Do you have aches all over your body?
Our joints get stiffer as we age, thus shortening our tendons and ligaments. This significantly limits our range of motion, leaving us less flexible.
We all know exercise is important even as we grow older, but so does flexibility!
There are a lot of advantages and benefits of having good flexibility. This includes improving your physical ability, improving posture and relieving annoying body aches.
So, how to get flexible at age 40?
One of the best ways to get flexible is by practicing yoga. It’s suitable for all age range and anyone can do it at their own pace.
Here are the 7 yoga poses you can easily practice on your own and build that flexibility!
7 Yoga Poses to Regain Flexibility After 40
1. Standing Side Bend
Standing Side Bend is not just merely performing a standing and bending stretch. You have to focus on breathing while you stretch. With each exhale, you stretch your body a little more and open up the muscle tissues around your rib cage and spine.
How to do the Standing Side Bend:
- Stand tall with both your feet and legs together. On inhale, reach both arms straight up towards the ceiling.
- On exhale, hold your hands together and lower your right arm down towards the right side of your body. At the same time, bend right from the waist.
- Hold this pose for 5 breaths. As you exhale, lengthen the left arm over the head and bend your body deeper to the right.
- To release, inhale and bend back to the center from your waist, returning your arms to center.
- Repeat on the left side for 5 breaths.
Tips: As you bend to the side, squeeze and engage your core, glutes and quadriceps completely. This provides a solid base of support and stability so you can focus on stretching even further and deeper into the pose.
2. Extended Triangle Pose
The extended triangle pose stretches the lower body including hamstrings, hips, groins, and calves, and upper body including shoulders, chest, and spine.
Aside from improving flexibility, it also strengthens the muscles in thighs and tones the knees and ankles.
How to do the Extended Triangle Pose:
- Begin standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Next, step your feet wide apart, about 3 to 4 feet.
- Turn your right foot out 90 degrees. Keep both of your heels aligned.
- On exhale, extend your torso to the right and bend from the hip joint. Strengthen the left leg and press the outer heel firmly to the floor. Gently rotate the torso to the left to keep two sides equally long.
- Place your right hand on your shin, ankle or the floor outside your right foot, wherever that is comfortable without distorting the sides of the torso.
- Now stretch your left arm toward the ceiling until it’s in line with the tops of your shoulders.
- Turn your head to the left gently so your eyes are gazing softly at the left thumb.
- Hold this pose for 1 minute.
- To release, inhale and press your left heel strongly into the floor while lifting your torso. Relax and lower your arms.
- Repeat for the same length of time for the opposite side.
3. Standing Forward Bend
Doing the standing forward bend stretches the hamstrings, calves, hips and your upper back.
This pose is especially great for tight and tired upper back muscles. The gentle pull created by the weight of your arms pulling down to the ground will help to release the tightness of your shoulders and the middle and upper back.
If you have been hunching your shoulders up around your ears or doing anything that causes your upper back and shoulders to become tired, this will be great for relieving your back.
How to do the Standing Forward Bend:
- Stand with your heels slightly apart. On exhale, bend forward from your hip joints (not from the waist). Like all the forward bends, the focus is on lengthening of the front torso as you move into the position fully.
- Cross your forearms and hold your elbows. Press your heels firmly into the floor and try to lift your butt towards the ceiling.
- As you inhale, lengthen the front torso slightly, and on exhale, release a little more into the forward bend. Allow your head to hang.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- To release, bring your hands onto your hips. On inhale, press your tailbone down and into the pelvis and come up with a long front torso.
Tips: Don’t worry if you do not have the flexibility to do the pose, you can practice with your knees bent until you can straighten your legs. When you do bend your knees, then you have to avoid over-rounding your back.
4. Cobra Pose
When it comes to flexibility, it’s important to also stretch your front torso. This is especially important for those of us who sit long hours over a desk or steering wheel all day long.
The Cobra Pose stretches the muscles in your shoulders, chest, and neck. If you hunch a lot, it can also relieve tightness in your upper body.
How to do the Cobra Pose:
- Begin lying prone on the floor with your legs back and tops of the feet on the floor. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Bring the elbows close to your body.
- Now press the tops of the feet and thighs firmly into the floor.
- On inhale, straighten the arms to lift the chest off the floor. Press your tailbone toward the pubis and firm your buttocks.
- Keep your shoulder blades firm against your back and spread the backbend evenly throughout the entire spine.
- Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
5. Child Pose
After doing the Cobra Pose, you can transition into the Child Pose to relieve your back and passively stretch the muscles of the back torso.
The Child Pose stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles.
How to do the Child Pose:
- Begin by kneeling on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels. Next, separate your knees slightly wider than hip-width.
- On exhale, lay your torso down between your thighs. Allow your forehead to come to the floor.
- Extend your arms in front, palms facing down. Lengthen from your hips to your armpits.
- To go into the pose deeper, you can slowly walk your fingers further.
- Hold this pose for 1 minute or longer.
- To release, gently use your hands to walk your torso upright so you can sit back on your heels.
Tips: If you have very tight hips, you can keep your knees and thighs together.
6. Camel Pose
The Camel Pose increases flexibility in the spine, opens the chest and shoulders, and improves circulation and digestion. It also stretches the front of the body including the quadriceps, chest and abdomen.
Backbends like Camel Pose can counteract slouching and restore the natural flexibility of your spine.
How to do the Camel Pose:
- Begin by kneeling with your thighs perpendicular to the floor and hips distance apart.
- Open up your chest as you reach your hands back one at a time and grasp your heels. Keep the tops of your feet flat on the floor. If you need a little more height, you can tuck your toes under.
- Next, bring your hips forward so they stay over your knees.
- Let your head come back. If that doesn’t feel good, you can keep your chin tucked instead.
- Hold for this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- To release, bring your chin toward your chest. Hands to your hips. Using your core muscles and your hands, slowly bring your body to an upright kneeling position.
7. Runner’s Lunge
The Runner’s Lunge is one of the best poses to get flexible at age 40 because it’s perfect for stretching your lower body including the hips, groin and legs.
It’s great for those who are experiencing hip pain and tightness because this pose relieves your lower body from tension.
This pose focuses on your legs since you’ll be able to rest your hands on the floor.
How to do the Runner’s Lunge:
- Begin going into a plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders.
- On inhale, step your left foot toward the front edge of your mat so that your left knee can form a right angle.
- Now hold this position and try to release your hips into gravity, relaxing your muscles. While doing this, you will feel a deeper stretch in your hips.
- Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
To make your practice more comfortable, you can always get a yoga mat!
It’s never too late to get flexible at age 40. If you haven’t been stretching for a while, you might find yourself very stiff and inflexible. And, that doesn’t mean you need to force your body to achieve the perfect form of each pose.
The best approach is to take it easy and be gentle with your body!
Do what your body is able to do. Give yourself 10 minutes a day to practice these yoga poses.
Gradually, you will see the effects of your stretching. In fact, a 10-week period of research has shown that people who do yoga biweekly have significantly increased flexibility (source).
In the long term, you’ll be thanking yourself for spending a few minutes stretching every day to avoid aches and injuries.
With that said, nothing beats a good stretch after a long day! Get ready to feel energetic and young again!
Related Flexibility Article
- 15 Minute Beginner Yoga Workout For Flexibility
- How To Regain Flexibility After 50
- 10 Yoga Poses For Correcting Bad Posture