Many people think that flexibility training is just a way to cool down after a difficult workout. However, while stretching is important for this, it can also be essential in helping you to achieve your weight loss goals. Increasing your flexibility can produce increases both in your recover time, as well as in your total athletic performance.
Increases in Your Recovery Time
One of the most important ways that increased flexibility can aid in weight loss is through an increase in your recovery time. Your "recovery time" is also known as the amount of time that it takes your body to recover from a hard day of exercise. Research has found that individuals who have a small degree of flexibility often exhibit an extended recovery time. This means that if you have tight muscles, it may take you several days to recoup until you feel able to perform another workout. In contrast, those people who are highly flexible may be able to get back to their previous level of exercise within a day or two. Because these people are able to exercise more frequently, they are also able to burn more calories, thereby increasing their calorie burn, and producing greater weight loss than those people who have to wait several days in order to exercise.
Increases in Your Athletic Ability
Another way that increased flexibility can aid in weight loss is through an increase in your athletic performance. In this case, your "athletic performance" can be described as the speed at which you walk or jog, the pace at which you swim laps or bicycle, or even the number of stair steps that you can climb over a specific period of time. Studies have shown that those people who have lower levels of flexibility typically perform these activities at a slower pace than those who are more limber. Performing these types of activities at a faster rate can increase the number of calories that are burned over the course of the exercise period, thereby aiding in significant weight loss overall.
How to Increase Your Flexibility
Obviously, staying as flexible as possible is essential when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. In order to achieve optimal results when it comes to increasing your flexibility, start by focusing on stretches that target the muscles which are worked during your specific exercise routine. For example, if you spend most of your time jogging, you should include stretches that target the hamstrings, quadriceps, and hip flexor muscles. In contrast, if you perform upper body strength training exercise, focus instead on stretching the chest, back, biceps, and triceps muscles. If you are unsure of what types of stretches are right for you, consult with a personal trainer or a gym employee. He or she should be able to provide some guidance on what types of stretches you should choose.