Men and women are different when it comes to flexibility. Apart from gymnasts, yoga enthusiasts, and dancers, most men have stiff bodies. Some of the signs of rigid joints include early morning stiffness, muscle cramps, joint issues, and skeletal imbalance.
Men need to take a different approach when stretching to prevent them from forcing themselves into awkward and uncomfortable positions. They need to understand how they can effectively stretch and achieve the desired flexibility without experiencing pain. The blog highlights ways in which men can improve their elasticity.
Men Are Less Flexible Than Women-Why?
We all know that women are more flexible than men. There are many reasons to explain this like; women have hormones that prepare them to bear children. Men’s gym routines also focus on growing muscles rather and lengthening them. Additionally, the shape of men’s joints and bones prevents them from being as flexible as women are.
Another thing that contributes to men’s inflexibility is that most of them sit at their desks the whole day without exercising as such improved flexibility can help ensure a full range of motion while exercising. When you mention stretching and elasticity exercises like yoga, most people will associate them with women. Men tend to avoid such workouts because they feel it does not add to their masculinity. Lastly, as we age, we all tend to lose elasticity.
Why Men Should Include Flexibility in Their Workout Routine
Men need to incorporate stretching sessions in their daily workout routine. The stretching sessions will help increase your elasticity. Elasticity is essential as you do daily activities and helps improve your posture and blood circulation. In addition, it helps prevents the following injuries:
- Walking up or down on stairs
- Strains due to bending own
- Shoulder strains resulting from heavy lifting tasks.
Here are other benefits of flexibility training.
Helps Lower Back Pain
Most individuals avoid exercises since they do not want to worsen their back problems. However, research shows there is no evidence to suggest exercises can cause additional issues to your back. In fact, exercise will prevent future back problems. What’s more, stretching sessions like yoga minimize pain and allow you to move freely.
Improve Your Relaxation
Engaging in stretching sessions before going to bed will help relax your mind after a busy day. Stretching clears your mind from the day’s activities and reduces anxiety, impacting your mental health positively.
Improves Your Movement
If your body is not flexible, you will experience limited movement. It is necessary to train your body to stretch and move to do all tasks easily. Further, it will minimize your chances of getting injured all the time.
Better Sports Performance
Stretching increases your body movement, which is useful in helping you get better at games like football and athletics. In general, elasticity training will also improve your overall health.
Are there Wrong Ways to Stretch?
Some men may intend to do it right but end up stretching in the wrong way. Some of these ways include painful exercises and lifting heavier loads which are recipes for disaster. Such extreme activities may cause more harm than good as they may lead to tearing of your hamstring, ligament, or severe injuries to your hip joint, joint capsule, and vertebral disc.
According to researchers, incorrect stretching might cause your muscles to micro-tear since muscles should lengthen rather than stretch.
How to Stretch Correctly
Although everyone faces a decrease in elasticity as they age, most men have been found to have this issue. You can look for a qualified and highly trained personal instructor to guide your stretching sessions. The trainer will give you professional advice and create efficient workout routines to make you fit. Remember, flexibility exercises do not have to be painful. Gentle stretching done frequently will help increase your elasticity.
Moreover, you should not bounce while doing static or dynamic stretches. Bouncing or pushing will lead to micro-tears which will become micro-scars. With time, the micro-scars will thicken and reduce the elasticity of your tissues. In addition, do not force any stretches as you may get an injury that will set you back on your goals.
Furthermore, do not begin your workout session with new equipment without guidance from a professional. Experts have extensive knowledge of exercising equipment, and they will teach you the base knowledge to allow you to benefit from your sessions.
Ways Men Can Improve Their Flexibility
According to fitness experts, the hamstring is an incorrectly stretched part. Tight hamstrings may reduce your pelvic mobility and increase lower back pain. The static and dynamic stretching exercises are designed to address tight hamstrings to improve your elasticity. You can stretch before or after other exercises, and you will see a difference within a few days.
