If you are in your forties and beyond and touching your toes is something you gave up trying to attempt back in your twenties, then rest assured, it’s not too late to focus on steps to improve your flexibility and mobility.
As we enter our forties and beyond, we begin to feel little niggles, aching joints, and tender trigger points so it becomes ever increasingly important to take steps to improve your flexibility.
The exercises you choose to do in your weekly workouts combined with nutrition, hydration, and lifestyle choices can and will have a major and longlasting impact on your mobility and flexibility.
You don’t have to tie your body up in knots or bent-over toe-touches for hours a day in the vain hope that this will somehow improve your mobility and flexibility.
Improving your flexibility is crucial for more than just preventing injury. In fact, flexibility and mobility training is an important aspect of gaining strength and size.
Most employees spend the majority of their day stuck in their office hunched forward over a computer further deteriorating any chance at proper posture.
Outside of just preventing injury, having better posture helps to show off the muscular physique you worked so hard to build.
Proper flexibility and mobility also go hand in hand with a full range of motion exercises like squats and deadlifts.
Having tight hips and shoulders can inhibit proper form and limit your fitness, so finding ways to improve your flexibility and mobility should become something that you keenly focus on.
Are you ready to improve your flexibility and mobility?
Rather than taking a haphazard approach to improve your flexibility, if you incorporate the following set of rules into your training diary then you should expect to vastly improve your range of motion and overcome any poor posture issues.
1. Dynamic warm-up prior to working out
The days of stretching before exercise are largely over. Research continually demonstrates that static stretching isn’t as beneficial prior to working out as dynamic stretching.
Before starting your workout session, go through some bodyweight movements like squats, lunges, push-ups, side lunges, and jumping jacks.
Perform three sets of each movement for 20–30 reps to warm up your entire body.
This type of warm-up should leave you in a light sweat ready to tackle your workout.
2. Prioritise full range of motion
Make it a point to perform each exercise through a full range of motion to reap major flexibility benefits.
Going to full-depth on squats, for example, helps to build hip flexibility.
Here at Healthy Glow PT Studio in Woodvale, we always recommend working at a full range of motion with lighter weights when you learn a new exercise or movement before using external loads such as dumbbells or barbell and launching straight into a working set of a new exercise. Never let your ego get in the way.
3. Learn to breathe properly
Whilst working out, many of us breathe too shallowly and use our rib cage far too much to breathe. As a result, we do not engage our diaphragms optimally.
To resolve this we suggest you focus on breathing deep belly breaths where the belly button moves in and out with each breath.
Spend five minutes a day working on improving breathing for a more relaxed and stress-free posture. You can do this standing or lying on your back as per the photo above.
4. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water
Up to 60% of our body is made up of water, which much of this being in our muscles.
In order for our muscles to respond to flexibility training, it is important that we are properly hydrated. In Australia a huge 80% of adults suffer chronic dehydration, drinking only 1.29ml per day on average.
This is is well below the 2.5 (for males) and 2.0 (for females) that is recommended by most leading health organisations.
To resolve this, focus on consuming more water, especially during and after hard exercise sessions to keep your muscles working optimally and steer clear of health issues due to dehydration.
5. Follow a workout with light static stretching
Dying to hold some stretching positions? By all means, feel free to throw some traditional static holds into your post-exercise routine
These longer-duration stretches help to lengthen muscles that were tightened up during the lifting session.
Along with any muscles hit hard during your workout, also focus on the chest, lats, and hip flexors, as they tend to be tight on most individuals due to daily posture.
6. Make sure you take time to relax
Walking is a great example of a relaxing activity
Stress causes your body to tighten up into one huge ball of knots. Combine the normal stress from work and family with a bunch of hard sessions in the gym a week, and you’re looking at a recipe for disaster.
Find a few times a week to engage in a relaxing activity to help you unwind.
Walking, light yoga and massage are all great examples, but it could be as simple as heading out on a short walk to unwind from your day.
Taking time to de-stress will help to relax your body and prevent muscles from tensing up and restricting movement.
7. Treat yourself to regular massages
Stretching and training with a full range of motion can work wonders with improving flexibility, but massage adds an extra benefit of helping to break up knots in muscles and tissues that restrict movement.
Foam rolling pre-workout can help to prepare the body for movement whereas a post-workout roll out can flush away waste products from exercise and help you recover quicker for your next session.
Focus on hitting the main muscles like your calves, quads, IT bands, upper back, and lats.
If possible, work with a skilled massage therapist a few times a month to compliment your flexibility routine and get some extra relief.
So there you have it, 7 Tips to Improve Your Flexibility In Your Forties And Beyond.
If this post has inspired you and you are interested to learn how to make subtle, but impactful changes to your health and fitness, then perhaps a great starting point might be to download the HEALTHY GLOW 7-Day Nutrition and Exercise Planner