3.Always cool down

It's just as important to stretch after a workout as before. Especially if you have been lifting weights, since your muscles will be tight and need lengthening. Target muscles used during the workout, as well as hip flexor and quad stretches, lunges, and any other areas that feel tight.

4 Get a massage

If you ever needed an excuse to indulge in regular massage , it's this: a massage releases tension in tight muscles and tissues. Incorporate foam rolling into your workout (before and after is best), and see a professional massage therapist to keep things moving and release tightness.

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