The majority of us overlook flexibility exercises in our workouts in favour of cardio or strength training, but with proven health benefits such as increased freedom of movement as well as having a calming effect on the mind, it’s time to wise up to this type of exercise. Increased flexibility has a knock-on effect in our day-today lives from reducing the likelihood of injury to increased independence as we age – something not to be sniffed at.
Investing time in classes which promote increased flexibility can lead to fewer injuries, less pain in joints and muscles and improved posture and balance. In time you will have greater strength in your muscles and it can boost your overall physical performance. But it’s not just your body which benefits – classes which typically boost flexibility also give your mind a great work out too.
All sounds pretty good right? If you’re unsure where to start but are keen to get to grips with stretching exercises and improve your flexibility, the gym can be a perfect first point of call. Going to a class which either solely focuses on exercises that stretch all the major muscle groups, or are incorporated alongside other cardio exercise, can be the perfect introduction whatever your current fitness level. Close supervision from a trained fitness instructor will ensure that you’re performing each exercise correctly and safely to get the most out of your workout.
Remember to take things slowly if you’re new to stretching, overdoing things will only lead to an injury so it’s important to stay within your comfort zone. With regular exercise you’ll soon see improvements in your flexibility and will be able to push yourself a little further but be patient to begin with – it’s not always easy but the benefits that are associated are pretty great!
Here’s a rundown of the 1Life classes available at your local gym to look out for if you are looking to improve your flexibility.
These classes focus on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing by concentrating on postures and breathing. Dress in comfortable clothing which won’t restrict your movement and enjoy this relaxing class. It could provide the perfect ‘time out’ from a hectic lifestyle without feeling like exercise at all.
Les Mills Body Balance
BODYBALANCE™ is a new yoga class for anyone and everyone. The 45-60 minute long class uses a range of movements and motion set to music that will improve your mind, your body and your life! Perfect if you’re looking for something a bit more upbeat and enjoy working out to music.
These classes use a series of low repetition, low impact stretching and conditioning exercises. Pilates will improve your posture and build your core strength (back, abdominal and pelvic muscles). A great introduction to stretching exercises beneficial to all regardless of your current fitness levels.
If these don’t appeal to you, with a busy schedule of group exercise classes a week to choose from, you’re sure to find something at 1Life that is right for you. If you are pushed for time and prefer to combine the benefits of aerobic and body conditioning exercise while working on your flexibility, here are some classes which do just that.
Les Mills Body Combat
A high energy martial arts inspired workout. You’ll learn how to punch, kick and strike your way to superior fitness and strength. As well as getting your heart pumping and burning calories, you’ll be punching and kicking your way to better flexibility.
Les Mills Body Pump
Predominantly a weights class set to music the bending and stretching involved in the class means you get the benefit of stretching some major muscle groups while building your strength.
Les Mills Body Step
Step your way to better health with this fast-paced, explosive step class that will leave you upbeat as well as providing a full body, flexibility workout. All in the space of 45 -60 minutes.
If you prefer the pool then we have a great range of Aqua classes which are generally aerobic based (these may be known as Aqua, Aquafit, Aqua Aerobics or similar at your local centre). These classes are perfect for any age or ability (including in most cases non-swimmers - check with your local centre first). Our instructors will take you through a fun, high energy session using a series of aerobic movements. Give your fitness a boost and have great fun in the process.
Whichever class you choose, remember to try something new and mix things up a bit with your workouts, you may well discover a new firm favourite. Now go grab your workout gear and have fun!