Why do we need flexibility? What is flexibility? Do we really need it? Well these are the questions that may pop up in your mind. Whenever you pick up a 25 liters water can, does your back hurt? Do you find it a little hard to pick it up? Then you really need some flexibility in your body. In ancient times, all the work was done using hands and legs. Whether it was climbing a tree or drawing water from the well. Our ancestors worked hard for everything, nothing was this easy in their time. If you look at your grandparents or great grand parents you will notice that they like to walk around. They like to be independent and do their own work, most of the time.
Do you think you will be that flexible when you reach their age? You need to fight aging, with different techniques by keeping yourself healthy. Martial arts is the best technique you can adopt for a flexible body. Try to stay fit and become flexible to relax all your muscles and feel young.
Why Do We Need A Flexible Body?
To perform your daily activities with ease you need flexibility. Apart from eating healthy food and physical activity one needs to increase the flexibility of ones body. To get out of bed, sweep the floor or even carry your own children you need flexibility. As your age increases the muscles lose their strength and tend to become stiffer. The joints and bones seem to be less active. To improve this state you have to learn a few martial art techniques to bring back flexibility into your body.
One of the main secrets of martial arts is a flexibility. You look and feel 10 years older than your age if you lack flexibility. By following these martial art techniques your body will regain its flexibility and you will begin to feel like a 20 year old. You need to do these exercises for at least 3 to 5 minutes everyday. It doesn’t matter if you are unable to hold it for a long time. They will help you maintain a good figure and relax your muscles.
For this stretch you need to open your legs to shoulder width. Place your hands on your knees and push your hips down into a low squat. Now move your shoulders to the right side and drop to the ground. Repeat the same to the left side. Repeat 10 to 12 times on each side. It maybe a little hard to stay in the squat position for a long time.
The W Stretch
You need to stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Lean to the front and grab both your knees with your hands. Now bend your head and touch your right knee. When you do this, you should stretch your left knee. Repeat the same with your left knee. Now bring your head to the middle and try to touch the ground. You can also touch the ground with your elbows. Hold each stretch for at least 3 to 5 seconds.
The V stretch
For this stretch you need to sit on the ground. Stretch your legs as wide as you can. With your back straight lean to the left and touch your left knee with your head. Now repeat the same with your right knee. Come back to the middle and touch the ground in front of you. Repeat this stretch 10 to 12 times. If you are unable to touch your knees or the ground with your head, be sure that your hips are inflexible.
The Hip Stretch
The hip stretch will loosen the area around your hips. This will make it easier for you to perform the other exercises with ease. You will also notice great change in your daily life. kneel down on your knees and try to stretch yourself as much as you can. You need to try and touch your head and hips to the ground. To make it easier, first balance yourself with your hands on the ground. Slowly go down a little bit and touch your elbows to the ground. Go down a little more and try to touch your head to the ground along with your hips. Try and hold the last position for at least 5 to 10 seconds. Try to repeat it 5 more times if you are comfortable with it. Other wise take a few days time to get used to the stretch by practicing it once a day and you will master it.
The Back Stretch
The back is the most stiffest part in the body. Lack of exercise and too much of stress can lead to back pain and stiffness. This stretch will help you loosen your back. It is a very simple and easy stretch to perform. Sit on your legs completely. Bend backwards as far as you can stretching the hips and the muscles in your back. You can support yourself with your hands placed behind you. You don’t need to stretch all the way back but try to stretch as much as you can.
The Neck Stretch
The neck stretch is a simple and easy method to loosen the neck muscles. Especially for people working in offices who strain their neck the most. Sitting in the same position for a long time can cause neck stiffness. So, try this simple technique to avoid this problem. Stand straight in a relaxed position. Rotate your neck in the clockwise direction, 10 times. Now rotate your neck in the anti clock wise direction. To enhance this exercise a bit, drop your neck forward and bring it backward. Repeat this 10 times, you will be relieved from neck pain. You can also feel the stretch from your spine.
We use our hands for many different jobs, yet we hardly put our shoulders to work. Thus, the shoulder tends to stiffen and the muscles contractions decrease in this process. To avoid this condition one must regularly practice the shoulder exercise. Stand in a straight position and bring your shoulders to the top. Move your shoulders forward and backward, in circular movements. Do this 10 to 12 times.
This exercise will not just make your hips flexible, it will also reduce excess fat in this area. Since this exercise is simple and easy you can try it every day in the morning. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Put your hands on your hips, rotate your whole body in clockwise direction, 10 times. Then rotate 10 times in the anti-clockwise direction. You will immediately feel the difference in your hips.
For this stretch you need a chair or a wall in front of you. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and hold the wall or chair. Your heels should be on the floor and your knees should remain straight while leaning towards the object. You will feel a stretch in your calves, hold this position for 30 seconds. Bend your knees slightly and hold this position for another 30 seconds. Repeat the same 1 minute stretch 4 times.
Partner Shoulder Stretch
For this shoulder flexibility exercise you need a partner. Call your friend to help you out with some stretches or you can ask your family member to help you. Stand straight with your arms to your sides. Have your partner stand to the back. Light your arms to the back and ask your partner to pull it. Make sure it is not a harsh pull, just let them pull till you feel a slight stretch in your shoulders. This will ease any pain or stiffness in the shoulders.
Partner Leg Stretch
If you are having trouble in balancing your weight, do call a partner along to help with a few stretches. Having a partner will decrease your sense of hard work at the same time it will help you stretch your muscles to the maximum. You can also have a workout buddy with whom you can try these techniques.
1. First Stretch
You need to start by standing straight with a wall behind you. Lift your leg as much as you can and ask your partner to hold your leg up for 10 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your thigh. Relax a bit and twist your body to the side. Let your partner hold up your leg, stretching the muscles to the side. This pose will look like a side kick. Try to straighten your body as much as you can into this stretch. You will feel active and energized after this stretch.
2. Second Stretch
Have your partner stand in front of you. For balance you could hold your partner’s hand, try to place your leg on your partner’s shoulder. Stretch forward as much as you can. Repeat the same with the other leg. You can also add a slight variation to this stretch. Bend one foot down by pushing your whole weight to the ground. This will allow your leg muscle to stretch to the maximum. These leg stretches will help you experience better physical activity. You will be able walk longer distances than your usual.
Partner Back Stretch
To gain more strength and to stretch your back muscles a bit more, have your partner stand behind you. Both of you should be facing different directions, standing back to back. Place your hands on your hips and ask your partner to hold your arms by the elbows. Now your partner should lean forward in order to help you stretch your back.
All the martial art techniques stated above are extremely great. You will feel the difference in your body immediately and will be able to perform your chores with ease. So say good bye to all kinds of pain in the body. Go back into your twenties, when you were active and independent. Try to get used to the stretches first and do not over do it. Hope these martial art techniques bring a great change in your life!
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.
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