Over the past weeks, we’ve looked at workouts that build endurance, strength, and balance. This week, we’ll look at how we can train our flexibility at home.

What’s Flexibility?

What does it mean to be flexible? It’s more than being able to touch our toes!

Being flexible means we’re able to move our joints effectively through their full range of motion. In simpler terms, flexibility gives us more freedom of movement when exercising, or in our day-to-day lives.

We need flexibility for everyday activities like bending down to pick something up, lifting our arms and shoulders to reach high shelves, and even sitting down.

Yes, we need flexibility for something as simple as sitting down with ease. You might have noticed elderly uncles stiffly lowering themselves onto MRT seats, a result of joints becoming less flexible with age.

Doing flexibility exercises can help us stay mobile as we grow older. Other benefits of flexibility include better exercise performance, reduced risk of injury during exercise, and better posture.

So, how do we become more flexible? Let’s look at some flexibility exercises you can do at home without special equipment!

Start Slow

Loosen your joints and get your blood flowing with these beginner stretches that you can do anytime: while watching TV, after waking up, or when you get home after a long day at work.

Overhead Stretch

  1. Sit upright, interlock your fingers, and stretch your arms and open palms towards the ceiling.

  2. Hold for 10 seconds, then release the stretch.

  3. Repeat 3 times.

Sit and Reach

  1. Sit upright with your legs straight in front of you.

  2. Gently lean forward with arms stretched towards your toes. Reach as far as you can!

  3. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly return to sitting upright.

  4. Repeat 3 times.

Hip Bridge

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent in front of you and feet on the floor.

  2. Gently raise your hips off the floor. Keep your body straight from shoulder to knee, and your neck relaxed.

  3. Hold for 10 seconds, and slowly lower your hips to the floor.

  4. Repeat 3 times.

Butterfly Stretch

  1. Sit on the floor, and bring your soles together with knees bent like you’re cross-legged. Bring your heels as close to your body as possible.

  2. Lean forward with your back straight.

  3. Hold for 10 seconds, then release.

  4. Repeat 3 times.

Stretch safe

Go slow and steady, and never bounce or jerk. Stretch until you feel a pull — stop if you feel sharp pain. And remember to breathe as you stretch!

Level Up

As you get more flexible, try stretching further and holding your stretches for a longer time — try 20, then 30 seconds. And challenge yourself with tougher stretches like full bridges and half splits!

Do consult your doctor before starting any exercise regime, and practise caution when exercising. Remember, safety first!

Read these next: