1. How to Gain Flexibility — Most people who start a fitness program overlook the importance of maintaining flexibility.Flexibility is just as important for a person who regularly exercises as it is for the person who sits behind a desk doing an office job.
2. Deciding Which Muscle Groups to Work — Stretching exercises should be done before any workout or strenuous activity. If the concern is not overall flexibility but merely preventing injury, an exerciser only needs to stretch the muscles involved in his or her workout.
3. Things to Do Before Beginning any Exercise — Stretching routines are a necessary part of any exercise routine. Working only with the muscle groups used during the workout will prevent those muscles from becoming sore, but it only takes an extra minute or two to incorporate all of the body’s major muscle groups into a workout routine.
4. Stretching Exercises – Stretching exercises are not hard to perform, but the exercises for each group need to be properly for maximum benefit. The Neck, shoulder, waist, lower back, and quadriceps groups have stretching exercises to benefit each group. Knowing how to perform stretches properly is essential.
5. Neck Group — To stretch the shoulders in the neck, rotate the head fully around the shoulder with the head tilted at a slight angle. The face should be facing forward the whole time. (Otherwise people might think you are trying to imitate the full 360 head rotation from The Exorcist.)
6. Shoulder Group — To stretch the muscles in the shoulder gate, you should tend with your feet set apart about shoulder width. Clasp your hands behind your back and bring the arms up slowly to the point of discomfort. Lower the clasped arms again and repeat the arm raising several times.
7. Waist Group — Stretching the waist muscles involves a pose adopted by many aerobics instructors and in addition to stretching the waist muscles, it does provide cardiovascular exercise. Start in a standing position and raise one arm over your head. Lean to the other side until you can feel the muscles being stretched. Repeat this process for the other side of the body.
8. Lower Back Group – This exercise is similar to touching your toes, but your knees start in a slightly bent position. Keeping you back as straight as possible, bend slowly over and try to touch the floor with your fingertips.
9. Quadriceps – To stretch the muscles in the leg stand against a wall. Raise the leg that you want to stretch and grab the foot. Lower the heel until you can feel the muscles stretching. Do this several times and then switch legs
10. To make Stretching Even More Effective – While stretching your muscles before a workout is good, doing the routines after taking a warm bath or hot shower produces better results. Warm water makes the body more pliable in general.
11. Who Should Be Concerned About Flexibility — Athletes may be more concerned than the rest of us about their physical fitness prowess, but even if you are only a weekend warrior who goes out to play softball or some other sport of your choice, stretching the muscles before engaging in any form of strenuous activity can help relieve muscle pain and soreness.
12. Making Flexibility a Lifelong Concern — Flexibility is one of the many fitness areas that we lose as we age.Much like not getting enough exercise can lead to other health complications, losing muscle flexibility affects our mobility as we get older.Simply engaging in cardiovascular workout and occasional weight training alone is not enough to keep yourself at peak physical condition.