Being flexible declines as you age; unless you commit to a regular stretching routine. Exercises to increase your flexibility should be practiced almost every day; even if it is one spine-lengthening move from yoga. A long and supple back will do more for your health than all the situps in the world according to eastern traditions. Perform stretching exercises for 20 to 30 minutes a day for at least five days a week to increase your flexibility.
Static and Dynamic Stretching
Incorporating stretching into your daily routine will help increase your flexibility. Stretch your entire body for at least 10 minutes of stretching per day. CNN Health notes that stretching can help prevent injury and may even improve circulation and increase blood flow. Static stretching is the most common form of stretching and involves stretching and holding a stretch for a specified period of time. Dynamic stretching, an example of which would be walking lunges is an effective way to warm up before aerobic activity. This kind of stretching increases your heart rate and prepares you for your workout. Both static and dynamic stretches are valuable in different ways.
Gaining strength by lifting weight can actually make you more flexible. According to fitness author Pavel Tsatsouline, a stronger muscle is more able to relax into a deeper stretch and does not contract as hard as a weaker muscle. The idea is that stronger muscles can go through a deeper range of motion and therefore aid in flexibility. Combining stretching with weight lifting can create even more pliable muscles.
Performing yoga can aid in flexibility in addition to balance, strength and range of motion. Yoga involves getting into poses that challenge the body and stretch muscles. Hatha yoga poses are held for extended periods of time making muscles stronger and more flexible; while some Kundalini yoga poses are performed repeatedly and with vigor for up to two minutes. Both kinds will increase your flexibility; but it just depends on what kind of routine you want to practice on any given day.
Pilates is another workout and conditioning routine that aids in flexibility and strength. According to Teens Health, Pilates involves a series of mat exercises that focus on the core or torso. Teens Health says that Pilates focuses on using your body weight for resistance and getting into different poses and exercises to train the body. These poses challenge the muscles making them stronger and more flexible.