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Why Improving Flexibility Is Critical To Your Health (+5 Stretch Exercises To Try At Home)

Why Improving Flexibility Is Critical To Your Health (+5 Stretch Exercises To Try At Home)

Staying flexible through our lives is extremely important for our overall health. As we get older, having muscular flexibility will help with a greater quality of life, allowing us to keep moving freely in everyday activities and maintain balance throughout the body.

The Benefits Of Good Muscular Flexibility

  • Prevents everyday injury: Muscle and disc strain from simply turning in bed, shoulder strains from lifting, and even walking up and down stairs can be prevented with greater flexibility.
  • Lengthens muscles: This helps you look much leaner.
  • Improves posture: Flexible muscles around the back are able to support the spine.
  • Makes cardio workouts much easier: Running or walking will become much lighter and easier.
  • Enhances sport performance: Flexible movements in the joints and muscles will allow you to be more efficient in various sports.
  • Allows you to move better in confined spaces: The ability to sit in different positions while traveling will be much easier.

Simple Stretches For Better Flexibility

1. Seated Spinal Twist

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    This exercise is good for targeting the back, abs, and obliques.

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    • Sit on the floor with your back straight and tall. Engage your abs and stretch both legs out in front of you.
    • Bring your right leg up and place it over your left leg.
    • With your left arm holding your right leg, slowly rotate your upper body around to the right, keeping your nose in line with your breastbone.
    • Stretch around as far as possible until you feel a gentle stretch throughout your back and side.
    • Hold for 30 seconds and return to center. Repeat on the left side.
    • Aim to do 10 reps.

    2. Reclining Pigeon

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      This exercise is good for stretching lower back, hips, glutes, and hamstrings.

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      • Lie down facing up, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
      • Cross a flexed right foot over your left thigh. Hook your arms around the left hamstring.
      • Lift your left foot off the floor, keeping your back and shoulders flat to the ground.
      • Gently pull your right leg towards you until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for a 1-2 minute(s) and release your feet to the ground.
      • Repeat on the opposite side.

      3. Standing Tricep Stretch

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        This exercise stretches the muscles in your neck, shoulders, back, abs, and triceps.

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        • Stand up tall, straight-backed with feet hip-width apart and arms extended above your head.
        • Bend your right elbow so that the palm is placed on the upper back.
        • Reach your left hand over to grab your right elbow and gently pull your elbow back and towards your head.
        • Hold this position for up to a minute, release, and swap sides.

        4. Swan Stretch

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          This exercise target the shoulders, back, chest, abs, obliques, and hip flexors.

          • Lying face down on the floor, place your hands in front of your shoulders, fingers facing forward, and legs stretched out behind you.
          • Pressing down with your hands, gently lift your belly off the floor. Keep your abs engaged, shoulders down, and pelvis grounded parallel with the floor.
          • Lengthen the upper body away from the floor, reaching up and out from the crown of the head. Make sure you draw your shoulder blades together. Hold this pose for 30 to 45 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times to increase flexibility.

          5. Hip Flexor/Quad Stretch

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            This stretch targets hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings.

            • Kneel on the floor with both knees bent, shins on floor.
            • Lunge your right leg forward, so that your right knee is bent 90 degrees in front of you, your right foot is flat on the floor directly under the knee, and your left leg is still bent underneath you, parallel to the right.
            • Place both hands on top of your right knee and press back, hip forward, and lean into the stretch.
            • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.

            Things To Keep In Mind

            • Keep water handy when stretching to encourage yourself to hydrate.
            • Try to perform these stretches daily to see and feel the best results.
            • Perform them either first thing in the morning or before bedtime, but especially after any exercise.
            • Make sure you don’t over-stretch. Go as far as it’s comfortable for you. You’ll get more flexible with ease with practice.
            • Work with warm muscles because they lengthen more easily and with less discomfort.
            • Breathe comfortably. Exhale as the muscle lengthens to assist in relaxation.

            Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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            Jenny Marchal

            A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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            Published on July 23, 2020

            10 Best Fitness Trackers to Improve Your Health

            10 Best Fitness Trackers to Improve Your Health

            A wise person once said, “health is wealth” and strangely, the year 2020 has been a constant reminder of this.

            Working on our fitness and personal health has now become a part of our daily routine. With the constant pour of medical knowledge and its open accessibility, people now prefer to manage their health on their own. Due to this, we have seen a rise in apps and newly designed devices to provide high-quality service in the field of health management. 

            One of the most innovative and successful additions in this field has been in the form of fitness trackers. This stylish device that goes on the wrist will fool you into mistaking it for any ordinary watch. However, these trackers with their modern features have proven to be lifesavers.

            If you are looking to fulfill your 2020 resolution of “staying healthy and happy”, then I have a list of the best fitness trackers that you just can’t miss.

            I have gone through several fitness trackers reviews including reviews from Techradar, Pcmag, and Wired, and compiled this comprehensive guide on the best fitness trackers that will help you to improve your health.

            1. Fitbit Versa Lite

              Whenever you think of one of the best fitness trackers, the first brand that comes to mind is Fitbit. They started originally about the size of a band, but as the brand has expanded, they now provide fitness tracker watches as well as fitness trackers with heart rate monitor features.

              The beauty of these fitness trackers is they can track everything by this point – from your sleep cycle down to your heart rate. The battery also has a battery life of 4 days before needing to be charged.

