The winter months keep us indoors more than usual, which often means more couch time, more time in bed, and less mobility. Less movement affects the body in more ways than one, but one hindrance is in your flexibility!
If you’re feeling less limber these days and not your best, bendy self, consider these four pro tips to improve your flexibility:
Tip #1: Stay hydrated – Make water your permanent best friend! Water forms a large part of your muscle composition. In order for your body and its muscles to respond to stretching, working out, and flexibility training, you need to drink water throughout the day.
Tip #2: Relax – Do not confuse relaxing with taking a nap or sitting on the couch. Why? Well, oftentimes, when people are taking downtime, they are also consumed with stress, overthink, or nurse their fears. Instead, take time to relax by being mindful of your triggers. Peace is priority! Otherwise, stress can cause your body to tighten up. And when your body is tight, it will not be at its most flexible state.
Tip #3: Know when to stretch—Did you know that pre-exercising stretching is to prepare you for your workout, not necessarily to improve your flexibility? If you want to improve your flexibility, one of the best times to stretch is about two hours after your workout. By that point, your muscles will have had time to adjust and recover, which makes it easier for your body to position itself for new levels of flexibility.
Tip #4: Prioritize your emotional health and nutrition—Incorporating water (consistently) in your life is a pro tip to increase flexibility, but it is actually part of a package plan. Good emotional health and good nutrition coupled with water are key for flexibility. Consider eliminating processed foods from your diet as well as foods loaded with preservatives. When eaten in excess, your body becomes sluggish. Try to get eight consecutive hours of sleep each night to contribute to a sounder state of emotional health. When your mind and body are at their optimal state, your body will respond accordingly.