A woman stretching her arms in a bed
Health

How to get more flexible? Best 6 tips

It is true that we get less flexible as we age but here’s another truth: we are NOT ALL EQUAL when it comes to being flexible. That means some kids are more flexible than others due to their genetics. I remember my mother showing me how she could still do an inversion against the wall when she was in her 40s. As a kid, I was naturally flexible, and today I am still more flexible than most of my pairs at my age. However, though it’s in my genes, my exercise history plays a big role in staying flexible. In my ballet class group, there are women in their 50s/60s and I have seen their huge progress in increasing their flexibility. You can get more flexible at any age but you’ ve got to practice.

Identify your flexibility needs

How flexible should you be? Are you able to accomplish these basic positions: deep squats, deadlifts and lunges? It is good to find out where you’ re the most stiff so that you can improve your mobility range. You should be able to perform everyday living activities without any discomfort.

One day at a time

Becoming more flexible doesn’t happen overnight. You’ve got to give yourself some time. Do not set your expectations too high especially when your goal is to be able to do the middle split. Be reasonable and most importantly, accept your own limitations. Some people have natural opened hips that enable them to open up more easily. Others have tendons and limbs that have greater elasticity. Your hips may be tighter. Be careful, you do not want to get injured from forcing stretching.

Stretch your entire body

1. Get your blood flowingLegs up the wall stretch pose

Legs up the wall pose

  • Place a small cushion under your lower back.
  • Place your feet and legs vertically, up against the wall, bringing your bottom as close as possible to the wall.
  • Lie down and rest your head and shoulders on the ground.
  • Stretch and relax your arms at your sides, hands and palms facing up.
  • Breathe deeply. Hold for 2 minutes.

Here is the comfy yoga mat I use for my daily fitness and stretching routine.

2. Warm up

It is important to warm up before a stretch to prevent any injuries.

Do some dynamic stretches: arm circles, jumping jacks, squats and lunges.

Do not squat deeply. Take it easy. This is just to warm up your muscles and joints.

3. Upper body stretch
(neck, arms, shoulders and back)

Do not stretch until you feel the pain. Listen to your body.

Neck circles

  • Tuck your chin to the chest.
  • Roll your head in a circular motion, gently stretching the muscles and ligaments of the neck.

Over head side stretch

Overhead side stretch

  • Lift your arms up overhead.
  • Hold of your right wrist or elbow behind your head and pull it to your left side, stretch your entire left side body.
  • Repeat the stretch on the other side.

Cat and Cow

get more flexible, cow poseget more flexible, cat pose stretch

  • Place yourself on your hands and knees with your hands under your shoulders and your knees below your hips.
  • The cow pose: inhaling, arch your back, lift your chin and chest and look up.
  • The cat pose: exhaling, round your back, tuck your chin to the chest, look down to the ground.
  • Repeat these two poses 5 times each.

5. Lower body stretch (hips, hamstrings, lower back, calves and ankles).

Child pose

Child pose stretch

  • Kneel down, spreading your knees wide apart, your big toes touching. You can also keep your knees and thighs together if you’ ve’ve got tight hips.
  • Exhale, your back straight, arms extended, palms facing down, slowly bow down, resting your chest on top or between your thighs, your forehead touching the floor.
  • Let all tensions in your shoulders, back, neck and arms drain away.
  • Breathe deeply, eyes closed, hold for a 1 minute.

Back flexion stretch

Back flexion stretch-get more flexible

  • Lie on your back.
  • Bring and hold both knees to your chest.
  • Bring your head towards your knees, tucking your chin to the chest.
  • Hold for 1 minute.

Side lunge stretch

get more flexible-side lunge

  • Gently squat down.
  • Let one leg and arm slide on either side.
  • Stretch your entire side.
  • Hold for 30 second, repeat on the other side.

Downward facing dog pose

get more flexible-downward dog

  • Place yourself on your hands and knees. Arms straight, hands slightly forward ahead of your shoulders and knees under your hips.
  • Exhale, slowly lift up your bottom towards the ceiling, gently straightening your legs.
  • Your back straight, pushing on your arms. Press and stretch your torso towards your legs.
  • At first, your heels don’t touch the floor but very carefully, try having them touch the ground.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

Standing quad stretch

get more flexible-standing quad stretch

  • Standing, grab your ankle and bend your knee back as far as possible.
  • Repeat 4 times on each side.
  • Hold 30 seconds.

