A great stretch session will of course increase your flexibility, but you’ll also energise the body, calm the mind and realign your entire body so you have less risk of suffering an injury.
Becoming flexible isn’t as involved as committing an hour a day to a stretch session. All it takes are a few tips and a bit of time to devote to improving your flexibility. Before you know it, you’ll see big results!
1. Drink water
Being properly hydrated is so important not only for your health, but your flexibility too. When we’re hydrated our nerves glide smoothly when we move and stretch.
We do it anyway without thinking (obvs!), but when we become conscious of our breathe, amazing things start to happen. Not only will it be great for your stress levels and lowering your blood pressure, but focusing on your breath can actually improve your flexibility too. Exhaling as we deepen a stretch will help you to stretch further.
If you’ve sat down on your mat and all you’re thinking about that deadline at work and how you’re going to fit into your LBD by Saturday, the benefits you get from stretching will be no where near as good compared to when you focus. Clear your mind as soon as possible when you start stretching.
Like anything we want to see results in, we must make a regular commitment to practice and bettering ourself. I’m not saying you need to do an hour a day, every single day. I’m just saying if your goal is to touch your toes, then 5 minutes every so often won’t really do it. That’s why I made my pilates stretching series under 15 minutes long. Short and sweet = easy to commit to.
5. Control the level of intensity
If the words ‘no pain no gain’ come to your mind when you think of stretching then you’re up for a nasty injury. With stretching, I tell my clients that we look for a 3-5 out of 10 with the level of intensity. It shouldn’t make you need to hold your breath and you should easily be able to hold the stretch. If it feels too much and you start shaking, then ease it off a bit and that should make all the difference.
6. Use a foam roller or a spiky ball for myofascial release
Imagine your muscles have a glad wrap like covering (fascia), if this is tight sometimes it feels impossible to get flexible. That’s why I recommend having regular massages or using a foam roller/spiky ball every so often. The two go hand in hand. Just find a sore spot and work around it. Remember to control the intensity so you feel like you’re getting results, not so you’re in pain.
If you want to find more out about stretching and becoming flexible with ease, then download my free Pilates based flexibility guide.