Why Being Flexible is Great for Your Health
Did you know that most people give up on their new year's resolutions before the end of January, and only 9% see their resolutions through until succession. The most common reasons for these dismal statistics is setting too many resolutions, which can be overwhelming, and trying to make major lifestyle changes, which is extremely difficult and can quickly become discouraging.
Experts suggest starting small by focusing on one or two specific changes that are doable. For instance, instead of resolving to lose 20 pounds, try changing one unhealthy eating habit, such as eliminating sugary drinks or salty snacks. Instead of resolving to run a marathon or hit the gym every day for hours, try adding a simple walking routine and some daily at-home exercises.
Studies show that when you achieve small goals, you're more likely to keep going, building onto your success. in fact, success creates dopamine in the brain, which reinforces the habit and helps ensure future success!
May We Suggest a Healthy, Doable Resolution?
While all forms of exercise are valuable, stretching your body to become more flexible offers many physical benefits. Stretching your muscles and joints helps increase your range of motion, improves balance, and increases flexibility which can reduce pain and make other exercises more effective. Consider the following benefits:
5 Benefits of Flexibility
Fewer injuries - Flexible muscles and joints can withstand more physical stress, so you're less likely to incur injuries when you perform daily activities or workout. Flexibility also corrects muscle imbalances making your body less prone to injury.
Less pain - Tight, inflexible muscles are a common source of aches and pains. When your muscles are lengthened and supple, there is less tension which causes stiffness and pain. You may also experience fewer muscle cramps. In addition, studies show that stretching can lessen overall tension, help you relax and improve sleep.
Better balance - When you increase muscular flexibility your posture also improves because you correct imbalances and achieve proper body alignment. With improved posture, comes better balance. Greater range of motion also helps improve balance.
More effective workouts - When you increase your flexibility and range of motion, you'll be able to perform better physically, making your exercises more effective. Muscles that are loose and supple work more efficiently.
How to Improve Flexibility
By adding some simple stretches to your daily routine, you can become more flexible and reap the benefits listed above. Stretching can be done as part of your workout or any time throughout the day. Why not try some stretching while watching television or to relieve tension and stiffness during the workday with short breaks? Ideally, stretching should be done every day for at least 20 minutes, but even a few days a week can make a difference.
Here are few general guidelines to keep in mind, as recommended by the Mayo Clinic:
Focus on major muscle groups. Concentrate your stretches on major muscle groups such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Make sure that you stretch both sides. Also stretch muscles and joints that you routinely use or that you use in your daily activities or workouts.
Don't bounce. Stretch in a smooth movement, without bouncing. Bouncing as you stretch can injure your muscle and actually contribute to muscle tightness.
Hold your stretch. Breathe normally and hold each stretch for about 30 seconds; in problem areas, you may need to hold for around 60 seconds.
Don't aim for pain. Expect to feel tension while you're stretching, not pain. If it hurts, you've pushed too far. Back off to the point where you don't feel any pain, then hold the stretch.
3 Great Stretches
There are many great stretches, so how do you decide which ones to incorporate into your daily routine? If you're working with a physical therapist, that's a great place to start! If not, try stretches that focus on problem areas such as lower back stiffness or neck tension. In general, it's best to focus on major muscle groups as noted above. To get you started, here are three great stretches to try:
1. Two Knee Spinal Twist
This stretch works the spine, abdominal muscles, and trapezius (muscles along upper back and shoulders).
Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest.
Extend your arms to the side with your palms facing down.
Slowly drop your legs down to the left side, keeping your knees together.
Breathe deeply and focus on letting go of tension.
Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds and up to 1-2 minutes.
Repeat on the opposite side.
2. Glute and Hamstring Stretch
This stretch works the large muscles in your glute (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of thighs).
Start by lying on your back.
Raise your legs into the air at a 90-degree angle.
Bend one knee outward, so your ankle is resting on the opposite knee.
Place your hands behind the straightened knee and bring it closer to you.
Hold the pose for 30 seconds and then switch legs.
3. Glute Bridge
This stretch helps stretch your hip flexors.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor about hip width apart.
Gently tighten your stomach muscles to help flatten your back and prevent strain.
Tighten your buttocks as you push your hips up toward the ceiling.
Hold for a few seconds and repeat.
What if You Can't Get Down and Up from the Floor?
Many people have difficulty getting down and up from the floor, which makes these simple stretches hard to do - if not impossible. No worries - we have a solution!
The PhysioBoard is a lightweight, yet sturdy board that transforms your bed into an effective exercise surface. Simply place the board on any bed, do your stretches and/or exercises and then remove it when you're done. Unlike bulky exercise tables, the PhysioBoard can easily be stored behind a door or in a closet.
People who have used PhysioBoard call it a "game changer." It's transforming the way people exercise. Read what actual users have to say:
Don't let your inability to get down and up from the floor prevent you from staying flexible and fit. Turn your bed into an effective exercise platform with PhysioBoard!