High lunge

get more flexible-high lunge

  • Standing straight, take one step forward, bending your knee.
  • Let your other leg slide behind.
  • Lengthen your arms and bring your hands on the floor.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, repeat on other side.

Don’t forget to breathe!

Breathing deeply relaxes your muscles, your mind and releases tensions. The goal of stretching is to loosen the muscles and increase the mobility of the joints. Conscious breathing while exercising and stretching plays a very important role. Let the oxygen flow through your body. Muscles need oxygen in order to be flexuous.

Move while stretching and have fun!

The most common way of stretching is the “hold the pose” stretch but it isn’t the only way to expand. You can also move as you stretch. Simply relax and move. Stretching should feel good. Check out this video showing how you will improve your mobility when moving while you’re stretching. Move to the right, to the left, slightly bend your knees. If you feel good in a certain position, hold still for a few seconds. Let yourself go!

Be steady

It’s not by stretching once in a while that you are going to increase your flexibility. You’ve got to be persistent at it, practicing every day for 10 minutes. As your muscles become more malleable, then you can push a little further. You need to learn how to identify whether it is a good stretch or a bad stretch. A “good stretch” is when you sense the discomfort but it feels good. You feel the tension being released. The “bad stretch” is when it hurts and it stresses you out.

How long does it take?

If you have been active before and you are getting back at it, you will see results after a week. If not, it might take several weeks to see an improvement. Some areas of your body will need more work than others. You shoulders and back may be tighter than your hips, etc…

Stretching is important!

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons. It is the substance that holds the body together. Collagen forms a scaffold to provide strength and structure.”

As we age, not only our collagen diminishes but if our lifestyle is also sedentary, our body adapts to it and complies in it. When our stomach is empty, our brain sends us the message that it’s time to eat. We feel hungry. Well, when we feel stiff, it is the signal that we need to move. But unlike hunger, we don’t get as excited and motivated when it’s time to exercise. That really sucks right?? However, when we start working out regularly, our brain ends up asking for more. Exercising can even become an addiction.

In my article “why is stretching important?“, you can read about all the benefits of becoming more flexible.

Celebrate your progress!

No matter how small your progress is, be proud of yourself! It is beneficial to your overall health. It is totally worth your time.

I would be glad to hear about your experience and your thoughts, please leave your comments below!

Fityourselfbarre is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

 

You may also like...

24 Comments

  1. Joy gateru says:

    Wow what a great article, in the recent I have been trying out some Yoga hoping to be more flexible, I had tried to get reviews from YouTube and that’s what I have been using, now coming across your article, I really find it easy as all the explanation are available including images and also a video, today I am going to start with the cat pose and cow pose, Tomorrow I will back to this article to try out something else, I am sure to subscribe to your newsfeed to learn more about this and other related articles.

    Thank you.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Awwwe thank you!! so glad you’ve enjoyed so much my post and you found it helpful! Thank you!

  2. Vasilij says:

    Some of flexibility in older age is gene related, but most of it is down to lifestyle and how you treat yourself. Healthy diet and exercises you described certainly help.

    We have a guy in our football group, he’s 63 years old, but has a body at least twenty years “younger”. You wouldn’t believe what sorts of saves, he’s able to pull off (he’s a golkaeeper). Obviously he has been doing sports all his life and that is the result of that. 

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Absolutely!! Thank you 🙂

  3. Nuttanee says:

    Whenever I go for a Thai massage, all the therapists told me that I am very flexible which I am not sure what do they mean by that because I can never do a split! Thank you so much for sharing all the tips and the video is very helpful as well 🙂 I will make sure that I will practice everyday and one day at a time 🙂

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      That means you could do the split easy. To achieve this you need to stretch daily! 🙂 Thank you!!

