Stretching up high and touching your toes are well and good, but for long-term flexibility, you may need something with the structure of regular Pilates or yoga. If you're a beginner, or prone to injuries, work with an experienced teacher who can guide you through the poses and give you individual attention. If you’d like to get started on your own first, click here to try our 5 Yoga Poses for Stiff People programme.
As more and more of us spend long days sitting down at our desks, flexibility becomes less of a priority. Sitting down all day inhibits the movement in some of the most important muscles – notably the hamstrings, and hip flexors. It can also cause problems with your shoulders and upper back, as you lean forward over your keyboard. The good news is that it’s reversible! We recommend you get up from your desk once an hour and talk a walk around. Try to make sure you stretch your shoulders and upper back too, and get a full range of movement going.
Flexibility is an enormous part of injury prevention. A runner with limited flexibility will feel a twinge in their hamstring as soon as they lengthen their stride. This puts paid to training until a physio has been consulted. And flexibility is not just for sporty people – if you ever run for a train or bus, stretch to grab something off a high shelf, or bend to pick something up off of the floor, poor flexibility increases your likelihood of getting injured.