              The only drawback is that the tracking isn’t as accurate as it could be in terms of the miles or steps taken. If you don’t mind that discrepancy then it’s no big issue.

              Get this fitness tracker!

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              2. Fitbit Charge 3

                For those who still love Fitbit but want a budget-friendly option, you have the classic Fitbit. The Charge 3 model offers the same capabilities as the Versa Lite, making it one of the best fitness trackers available out there.

                The only drawback is that since you are working with a smaller screen, the font is going to be smaller and challenging to read.

                Get this fitness tracker!

                3. Garmin Vívoactive 3

                  Looking for another fitness tracker to help you exercise? Try out Garmin’s brand. Garmin offers a wide option of designs of their fitness trackers watches too.

                  Another perk from this fitness tracker is that it offers GPS capabilities and even access to music. You can also use it to make payments with certain bank cards.

                  That being said, this is a more suitable budget option. Comparing this fitness tracker to some of the other best fitness trackers out there, you’ll find this one to be lacking in every area – blurry screen, unstable firmware, and unresponsive at times, especially during workout sessions.

                  Get this fitness tracker!

                  4. Huawei Band 3 Pro

                    For fitness trackers for women, one brand to consider is Huawei’s. Their Band 3 Pro has been out in the market for a few years and takes on a similar design to Fitbit’s Charge 3, except the screen is bigger.

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                    Like other fitness trackers, this offers 50M water resistance, making it ideal to be in pools. It also doubles as a camera, offering a shutter on the device.

                    That said, the fitness tracker can be a little off with its tracking. Furthermore, it offers a limited option of workouts, making it not as ideal of a personal trainer as others.

                    Get this fitness tracker!

                    5. Fitbit Versa 2

                      I already brought up the Vera Lite option, but this is the original. Similar to the Lite variant, this offers the same features and design. It is a bit stronger in that it can last upwards of 6 days on a charge. It also offers other connection features like connecting to Spotify and Alexa. Overall, if you’re looking for how to lose weight and improve health, this is a solid option.

                      There are a few minor gripes about the Versa 2 as well. From having to remove the watch from the case every time to charge it to a few inaccurate tracking, it’s something most can work over if you’re not too picky.

                      Get this fitness tracker!

                      6. Apple Watch Series

                        Naturally, since we’re talking about watches, it makes sense that Apple would appear in this too. There are various apps you can get on any Apple Watch to help you with your health goals. Thus, it could be one of your fitness trackers 2020 options.

                        Apple’s watches provide a host of benefits, including easy syncing with other Apple products, GPS capabilities, and is one of the many waterproof fitness trackers, provided you’re only going for a swim.

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                        The only thing is you can’t rely on it so much for its battery life or the overall design. The battery life isn’t good compared to other fitness trackers. Also, the strap for the watch isn’t the strongest.

                        Get this fitness tracker!

                        7. Samsung Galaxy Fit Black

                          Samsung is another big brand people are familiar with. Samsung is in the market and offers more budget-friendly fitness trackers for people. The overall design of the Fit Black is a mesh of Fitbit’s Charge 3 and Huawei’s Band 3 Pro – a thin band and screen though it covers a long surface.

                          In terms of other unique perks, since Samsung is also in the market for smartphones, this device can connect to smartphones, allowing you to take incoming calls and receive notifications as well. Outside of that, you have the usual fitness tracker perk of being able to monitor water/caffeine intake, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep patterns.

                          One of the downsides of this device is that the features listed above are the extent of what it can do. Also, a longer screen means that it might not fit well on many people’s wrists. 

                          Get this fitness tracker!

                          8. Polar A370

                            Another candidate for one of the best fitness trackers is Polar A370. If you’re looking for something with a simple design and simple features, this is a good pick.

                            This is your barebones fitness tracker in that it’s good at monitoring heart rate and sleep. It’s also compatible with other third-party apps to give you more information as well.

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                            On the flip side, barebones aren’t always what people are looking for. It can give you a good insight into particular issues, but it’s not going to be a solid lifetime fitness tracker.

                            Get this fitness tracker!

                            9. Fitbit Inspire HR

                              For a strong 24-hour fitness tracker, another worthy candidate is Fitbit’s Inspire HR brands. Like many of the Fitbit’s products, it tracks a wide variety of things like calories, heart rate, and sleep. It also tracks other fitness activities with ease like swimming, biking, fast walking, and running.

                              Naturally, there are some downsides as well, though they are minor. From things like a short charge cable to inaccurate tracking of steps, these things come with the territory of fitness trackers.

                              Get this fitness tracker!

                              10. FITFORT

                                The final fitness tracker we went over is the Fitfort. It’s a cheaper alternative to the other fitness trackers listed here, but it also comes with some unique perks. The biggest of which is that it can measure blood pressure along with other aspects of your personal health, too.

                                But like other cheap options, you do run the risk of the product breaking down after a while. For some customers, it went downhill in about five months. You may have better luck, but if you’re looking for something that lasts longer, you might want to look at other brands.

                                Get this fitness tracker!

                                Final Thoughts

                                Setting aside minor issues, there are many solid options for good fitness trackers to help you out with weight loss and improving your health. If you’re still torn on what to choose, go for a device that is compatible with your other devices, especially your phone.

                                More Fitness Tips

                                Featured photo credit: Bruno Nascimento via unsplash.com

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