Flexibility is the ability to extend or stretch without breaking. Medically, the term is used to describe the range of motion in a muscle or joint. Increasing your flexibility is crucial for preventing injury and it can also improve performance. Loss of flexibility can lead to permanent changes in posture and normal muscle function. Therefore, there are countless benefits for all aspects of life in maintaining and improving the body’s flexibility.
Stretching works to decrease resistance in muscle tissue. Less resistance in those muscles mean that less energy is required to move through a greater range of motion. Here are three stretches that can be incorporated into a daily routine to maintain flexibility.
• Hip Flexor/Quad Stretch: Kneel down on the floor. Bring right knee forward with foot flat on the floor directly underneath. The left knee stays on the floor. With both hands on right knee, press hips forward and lean into stretch, keeping body upright. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat three times and then switch legs. This stretch benefits hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings.
• Seated Trunk Twist: Sit on the floor, abdominals engaged, and legs extended together in front of you. While lifting your rib cage, twist to the right. Keep abs engaged and rotate as far as possible. Do the same to the left to complete one repetition. Repeat 10 times and try holding the last rep for 30 seconds. This stretch benefits the back, abs, and obliques.
• Triceps Stretch: With feet hip-width apart, raise arms overhead. Bend left elbow so your hand is in the middle of your back. Reach over with your right hand and grasp left elbow. Gently pull toward the right until you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch arms and repeat. This stretch benefits the shoulders, back, abs, and triceps.
Integrate these 3 stretches (and of course, you can add more) into a daily routine and you will be on the path to greater flexibility!