We’ve looked at workout routines that build endurance, strength, and balance. Now, let’s look at how we can train and improve 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.

Why Perform Stretches for Flexibility?

Flexibility exercises may not come into mind when we think about building fitness however, it is an essential fitness component necessary for us to perform 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. 

Stretching Exercises to Do at Home

So, how do we improve flexibility? 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 intermittently at your work desk. 

Overhead Stretch

  1. Sit upright, interlock your fingers, and stretch your arms and open palms towards the ceiling.
  2. Keep your arms overhead, hold for 10 seconds, then release the stretch.
  3. Return to the starting position and 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.

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 upper body as possible.
  2. Lean forward with your back straight.
  3. Hold for 10 seconds, then release.
  4. Return to the starting position and 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 perform your stretching routines!

Level Up Your Home Workout

As you get more flexible, try stretching further and holding your stretches for a longer time. Try holding for 20 seconds first, then once you’re up for the challenge, hold for 30 seconds. And challenge yourself with tougher stretches like a standing hamstring stretch, full bridges, and half splits!

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

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

Read these next:

  1. Harrell, R. (2006). Stretching and Flexibility. CrossFit Journal, (41). 
  2. Stretching and Flexibility Guidelines Update. (2021, March 18). Retrieved June 2021 from https://www.acsm.org/all-blog-posts/certification-blog/acsm-certified-blog/2021/03/18/stretching-and-flexibility-guidelines-update.