Muscles attach to tendons, which attach to bones. When you lack flexibility and mobility from sitting too much or being out of shape, it pulls on your bones… and causes pain. This causes low back pain, neck pain (tech neck), and other nagging orthopedic problems. We HAVE to fix this. Otherwise, you could actually make these imbalances and misalignments worse with cardio and strength training. Flexibility workouts are an essential part of your workout plan.
I’m going to give you two options here. You can either start doing Yoga or learn a full-body stretching routine you do after each workout. Either way, we’re talking 10-20 mins.
Contrary to popular belief, you can find a Yoga style you like and you don’t have to be flexible already to practice Yoga. Not only will you become more flexible, stretching muscles and restoring their natural length is calming. You’ll see what I mean:)
You can practice Yoga online with free Youtube videos, with an app or in a class setting. I’m a fan of practicing yoga at home, so I use the apps below. They’re cheap and worth every penny. Both apps can be adjusted for
- Time (5 mins – 90 mins) classes
- Focus area (flexibility, strength, relaxation, prenatal, etc)
- Levels (Beginner-Advanced)
- Style of Yoga
They’re both about $9 a month and have a free trial. I suggest you download them both and try them to see which one you prefer. Please note, I have no financial relationship with either of these companies. These are legitimately two amazing apps, different styles for sure, but both amazing.
- Yoga Studio – Great for beginners especially. Simple, clean interface, calming.
- Down Dog – They have super cool music, more engaging instructors. They have this app for beginners that are free, and some apps for other types of exercises also.
Full body Stretching routine
If you select this option, you’ll need to work with a trainer or someone who can TEACH you a full-body stretching routine. I may share my routine at some point, but in the meantime, you need to get with a trainer and get a stretching routine that takes about 10 minutes and stretches your quads, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, chest, upper back, lower back and shoulders at a minimum.
You should do either Yoga or a full-body stretching routine after each workout for about 10 mins, or on its own twice a week for about 20 mins. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to loosen up. It’s worth it and will save you a world of pain down the road. Flexibility workouts get more enjoyable the more time that you dedicate.
You can complete flexibility workouts with any equipment by learning a full-body strengthening routine. If you decide to do Yoga, a mat is helpful to add padding and prevent slipping.
- Yoga Mat – This is the one I use. The designs help with your alignment, i.e. making sure you have your feet and hands in the right place. Plus the purple one is pretty.
- Yoga blocks – If you’re new to Yoga, these little blocks will be a lifesaver to help you reach the floor in certain positions.
- Phone holder – It’s the little things in life. My sister gave me this handy, flexible phone holder. It comes in handy for my Yoga classes.
You will get stronger doing Yoga but don’t get that confused with strength workouts. You can tone up doing Yoga but not build enough muscle to impact your metabolism. Read more about strength workouts.