Although they are not discussed as much as aerobic and strength-building exercises, exercises to increase your flexibility and balance are a key part of a beneficial fitness plan.
Add stretches to increase flexibility
Flexibility exercises can improve overall ease of movement, decrease stress on the joints, and reduce risk of injury. Because flexibility exercises help improve blood flow to the muscles, stretching an injured muscle will speed up your recovery.
Although they are not specifically recommended in the Physical Guideline for Americans, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you incorporate flexibility exercises a minimum of two to three days per week into your overall fitness program.
Most fitness centers have posters with stretches for all muscle groups that you can do after an aerobic exercise, when your muscles are warmed up. Mindful movement exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, are also excellent for developing flexibility, and Pilates can improve flexibility, as well as core stability.