How stretchy are you?

Flexibility as part of Fitness

When we talk about fitness we often think aout the number of reps of weights you can do, or how many miles you can run, or lengths you can swim. However, fitness and wellbeing are a far more all-encompassing notion and one of the most important things to consider in a holistic approach is flexibility.

At NuBeginnings we often find that people never consider flexibility, when they think of fitness. However, when you think about it – what use is being able to run ten miles if you can’t bend down and pick up an item off the ground? Flexibility is one of the pivotal and most important parts of fitness and your whole approach to exercise should include it.

So here are some basic tips for flexibility. Stretching is very important for exercise and also wellbeing and though yoga is a wonderful workout, even simple stretching can help you to achieve reasonable flexibility.

  1. Before stretching you should warm up muscles with a little walk or a jog – stretching cold muscles will cause problems and can increase the chances of pulling them.
  2. The best way to stretch is to do so from the top down or from the bottom up. This ensures that you don’t miss out or overlook an area. The top part of the body requires you to stretch your bicep, triceps, back, neck and chest area. The bottom part should also be covered and it is necessary to stretch the core, hips, hamstrings, quads, calf, ankle and foot areas to ensure maximum flexibility.
  3. When you do stretch each and every one of these areas, you should ensure they are held for a minute. Never stretch further than you feel comfortable with and never to discomfort. Hold stretches for between 40 seconds and a minute and remain consistent as any jump or sharp movement can cause a pull of muscles.
  4. With time you will become more flexible and will be able to stretch further. This means you should time push yourself a little further but never to pain as you become more flexible.
  5. One common problem is that people don’t tend to breathe when they stretch and many even hold their breath. Try and be aware of the air you breathe when stretching and focus on even, deep breathing.
  6. A very common reasons for stiffness in muscles is dehydration. Try and ensure that you stay hydrated as otherwise your muscles may become stiff and you may even cramp. Follow this rule and stretch regularly for best results.
  7. Of course, if you want to take stretching to the next level, Yoga can be a great help and increase flexibility significantly.

At NuBegininnings we like to offer the all-round approach and of course stretching is part of our programme.

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