Stretching – 3 ways to build flexibility
By Paula Mitten owner of Durga Yoga Studio.
Most people in the western world need to build their flexibility. Day to day activities create patterns in the body that, over time, restrict range of motion. Flexibility can be reduced through different sports and hobbies or equally so from a sedentary lifestyle such as sitting at a desk all day or long distance driving. Whatever has caused patterns in your body there are lots of ways to unravel muscle tightness and build flexibility.
Here are three different types of stretching that you can introduce into your daily routine that will help you to build flexibility.
1. Dynamic stretching
This is stretching through movement and can be anything from simple shoulder rolls or cat cow movements of the spine to bigger movements such as that of yoga Sun Salutations. Moving the joints in many different directions and gradually stretching out the muscles can be a great way to increase your flexibility.
2. Static stretching
Static stretching involves longer holds where you stretch a muscle or muscle group for anything from 5 breaths to numerous minutes. It is a good idea to start with a little dynamic movement before holding various positions for longer deeper stretches to benefit fully from static stretching.
3. Facilitated stretching
Facilitated stretching is also known as resistance stretching. You come into a stretch as you would with a static hold but then you resist the stretch by pressing in the opposite direction. You hold the stretch, whilst resisting it, for 5-10 breaths before completely relaxing the muscles. You can usually then go a little deeper into the stretch and repeat the process.
Consistency is key!
I like to combine all 3 types of stretches for maximum benefit but don’t forget that, whatever form of stretching you choose, consistency is key. Spend a few minutes everyday on increasing your mobility and you will notice a huge difference very quickly.
As the well known phrase goes, “you don’t need to be good to start, but you need to start to be good”. This is the truth when it comes to your flexibility, however tight you think your muscles are, you need to start working on your flexibility to improve it.
You can join Paula in Durga yoga studio, Maynooth, where she teaches weekly yoga classes. Check out www.durga.ie for a full timetable or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.