One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that gaining flexibility is easy. But after a certain age, just doing a few morning stretches isn’t likely going to yield any results.
Plenty of people have attempted to gain more flexibility and had it backfire on them. Here are the likely reasons why you’re struggling to gain more flexibility:
1. You’re not warming up
This is one of the reasons why morning stretches are a bit of a challenge. Your muscles need to warm up first. In fact,stretching cold muscles can result in strain.
So, how do you warm up your muscles for stretching? Consider doing a few jumping jacks or simple cat/cow poses.
2. You’re impatient
You would never expect to run a marathon a week after you start training. Nor would you expect to lift heavy weights if you’ve never gone to the gym. The same can be said about stretching.
Stretching can actually prove to be very intense. Changing your body’s range of motion takes time—nothing should be forced. Take it one day at a time.
3. You forget to breathe
The breath/body connection is a huge one—and one that many of us forget about. Your breath is how your body communicates with the nervous system. It is what tells it to release and relax. When your breath is held, muscles stay contracted, and space cannot be created in the body.
4. You overstretch
The idea that you could overstretch may seem impossible. The more stretching the better, right?
You want to find a balance. Vary the body part you are stretching and the types of stretches that you do. Mix it up between dynamic and static stretches. The best way to do this is to add yoga or Pilates to your routine.
5. You fold from your lower back
This is a common mistake. You should always fold from your hips, not your lower back. Make sure you put at least a small bend in the knees to train the body to fold at the hip joint. Rest your torso on your thighs and straighten legs by pressing into the feet while lifting up backs of thighs. Do not let your torso round away from your thighs in any forward bend; it causes the head and the hamstrings to work like ropes, playing tug of war with your back.
6. You don’t stretch after a cardio workout
Whether you’re running, biking, or even walking briskly, stretching afterward is key. If you fail to stretch, you could undo all the work you’ve been committed to over the last few weeks and months.