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5 ways to improve your flexibility

23 May 2023 23:00PM by Vanessa Hatton-Riveiro - Yoga Activist

triangle pose

Flexibility is important. Not only can it help with the overall balance in your body, it will improve your posture and reduce potential injuries. Whether you’ve always dreamed of doing the splits, or just want to get low enough to touch your toes, we’ve got 5 top tips to help you on your way to a more flexible body.


Try static stretching 

This type of stretching involves holding a position for a specific amount of time to lengthen the muscles and connective tissues in your body. Static stretches include things like quad stretches and hamstring stretches which you typically do after a workout or as part of a warm up. But, there’s no reason why you can’t stretch whenever you want. 

Holding positions for 30 – 45 seconds will give your muscles time to get used to the hold. Repeating these moves over time will help to increase your range of motion. But, remember, you should only stretch to the point where you can feel the stretch. Don’t force anything – you should never be in pain.

If you struggle to motivate yourself to stretch alone, why not try a Virgin Active Yoga Align or Calm class? These styles of Yoga are designed around holding positions for elongated periods of times (sometimes up to 5 minutes!). Your instructor and class mates will be there to motivate you in the session, and you’ll leave the class feeling looser and accomplished. 


Add in more movement

Many of us sit down for the majority of the day. Whether that’s at a desk for work or spending your evenings watching a good series, having long periods of sitting down can mean our bodies get stiff and rigid. 

To counteract this, make sure you take regular walks throughout your day, or even stand up at your desk if that helps.  
 

 

Try dynamic stretching with Pilates (or Yoga)

Pilates (mat and reformer) and Yoga moves are often dynamic, meaning you are stretching your body whilst doing gentle movements. Dynamic stretches like glute bridges, lunges and bodyweight squats, mean your body is repeating moves. These moves are designed to test your range of motion and can also help you with improving your balance and control. 

Our Pilates and Yoga classes last for between 45-60 minutes and by the end of it, you will feel more flexible. Especially if you’re a regular.

 

Hit the sauna 

As if you needed another excuse to use the sauna… The heat of the sauna will help to relax and lengthen your muscles as well as make you more calm. This can reduce joint pain and increase the flexibility of your muscles. And, it will also get rid of lactic acid build up after a workout. 

 

Keep it consistent 

Using all these tips, and regularly, will help you to improve your flexibility. Why not add a spa session onto the end of your weekly lifting session? Or top up with an extra Yoga class? You’ll also find that by improving your flexibility, your form will improve when lifting weights as you’ll be increasing the range of movement in your body (for example, you’ll get lower in your squat position.)

…And make sure to track your progress! 

This is an important way stay motivated on your journey to a more flexible you. Set a benchmark for yourself. Find a way to measure how flexible you are currently (memorising, or with a marker for example), and set a goal of where you want to be. You’ll gradually be able to see how much you’re improving and getting closer to the goal you set yourself – motivating you to keep up the work. 

We look forward to seeing where you get to! 
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