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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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            Last Updated on April 19, 2021

            8 Weight Loss Tracker and Exercise Apps for Your Fitness Goals

            8 Weight Loss Tracker and Exercise Apps for Your Fitness Goals

            Are you frustrated by the fact that you haven’t been able to lose weight? Have you ever wondered if you don’t actually know how many calories you eat in a day? How much exercise do you ACTUALLY get, and why doesn’t anything seem to be working? A weight loss tracker can help you answer all of these questions and more.

            How can we start to see results and have the momentum to keep moving forward? The answer is simple:

            Have a game-plan and know exactly what is going on inside your body.

            If you really want to excel at your fitness goal, then you need to have a game-plan for success. You need to know what will keep you motivated, how to simplify things, how to be more efficient at your goals, and even find what you enjoy the most.

            You can start by checking out Lifehack’s Busy Yet Fit Course, which will help you get into the groove of working out, even if you have a busy lifestyle.

            If you’re blindly trying to chase your goals, then you probably feel about as hopeless as a carpenter with a butter-knife. So, it’s time to stock your toolbelt for success!

            I am about to show you the top weight loss tracker apps that will be game-changers for you. From nutrition trackers to step counters, these apps are sure to set you on the fast track to your fitness goals.

            Keep reading to find the apps that might just shoot you past your plateau and into the lifestyle you dream of.

            1. MyFitnessPal

              When it comes to the best weight loss tracker apps, this one takes the cake (The Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan cake that is).

              MyFitnessPal is the best all around calorie counter that I have found on the market. This app is free and has almost all the calorie counting resources available to you. Not only does it seamlessly estimate the daily calories needed to hit your goal, but it also gives you the methods to track it.

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              Just enter the ingredients of each meal you eat, and it will add up how many calories you eat. It can also scan product barcodes and automatically enter those calories for you.

              Going a step beyond that, this app also tracks your macros (according to your own customized goals) and nutrients. Furthermore, you can input a desired weight to track your weight loss journey.

              While that all seems impressive enough, this app also tracks exercise calories and can sync to Fitbit, MapmyRun, and other apps to measure your exact energy ratio.

              If you want a one-stop map to success, then this is it! This will not only help you develop a game plan, but will also create a flexible plan to get you there.

              Get the app here!

              2. Fitbit

                I know you’ve already heard of this app, and for good reason. Fitbit has been helping thousands step their way to health since it first came out.

                While investing in a Fitbit may not be cheap, I believe it to be well worth the investment.

                Fitbit will track your total amounts of steps each day. For those of you who are competitive, this is the perfect app to keep you moving and motivated throughout the day.

                This app can also sync with other fitness apps, like MyFitnessPal, to measure your exact energy expenditure each day. It’s a keeper for sure, especially if you’re looking for a great weight loss tracker.

                Get the app here!

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                3. MapMyRun

                  This is another one for the competitive, beginner, or exercise enthusiast. MapMyRun measures the distance that you run and even tracks your route. Furthermore, you can sync your daily results with MyFitnessPal to keep track of your daily calorie burn.

                  If you want to go at it with a friend, you can challenge them in competitions that are sure to keep you both moving!

                  Once, my husband ran for 2 miles just before midnight to beat me in a competition that was ending the next day. Talk about motivation!

                  MapMyRun is perfect for those who like to challenge themselves, love to be part of a fitness community, or want a place for friends to hold them accountable to their goals.

                  Get the app here!

                  4. Zombies, Run!

                    Are you having trouble pulling away from entertainment to go out and run? Then why not combine the two?

                    ZombieRun is a fun app that is sure to get you moving if you are someone who is motivated by a good time. In fact, you might even have such a blast you will forget you are exercising!

                    This app takes you through a storyline and makes you the hero. Each level will present a new challenge to help you progress and keep things exciting.

                    You certainly won’t need to worry about your pre-workout. Imagining you are the hero in the story will be enough to keep your adrenaline pumping on its own.

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                    Just be sure not to move too slow or the “Zombs” (as we runners affectionately call them) might catch you!

                    Get the app here!

                    5. Prepear

                      Are you tired of sitting down for hours and trying to strategize what to eat? This app helps cut this time in a quarter and is a great addition as a weight loss tracker.

                      Simply add online recipes into your weekly meal plan (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and it will organize all the ingredients you will need into a shopping list.

                      With all your meal planning in one organized area, it will be easy to find which meal you plan to make for the day. This will keep your healthy recipes delicious. You will seriously never have to fret about meal planning again!

                      Get the app here!

                      6. Strava

                        If walking is your health resolution, this weight loss tracker might be for you. Strava is sure to get you into healthy habits that you enjoy. In fact, you might start losing weight before realizing that you’ve even been exercising.

                        This app enables you to track your trails and mileage, take pictures, and invite friends to join. It is a keeper for beginners and hikers alike.

                        Get the app here!

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                        7. Aaptiv

                          If you find yourself at the gym and not sure what to do, then this app might be for you. Aptive gives you workouts to do and instructs you how to do them.

                          While there’s nothing quite like the accountability of a personal trainer, Aaptiv is a great way to be guided through exercises without having to dish out tons of money.

                          The online instructors will guide you through the movements and keep you focused on finishing the workout. This app is sure to make you a gym rat in no time!

                          Get the app here!

                          8. Freeletics

                            Here’s one for those of you always on the move! Freeletics is an incredible app designed for people who just don’t have the time (or motivation) to drive down to the gym. Freeletics provides online workouts designed specifically from bodyweight with no equipment needed.

                            You will be surprised at what a great workout you can get without any equipment.

                            That’s right, you work-travelers; say goodbye to your excuses because this app is bringing the trainer to you!

                            Get the app here!

                            The Bottom Line

                            These 8 weight loss tracker apps are sure to revolutionize your fitness goals. Guesswork will no longer be a part of your fitness journey. These apps are like carrying professionals around in your pocket all day!

                            Get ready to be motivated, informed, and ready to start achieving your dreams!

                            More Tips for Weight Loss

                            Featured photo credit: Gabin Vallet via unsplash.com

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