How can I become more flexible?
How do I become more flexible?
The first thing clients always ask us is: How do I become more flexible? Becoming more flexible is not a result of only stretching exercises and it is not achieved by static stretching programs. While static stretching exercises are important, there are other stretching techniques and fitness components that need to be included in order to becoming more flexible. The Extensa Method creates flexibility programs that build and maintain a strong core, improve mobility from head to toe, create stability of the joints and help relieve stiffness, pain and stress. Extensa programs achieve optimum flexibility by following the principles listed below:
Becoming more flexible according to the Extensa Method principles:
1. We need to move more often and with intention. This means we need to incorporate movement throughout our daily lives. Less time siting at the computer and watching tv. More time going for walks, taking the stairs, gardening, playing sports and doing chores around the house. We also need to be mindful of what types of movement we are doing. With siting being so predominant in our lives, we tend to bend and squat more often that anything else. We need to consciously think about reaching the arms and legs in all directions. Getting our bodies out of our comfort zone and learning to move in different ways.
2. We need muscles (and all connective tissue) to work optimally. That means our muscles need to contract when they are needed, produce force and create proper movement patterns. Our connective tissue adapts over time to whatever demands (or lack thereof) we place on it. If we sit all day, our bodies adapt to a seated position. Then when we attempt to walk or run, something our bodies are no longer used to doing, our muscles and fascia are no longer as pliable because they have been adapted to the seated position. This creates muscle imbalance, weakness and strain on the body. In order to reverse this process. We need to restore muscles and connective tissue back to their normal resting length, help the proper muscles contract when they are supposed to and produce the proper amount of force. This is achieved through specific stretch and strengthen combinations.
3. We need to improve our posture and focus on proper alignment. That means being conscious of how we sit, stand and walk. It also means means focusing on our posture while we are exercising. If we are performing a leg exercise, we still need to think about our shoulder blade placement, abdominal engagement and the entire upper body. Fascia runs throughout our bodies and what happens in the feet affect what happens in the neck. When performing an exercise we need to think about the entire body, not just the targeted area.
4. We need to improve our mind body connection. That means being present in the moment. Not worrying about that you have to do in the next few hours or what you did earlier. Focus on what you are doing at this present moment. While you are focusing on the present moment, be aware of how you are feeling emotionally and physically. One of the best ways to be present is to focus on breathing. Breathing is vital to life, yet most of us don't do doing it properly. Keep an even breath, in and out, through the nose, and think about breathing to the bottom of the lungs. Extensa incorporates breathing into every exercise.
Our principles guide us in the process of creating Extensa programs for all fitness levels. A competitive athlete and a new exerciser's program will follow the same principles but the technique combinations and exercises will vary. The Extensa Method benefits everyone.