The majority of people don’t consider themselves to be flexible, so when we see someone do the splits, we’re envious. What we don’t realise it that flexibility can be trained, and is not just about doing contortions and being the bendiest in the yoga class. It’s about improving the flexibility of our tendons, ligaments and muscle fibres through targeted exercise, which can help prevent nasty injuries and future aches and pains.

Today we’ll show you how to stay flexible at home. Sign up now to find out more.

 

What is flexibility?

Flexibility is the capacity of your body’s tissues to stretch in movement. A joint’s range of movement not only depends on the elasticity of said tissues, but is also one of the factors that can exert a negative influence.

With age, our tissues lose collagen and become more rigid. Sedentary lifestyles also impact negatively on joint mobility. Women theoretically have greater flexibility, as their bodies are designed for pregnancy and birth, but with age, their loss of elasticity is the same as men.

However, training continuously with flexibility exercises that strengthen and improve the stretch of your body tissues, together with the right diet, can help you to improve your muscular flexibility and allow you to make a greater range of movements without risk of sprains or fractures.

 

Types of flexibility

To train your body’s flexibility you should focus on:

  • Static Here, you stretch your muscles and tendons by yourself, without movement, in a fixed position. Each stretch should be held for at least 20 seconds.
  • Dynamic This involves moving exercises that require a minimum number of repetitions and that increase in strength and intensity. This is also called active flexibility.
  • Passive or assisted flexibility, used in recovery following surgery or paralysis, where a person or machine manipulates the joints externally.

 

So that you can start training at home, here are:

8 flexibility exercises:

  1. Back twists. Sit on the ground, with your right leg stretched out. Bend the left leg and cross it over the right. Place your left arm on the bend knee and push with your elbow to twist your back. Feel the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
  2. Sit. Stretch your right leg and bend the left, bringing your foot towards the groin. Stay balanced. Lean forward and try to touch your toes. Switch legs.
  3. Thighs and hips. Lie face down. Bend a leg and catch your foot with the hand on the same side. Pull as much as you can without lifting your thigh from the floor. Switch legs.
  4. Let’s increase the difficulty. Catch your foot from behind and pull until it touches your head. Don’t lock the knee of your other leg to avoid over stretching, and stretch your free arm out in front of you for balance.
  5. Lower back Stretch one leg and hug the other by grabbing your knee and pulling it to your chest. The outstretched leg should not lift from the ground. Change legs.
  6. Abductors Sit on the floor. Stretch your legs as widely as possible and lean forward, without bending your legs. Stretch your arms and try to get a little lower.
  7. Stride on sofa. One leg comes forward, as in normal strides, with the leg at 90 degrees and the other stretched out behind, but resting on the sofa or a chair. This is a difficult position to maintain. Hold and then change sides.
  8. The bridge. This is a yoga position that stretches the spine, chest, neck and shoulders. Lie on the ground face up with your knees bent. Lift your pelvis and torso up to your shoulders. Stretch your shoulders down towards the floor so that they stay well supported. Look at the ceiling with your arms stretched out and resting on the ground.

 

Combine flexibility exercises with static and dynamic stretches, remembering to always warm up properly to avoid injury.