Flexibility exercises can really help relieve stiffness in your back, neck and other joints of the body. You can literally go from waking up feeling stiff as a board, to being able to touch your toes again in no time. While you may think that stiffness is part of getting old, that isn’t necessarily the case. You just need to try some good old fashioned stretching.

If you are feeling like your muscles are bound up you can easily stretch them with safe and easy exercises. There are actually only a few instances that muscles are rigid and stretching is impossible. If you have severe arthritis or another serious condition that prevents exercise, consult your doctor. Most people actually have more flexibility than they think. You may just need to begin slowly and work up. There are well over 20 flexibility exercises you can do, but here is a few to get you started.

Why Are Flexibility Exercises Needed?

Improving Your Everyday Movement

Being flexible takes a little work. You may be flexible naturally, but most people need to stretch. Stiffness can set into the hamstrings, back, shoulders, neck, and knees. This can leave you feeling like you can’t move to do anything you need to do. Here are a few benefits of stretching:

  • Stress relief

  • Improved performance and reduced injuries

  • Better circulation

  • Better coordination

  • Less pain in your lower back and other areas

  • Better posture

Slowing the Aging Process

When you stretch your muscles, you improve the blood flow to them. You also improve the blood flow back to your heart and brain. You will notice after you have stretched that you feel better and lighter. You will also notice less tension and stress in your body. Improving circulation can actually slow the aging process and help you move better.

Note: Before Starting Flexibility Exercises

  • Always warm your muscles up before any exercise

  • Only stretch as far as you feel comfortable

  • Never hold your breath while stretching, breathe in while stretching

  • Stay in position for about 10 to 30 seconds then release the stretch

  • Stop stretching if you feel any type of pain or tightening

  • After you stop stretching, shake the limb you were stretching

  • Do 2 or 3 stretches in one position before doing a new stretch

8 Most Effective Flexibility Exercises

Here are a few examples of flexibility exercises that are easy and can be done in your own home. Some may require a sturdy piece of furniture to either sit on or hold onto for standing stretches.

Neck Stretch

  • Sit down with your shoulders straight forward

  • Lean your head ear first toward the shoulder

  • Repeat this move to the other side

  • Bring your head back up and turn your head to look over one shoulder

  • Repeat this move looking to the other side


Shoulder and Chest Stretch

  • Either kneel or stand

  • Place hands behind your back and clasp them together

  • Lift your hands up toward the ceiling

  • Bend at the waist while raising hands behind you

  • Hold this position, and then come back up slowly


Standing Side Stretch

  • Place both feet on the floor in a standing position

  • Clasp your hands overhead, interlacing fingers

  • Inhale and reach up to the ceiling

  • Exhale and bend your body to the right

  • Hold and breathe in five times slowly

  • Come back up slowly

  • Repeat to the other side


Seated Back Twist

  • While sitting on the floor, place your legs straight out in front of you

  • Take your right knee and pull it up, placing your right foot across the left knee

  • Place your right hand down on the floor

  • Place your left elbow on top of your left knee

  • Rotate your upper body to the right while inhaling

  • As you exhale, twist your body even more to the right

  • Hold for five breaths

  • Release to center and repeat with other side


Bound Angle

  • Sit with your legs straight in front of you

  • Bend your legs at the knees and make your feet touch at the soles

  • Allow your knees to fall toward the floor while placing your hands on your shins

  • Stretch your chest forward while exhaling

  • Put your palms flat on the floor and hold for five breaths


Quadriceps Stretch

  • Place both feet flat on the floor and hold something sturdy in front of you

  • Grab one foot behind you

  • Pull up on your foot trying to touch it to your bottom

  • Hold 30 seconds

  • Grab the other foot and repeat action 3 times on each leg


Hamstring Stretch

  • Place both feet on floor while standing

  • Slide one foot forward, while shifting your weight to the back leg

  • Bend the knee on the back leg, keeping your weight to the back

  • Push your bottom back and up

  • Hold for 10 or more seconds then release


Calf Stretch

  • Stand with your feet one in front of the other

  • Straighten the back leg and stretch your heel to the floor

  • Push heel back and hands flat on a wall in front of you

  • Switch legs and repeat


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