  4. Aysha Amina says:

    Flexibility is a key point for maintaining body fitness. What a nicely explained you the point of fitness. The step and the pose too good. Yes, many people at the age of their 50s or 60s too much fit. Actually maintaining any daily proper workout makes a person fit and healthy.

    I surely follow your step to build my body flexible and energetic. I am impressed to read your article that is so much informative. The tricks and tips are interesting and helpful.  

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      So happy you found my post informative and helpful. Thank you!!

  5. Mugalu Mansoor says:

    Hello admin thanks for this great article about how to get more flexible,  it has been so interesting from its beginning to its end because by this article I have got to know that  being flexible is important to one’s health and I have also loved the tips you have provided to us plus the instructions or procedures, so am soon starting my practice. Thanks very much for this wonderful article 

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. PeterMinea says:

    Hello!

    There are many ways to keep ourselves flexible or to improve our flexibility. Some people stay elastic thanks to their fast metabolism or by eating less and making daily exercises (even walking on foot) and thus keeping themselves flexible… Others have to make elaborated, thorough exercises right the way you are describing them in your article!

    You have presented these flexibility exercises in a very detailed manner. Maybe you work in the fitness domain, anyway your 6 tips are a true lesson of fitness for people that have to put a certain struggle for having their bodies in a good shape. Persistence and continuous motivation are also needed by them, in order to not give up after a certain time!

    Congratulations for keeping fit and have good luck!

    Peter

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Thank you!!

  7. julzdk says:

    I like that you are so encouraging to us, some of us really need it now and then. My flexibility is progressing at a super slow rate but I openly admit I do not practice as often as I feel I should. I keep making excuses not to do it. Not anymore, I am going to take the next step and I will be practicing every day now. Thanks for inspiring me!

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Be consistent, one day at a time. Thank you!

  8. manuel says:

    It seems all these tips are suited to women because I don’t see any picture of a man trying to become flexible. The body structure of a man is different from that of a woman so I am wondering if these tips can still easily be used by men and would they get the same results women get when they follow these tips.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      These exercises are both suitable for women and men.

  9. Ronan says:

    Hi Anne – Caroline,

    A really great and informative post on stretching!

    Stretching is one of things I need to do more of. I’m so used to sitting at a computer desk all day and I can feel it takes it’s toll on my lower back.

    I really like the lay against the wall stretch!

    Easy enough to do and it seems it has some excellent benefits to it….definitely doing this before bed tonight!

    Is there any stretches that really target the shoulders? I have shoulder pain every now and again and it feels like it needs a good stretch.

    Thank you for sharing

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      yes the child pose is good for your shoulders. Thank you!

  10. Travis says:

    My coworker was telling me that I needed to work on my flexibility, so I am glad that I found this page! There are lots of good techniques on here, and laid out step by step so even a beginner like myself should be able to follow the instructions. Thank you for the help, I am going to start these ideas soon, so please wish me luck!

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Yes these exercises are good for beginners. Good luck!

  11. Moi MOI says:

    Bonsoir Anne-Caroline,

    Excellent article sur les effets benefiques de cette technique.

    J’apprecie le fait que ca s’apparente a une danse corporelle.

    Est-ce ton envie que c’est supportable pour des femmes qui ont es problemes de dos ?

    Aussi, existe t-il un equivalent pour les hommes a votre connaissance. 

    Je ne suis plus aussi actif que par le passe quand je pouvais jouer au tennis et des sports plus intensifs.

    MErci, bonne journee.

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      Les exercises sont aussi bons pour les hommes que pour les femmes! Merci!

  12. Antonio says:

    Hi Caroline-Anne

    Thank you very much for an interesting article. It is always good to be flexible to avoid potential problems as we age. The biggest crux of the problem is as we become less flexible we are more likely to hurt ourselves in trying to become flexible. I  am 44 years old and still quite flexible, can touch the floor with my fingertips with my feet together and legs straight. Could do it whilst young and still can do it now. I know people half my age that cannot even touch their toes.

    I find the exercises to be useful and will try to incorporate them into my daily routine. How do you measure progress?

    Thanks

    Antonio

    1. Anne-Caroline says:

      That’s pretty good if you can touch your toes! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *