Do you wish you were more flexible?
Do you spend a good hour scanning through Instagram? Hoping and wishing you were able to do what other people can do with their bodies?
The hard truth of flexibility…
Flexibility is one of those things that many of us wish would happen overnight. That one day, we would just wake up and be able to do a backbend into an over split and practically be able to do anything from Cirque du Soleil.
Unfortunately, becoming flexible takes a lot more time and effort than that. But, the great thing is that it doesn’t have to take hours and hours out of your day. I mean, you can if you like, but you don’t have to.
Many professionals, pole fit performers, gymnasts, aerial performers will dedicate 2-4 hours a day to stretching.
Have a read of our tips to help with your flexibility.
- WARMUP – This is most important. You can go further in your stretches if you have warmed up properly and it also helps prevent injury.
- PATIENCE – Like I said earlier, flexibility and being flexible doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, so don’t put yourself down if you aren’t able to do your splits within one week of stretching.
- REST – Just like when you do a workout or fitness class, your body needs to rest. It’s the same with stretching. Your muscles are still working hard and especially if you have done a hardcore session you will need to let your body recover and rejuvenate itself afterwards.
- PLAN – Make time during your day/week for stretching. Whether it’s just 5 or 10 minutes in the morning or before you’re about to go to bed. I like to take about 30 minutes to an hour after my fitness/pole classes as I’m still warm from the session and stretch the main areas (legs for splits, back and shoulders).
- INSPIRATION – Look for inspiration on social media. Instagram and Youtube are great sources for stretches and yoga flows for you to use. You can of course, participate in Yoga or Pilates courses or even invest in a DVD for at home sessions.
- BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS – Sometimes it’s really hard to keep track and notice your progress, so before and after photos are perfect for acknowledging your progress and achievements!
If you’d like to know more and even get your hands on a bonus tip or two, keep reading!
Just as you would before a workout, run or fitness class, always warmup. Some people think that they don’t need to warmup before stretching, a flexibility or yoga session. But, you are going to go much further in your stretches and you’re less likely to injure yourself if you are warm.
Like they say: “Good things come to those who wait”. Take your time and don’t rush. Just like if you weren’t to warm up, you are more likely to injure yourself if you rush and listen to your body. If it hurts, pull off from the stretch slightly but, also remember to stay in the stretch for as long as you can. Don’t put yourself down either if you’re not able to do the splits within a week. Flexibility is one of the hardest things to make happen, it takes persistence, patience and time. You will start to see a slow graduation but, don’t be disheartened if you’re not progressing as fast as you’d like to.
Again, just like in between your fitness class and gym session, you will need a rest day or two. Your body and muscles need time to repair and recover. If you push your body too far without a break, your muscles and joints will suffer from overuse. Without proper your rest your immune system can’t catch up on all the repairs your body needs which will result in injuries.
Make time for your stretching throughout your week. Whether it’s 5-10 minutes in the morning/before bed or an hour or two. Even a small 10-minute session every other day is more beneficial than none at all. I also like to wake up 15 minutes before I need to get up and ready for my day and do a small yoga/stretch flow. There is always time to stretch and sometimes it even helps you to get ready for your day or for your bed!
Social media is an amazing source of information, especially when it comes to fitness. There are millions of people on Instagram who post daily workout/stretching and yoga videos which can be easily replicated at home! If you’re like me and are more motivated by being in a group session than at home, maybe consider going to a yoga class or investing in an at home DVD to follow.
6. BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS
Make sure you take before and after photos and during as well. You can really track your progress this way and can reflect on how far you’ve come. These are perfect to have if you are lacking in motivation and feel as though you’re not progressing. Refer to your before pictures and really think about how far you’ve come and where you are when you started compared to now.
Let us know how you get on with your stretching and flexibility!