Loading... Please wait...


Posted by

Strength, endurance, and flexibility are the three pillars of fitness. Unfortunately, most of us tend to focus on the strength and endurance, primarily using strength training and cardiovascular exercises to stay fit. But flexibility is essential for optimum fitness. Flexibility prevents injury, and it can help decrease your risk of arthritis, diabetes, and kidney disease, and research shows it can even help prevent cardiovascular disease and reduce your chances of having a stroke or heart attack.

Flexible muscles make everyday activities like stooping, bending, twisting, turning, and reaching easier and less likely to cause a pulled muscle or other injury. Flexibility improves your circulation, and it helps to reduce general aches and pains.

Yoga for Flexibility

Getting and staying flexible is largely a matter of taking the time to stretch every day. Yoga is one of the best exercises for improving flexibility, since it incorporates stretches and body postures with deep breathing exercises, which keeps oxygenated blood pumping through your muscles and promotes the removal of lactic acid and other waste products that build up in the muscles. Breathing also promotes muscle relaxation to help increase your stretch without injury.

A daily yoga routine can go a long way toward improving your overall flexibility and muscle strength. You can do yoga at home with the help of a YouTube video, or you can take a yoga class at the Y or a private studio.

If you don't have the time, money, or patience for yoga, you can do some daily stretches to improve your flexibility. Before you stretch, warm up your muscles with a five-minute walk.

Upper Body Stretches

To stretch your upper body, start by placing your hands on the back of your head, and gently pull it forward, keeping your chin tucked. Hold this stretch for ten seconds. Next, place the palms of your hands on your chin, pointing your fingers at your ears. Push your head back slowly, and hold for ten seconds. Then, with your right hand on your head, pull your head gently toward your right shoulder, hold for ten seconds, then repeat on the left side. Finally, raise your arms above your head, clasp your hands, and reach toward the sky to lengthen your spine. Bend to the right, release your hands, and grab your left elbow with your right hand and pull it to the right, hold for ten seconds, then repeat on the left.

Lower Body Stretches

To stretch your lower body, sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Hold your left leg with both hands, and lift it off the floor. Flex your foot toward you, and hold for ten seconds. Switch legs, and repeat. Then bend your right knee and pull it toward your chest. Flex your foot again, and hold for ten seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Back Stretches

Especially helpful for lower back pain, back stretches help improve your overall core flexibility. To stretch your back, lie on your stomach with your legs straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands under your shoulders, and lift your chest up, keeping your pelvis attached to the floor. Hold for ten seconds. Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing to the left. Lift up the toes of your left foot, and fold your body over at the hip. Hold for ten seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Daily stretching will go a long way toward improving your flexibility. Ideally, you should do these first thing in the morning to get your blood moving and warm up your muscles to prepare them for the daily activities ahead.

3 Quick & Delicious Sugar-Free Recipes for a Fun, Festive Dessert

Just because you've gone sugar-free doesn't mean you have to go without dessert — much less one that's festive enough to serve to special dinner guests. These delicious sugar-free dessert options will satisfy a fierce sweet tooth while wowing any guests who might happen to be at the table.No-Bake Sugarless CheesecakeMove over, Cheesecake Factory! This recipe is fast and easy [...]

Read More »

​4 Incredibly Potent Stress Relievers You Can Do Today

Stress is a major problem in many lives. While some stress is good — it keeps you motivated and on your toes — too much stress can cause a range of serious illnesses, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. It's also a major factor for substance use disorders, and it can lead to anxiety and depression, [...]

Read More »

​Age Appropriate Food Serving Sizes

In America, The Land of Gigantic Portions, it's really hard to know what an appropriate serving size is. Just think back to the 12-ounce sirloin steak you had for dinner last night. That big hunk of meat is four times the 3-ounce serving size recommended by the American Cancer Society. As childhood obesity continues to climb at an astonishing [...]

Read More »

​6 Easy Ways to Keep Your Inbox Under Control

Real-life junk mail has long been a scourge on humanity, but at least it's easy to keep it under control: When it arrives, you just toss it in the recycling bin, unopened, never to think about it again. But junk mail is somehow different when it comes to your email inbox. It has a way of adding up and [...]

Read More »

​The Three Best Homemade Vegan Condiments Ever

A vegan diet doesn't have to be dull, especially if you get creative with condiments. Since it can be tough to decipher the ingredients of most store-bought condiments, we like to make our own from scratch. Not only can we guarantee there are no animal products or by-products in our condiments, but we can also go easy on the [...]

Read More »

​5 Natural Cures for Canker Sores

Canker sores are a miserable drag, taking the joy out of eating and making you wonder how something so very tiny can be so very painful. While it's not known what exactly causes canker sores, stress, genetics, and a malfunctioning immune system may contribute to their development, and people who have braces may be more susceptible to getting them.Happily, there [...]

Read More »

Our Top Three Sugar-Free Organic Sauces and Salad Dressings

Sugar is the devil. We all know it, even if we don't know it know it. Mom's been telling us since we were kids that eating candy makes us fat, and sugar rots our teeth. Nowadays, it's hard to throw a rock at a medical journal and not hit yet another study about the negative effects of eating too [...]

Read More »

Excellent Exercises to Ease Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a very common complaint, and it can strike anyone of any age. Pain in your lower back has a number of causes, including irritated nerves, strained muscles, damaged bones, ligaments, or joints, and degenerative or herniated discs. While medical attention is required in some cases of lower back pain, many other cases can be effectively [...]

Read More »

3 Super-Tasty Natural Crock-Pot Dishes For Dinner & Delicious Leftovers

All hail the slow cooker, that time-saving, savory dinner-making wonder of the modern world. It's like having a live-in cook, only a whole lot less expensive. If you plan your week around Crock-Pot meals and prep everything ahead of time, you'll have the most painless dinners ever, and if you take the leftovers for lunch, you'll improve your health while [...]

Read More »