While it’s important to have a well-rounded exercise routine that includes strength training, endurance, cardio, etc.  You never want to forget the importance of flexibility and toning. This article will dive a little deeper as to why the two should always be a part of your weekly routine and how they may go hand-in-hand.

I’m Flexible!

Stretching gives way to flexibility which allows muscles to reach their full range of motion.  Want to improve that golf swing? Stretch it out! Feeling achy when you reach that top shelf? Stretch it out! Have problems with your balance? Stretch it out!

Activities you could try that increase flexibility include:

  • Yoga
  • Karate
  • Dance
  • Pilates
  • Swimming

A recent study indicates that stretching is no longer the first step to exercise.  Instead, start with a warm-up like a brisk walk or shagging some tennis balls.  A quick 10 minute warm-up actually makes muscles supple and oxygenates the blood. Then you can do some light stretches while they are nice and warm before diving into your workout.

I Like Your Tone

Having good muscle tone isn’t just for bikini season (although that is an added benefit)! Having leaned, toned muscles also helps:

  • Relieve back pain
  • Improve mental health
  • Boosts immunity
  • Improve bone density
  • Increase metabolism

You don’t always need a weight machine to tone your body.  You can try: planks, burpees, squats, ab rolls, or push-ups.  Get your heart pumping and get those muscles working! Muscles that are active and moving lead to less body fat and an overall leaner appearance.  You’ll also build endurance and stamina.

Altogether Now

What is the best way to incorporate both flexibility and toning workouts? There are actually a few simple exercises you can research that will give you the benefit of both worlds.

These include:

  • Hamstring Stretch
  • Sitting Side Stretch
  • Cobra Stretch
  • Standing Quad Stretch

Many of these exercises are reflective of Yoga, where you’re not only stretching but using your core and activating other muscles to hold the stretch (or pose) for 30 seconds or more.

Another added benefit to Yoga is that by incorporating flexibility and toning exercises together in one routine, you’re cutting your workout time in half.  See if your area offers hot yoga and you’ll receive the added benefit of sweating more toxins from your body during your workout.