These exercises require you to hold the same position for a specific time. Unless stated, the trainer will require you to hold for thirty seconds and repeat this five times before moving to another stretch. To attain flexibility, you should do the stretches three times or more. But if you are looking to maintain flexibility, you can only do them once per day, preferably in the evening. Static stretches include:
Bent Knee Stretch
If you can bend forward with straight legs, you are good. However, it is not recommended for individuals that struggle moving forward while their legs are stretched. To get rid of the slack on your calves, you can bend your knees slightly. While performing this stretch, you should ensure your back is flat or slightly arched, push your chest up, and hinge your hips forward.
Seated Static Stretch
To perform this activity, you should sit on the floor and stretch one of your legs in front while the other leg remains bent. Then turn your straight leg inward and move your body forward at the hips. By doing this, you will feel your thighs stretch.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
It is the perfect stretch for your hamstrings and lowers back. You can do this stretch by placing one foot in front of the other and slightly raising your toes. Then bend the knee at the back and lean forward. You can rest your palms on the bent thigh for support and relax your shoulders.
Lying Hamstring Stretch
You can also perform the same move while lying on your back and pushing one of your legs forward if you suffer lower back pain. You can hold the lifted leg in position by using your hands. The move stretches your muscle fibers around the knee.
Dynamic stretches are different from static stretches since they involve gentle movements of your leg at the front and back as you increase its height gradually. You should do about fifteen swings for each leg. These stretches should be done in the morning so that you set your muscles’ length for the day. What’s more, they can be done as a warm-up before you engage in a fast and strenuous workout.
Using Feldenkrais Method to Improve Your Flexibility
The Feldenkrais Method is another innovative and pain-free method you can use to become more flexible. The method requires you to make simple movements in a small motion range. The technique is pretty effective in increasing flexibility as it allows you to pay attention to your movement by encouraging slow, easy movements. As a result, it decreases the need for your body to restrict stretching and tighten up.
Furthermore, Feldenkrais Method incorporates movements that connect several joints to give a specific motion. Joints together with other elements form a kinematic chain. You need to use the entire moving chain; otherwise, you will exert excess movement on one part of the chain resulting in damage.
Additionally, Feldenkrais lessons teach about the effects of having stiff movement habits. The lessons will make you aware of your movement habits and teach you how to move efficiently.
Take Lessons from Your Dog
Dogs are always stretching. The first thing they do when they wake up in the morning is stretch. Also, after taking a nap, they stretch again. You need to do the same. Always be stretching to elongate your muscles. Failure to maintain flexibility daily will cause your body to be stiff.
How to Include Stretching in Your Routine
Stretching has several benefits, including increased performance and improving your posture. Therefore, it is crucial to incorporate it into your daily routine to achieve your fitness goals. You can make flexibility-training part of your routine in the ways listed below:
Morning and Evening Stretches
Include stretching sessions like light yoga, or you can watch stretching videos early in the morning to keep your mind alert. You can also do the same in the evening to help you sleep better.
Stretch before Working Out
Some stretches can be done before your daily exercises. The stretches will prepare your muscles for movement. Besides, the stretches will elongate your muscles and eliminate weak spots.
Stretch after Exercising
Stretching after a workout cools down your muscles, reducing your heart rate and circulating blood. Plus, it will help prepare the muscles for repair after strenuous activity.
Schedule Stretching Days or Take Classes
You can sign up for stretching and flexibility classes and designate days to these sessions. Most of the classes will include calming music which will be relaxing.
Key Tools to Use When Stretching
These bands will help you stretch stiff body parts that you cannot reach. Moreover, they help increase stability and strength.
Use an exercise ball to stretch your legs, back, and hips and make you more stable.
A foam roller is a vital tool to help you relieve tension in your muscles before or after exercising. When you roll your muscles, you also lengthen them.
Unlike the floors, yoga mats are softer. Therefore, they make stretching comfortable and prevent injuries from slipping.
If you want to increase flexibility and posture, you should stretch more. You can develop a solid stretching routine with proper guidance from experts and possession of the right equipment. By reading this article, you will know how you can become more flexible in no time.