When it comes to fitness, cardio and strength steal the spotlight. But what about flexibility? This is defined as a joint’s range of motion. The more flexible you are, the easier it is to move around. Flexibility also helps your body stay aligned through the day, limiting pain and injury. Flexibility is as important as your strength.
Stretching To Increase Flexibility
Stretching is the best way to maintain flexibility. You can do this with yoga, Pilates, and repeated exercises. But, if you want a more “abstract” take, try movement flow.1 This unconventional practice is the perfect way to switch things up. Movement flow involves fluid, continuous exercises. They smoothly transition into each other, unlike the structured traditional reps.
Can’t remember the last time you stretched? No worries. Stretching also increases flexibility – even if you’re on the stiffer side. This is useful as we age, as joint motion decreases over time. The tissue in between bones become less elastic, but any kind of stretching helps.2
Below is a simple movement flow. This is a basic beginner version, so don’t feel locked into each step. The point is to keep it organic and natural. Let your body move freely! At the same time, concentrate on safely moving around. Think of these positions as a guide. During the flow, you might even discover a new movement that speaks to you.
Movement Flow For Flexibility
1. Four-Legged Crawl
This is the easiest way to start. It’ll get you in the mood, especially with some background music playing. See where your body takes you.
- Get on all fours.
- Walk around, forward or backward, side to side.
- Go in a different direction whenever it feels right.
2. Limb Stretches
At any moment, stretch out an arm or a leg. Swiftly move into
- While on all fours, stretch a leg up or out.
- Reach your arm out for a deeper stretch.
- Arch your back in between or during stretches.
- Repeat as desired.
3. Upside-Down Kicks
Don’t worry, cartwheels aren’t necessary. Simply kicking up your legs will add power and strength to your flow. If you can do a cartwheel, go for it.
- While on all fours, plant your hands on the floor.
- Kick one or both legs up.
- Repeat as desired.
4. Upside-Down Four-Legged Crawl
This one is like an upside down crab walk. Again, transition in a smooth and swift manner.
- While on all fours, lift an arm and its corresponding leg.
- Move it up and over, landing on the opposite side.
- Here, your front side will be facing the ceiling.
- Stretch your legs up or out.
5. Lunge Stretches
Nothing beats a good lunge. This move will stretch your hip flexors, thighs, and pelvis.
- After stretching your leg up, bring it back down and stretch out.
- Keep the other leg bent.
- Swiftly move deeper into a lunge.
- Stretch your arms up or out. Move them in circles, forward or backward.
For a boost of energy, add jumps to your movement flow. This will make you feel powerful and strong. Make sure you are not near any walls or furniture while jumping.
- At any time, pop up into the air.
- Jump straight up or separate your legs.
- Spread your arms out, up, or in circles.
- Upon landing, move right into a stretch.
Like jumps, kicks bring in a powerful touch. Kick in any direction. For a nice thigh stretch, do it as high as you can.
- While standing, kick up one leg.
- Go forward or backward.
- Kick sideways in either direction.
At any time, don’t be afraid to stretch out your arms or move your torso. Spin, hop, and skip around. Alternate between fast and slow. Playing instrumental music will help fuel the flow. But, most of all, have fun with it.