Flexibility exercises include yoga, Pilates, palm touches and shoulder rolls. Performing a warmup before stretching helps the muscles stretch farther and prevents pain during the stretches.
Yoga has a variety of different poses, the majority of which improve flexibility in either the upper or lower body. Some poses involve holding a position for several seconds, while others involve progressing through a series of movements.
Pilates involves a series of exercises which focus on stretching muscles, strengthening the body and improving the body's alignment. Practitioners perform Pilates on a mat, although many types of equipment are available to use in conjunction with the workout.
To perform palm touches, stand with the feet next to each other and bend the knees slightly. Bend at the waist and reach as low as possible while attempting to touch the floor with the palms. Hold the lowest possible position for 10 seconds. Practitioners with lower back issues should modify the exercise by crossing the legs.
For shoulder rolls, lift the shoulders straight up. Roll the shoulders backwards and down, and repeat for five to 10 repetitions. An alternative option is rolling one shoulder at a time, or alternating shoulders for each repetition.
For safety, practitioners should always use steady, slow movements when stretching. Breathe evenly during the stretch, as this relaxes the body.