Improve your flexibility in two weeks with these eight stretches yoga expert

Even if you weren’t part of a gymnastics team, chances are you look back on those days as the peak of your flexibility.

Like many things, bending gradually gets harder as you age, but flexibility is incredibly important for warding off injuries.

“Bending down to tie your shoelaces, picking things up off the ground, walking upstairs and standing up from the sofa are all easier the more flexible you are,” explained Evren Celik, certified yoga and breathwork practitioner and co-founder of URWell.

As we get older, we naturally lose some flexibility, but we don’t often notice until it impacts our daily life.

Evren told The Sun: “You can tell if you’re inflexible if you’re facing pain and tension, especially in the joints.

“When we’re not flexible, movement is neither easy nor enjoyable. And when movement is difficult, we’re less likely to exercise regularly, which is crucial for our wellbeing.”

Stiffness during exercise can increase the risk of potential damage.

“You’ll be more susceptible to injuries to your tendons, muscles and ligaments,” says Evren.

The expert explained that it is normal to experience stiffness in the morning, and muscle tightness after long periods of being stationary.

She said: “Most of the time, that tight feeling is a result of overnight changes in lubrication in the joints and the fascia.”

Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds muscle and bone.

It produces multiple layers with a lubricant in between that allows the layers to glide smoothly, helping flexibility.

“Because fascia envelops our muscles, when it is tight, it decreases the amount of space your muscles have to move and contract, which in turn decreases your flexibility,” explained Evren.

What exercises help with flexibility?
Yoga and martial artist Chloe Bruce revealed the best at-home stretches to help improve flexibility.

The exercises target your glutes, hamstrings, calves and hips, to help you feel agile after just two weeks of practice.

“With appropriate training, flexibility can, and should, be developed at all ages,” she told The Sun.

Before stretching, warm up to prepare physically and mentally for the movements.

Chloe recommends participating in these eight exercises everyday for two weeks.

Try your best to hold each stretch for 30 seconds on each side.

Passive Forward Fold (using a strap/towel)
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out.

Take a strap and place it around the balls of your feet, this can still be done if your knees are slightly bent.

Hold it with both hands and feel free to ease forwards. Use the strap to maintain a straight spine.

Passive Leg Raise (using a strap/towel)
Lie down on your back with both legs extended, then draw one leg into your torso.

Hug your knee right and place the strap around the arch of your foot on the tucked leg.

Grasp the strap with both hands and straighten the elevated leg.

If you are struggling, don’t force it. Repeat on the other side.

Forward Fold
Stand upright, with your feet hip-width apart.

Bend your upper body towards your knees and slowly hinge at the hips towards the floor.

Try to touch your toes.

Place a block under your hands if you can’t reach the floor.

To come up, bend through the knees and rise slowly.

Wide-Legged Forward Fold
Similar to the previous exercise, stand upright but with a wide stance.

Place your hands on your hips, bend through the knees and slowly hinge at the hips to start leaning forward.

Keeping a straight spine, aim to touch the floor, or hold your ankles.

Bend your knees to come out of the stretch.

Single Leg Forward Fold
Sit on the floor, with one foot on the inner thigh of the opposite leg.

Engage your foot to protect the knee.

As you inhale, fold forward, keeping your hips square over your legs.

Place your hands in a comfortable position – on your thighs, shins, or clasping your foot.

Repeat on the other side.

Moving Low Lunge

Start in a low lunge position, with your left knee on the ground.

While keeping your back toes tucked, lean back towards the heel of the left foot while straightening your right leg.

Reach your arms forward and then transition back to the low lunge.

Make sure to breathe throughout and repeat on the other side.

Seated Figure of Four
Start this stretch seated, with your legs outstretched.

Bent your right leg and with your left hand, take the right foot and rest it across your left leg.

Place your hands behind you and bend the left leg, bringing your left foot closer to your hips.

Aim to bring your foot as close as you can to your hips to achieve a deeper stretch.

Glute Stretch
To start this stretch, stand upright and take a deep bend into both legs.

Place one leg across the other and hold the foot of the elevated leg.

Bend towards the supporting leg, while sending your hips back and your chest towards the elevated leg.

This exercise should target the glutes of the elevated leg.

Repeat on both sides.