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Normally we look to stretching exercises, and then yoga as ways to increase flexibility.

If you don't enjoy stretching and yoga, then increasing flexibility becomes a chore. What other activities are good for increasing flexibility?

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Perhaps we could help if we know what you needed the flexibility for? Are you a contortionist, basketball player, martial artist, etc? –  Sparafusile Mar 18 '11 at 18:54
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@Sparafusile: I'm just a regular guy who can't touch his toes. :-) My flexibility is generally bad all over. –  Jay Bazuzi Mar 19 '11 at 4:51
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4 Answers

The only activities I know of to increase flexibility are stretching. Don't look at it as a chore, look at it as a way for you to relax.

I personally find that I'm more likely to enjoy stretching if the environment is right. If I have to stretch in the middle of the weight room because the gym I'm in doesn't have a stretching area, I find that I don't enjoy it and feel like I'm going to get stepped on.

If it's a quiet area, then I find it more beneficial and relaxing.

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+1 for don't get stepped on. I have munchkins running around, and every time I lie down they jump on me! –  Jay Bazuzi Mar 19 '11 at 5:30
    
@Jay - That would drive me nuts :) But yeh, you know what I mean. Even in the gym it's easy to get self conscious when several people are grunting around you and you are trying to focus on your breathing. –  jmort253 Mar 19 '11 at 7:32
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Couldn't agree more, the environment really helps.With the summer on its way, take off to a remote peaceful place in the countryside and just stretch out / meditate, its awesome! Also (this works for me) have a whisky, it instantly relaxes me and allows me to get to my maximum stretch much faster, and sometimes further! –  user155695 Apr 11 '11 at 18:31
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Any activity that requires a large range of motion will increase your flexibility, assuming you do it consistently and strive for proper technique: gymnastics, olympic weightlifting, martial arts, break dancing, parkour, climbing. Of course, dedicated stretching is going to be most effective of all, but doing some of these is better than nothing.

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AFAIK there are differences between different kinds of exercise. Runners tend to be stiff, Zumba, Salsa etc is good for the hips.

Also I think warm stretching can be more efficient than (normal cold) Yoga. Martial Arts like Ta-know-Do with stretching should be very efficient. There is also fitness "Yoga" like Bikram and Asthanga where the body is warm. (Real Yoga is IMHO better in the long term)

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While I've also found that yoga helps flexibility, so does running. Tae kwon do is also frequently taught with very inefficient stretching methods. –  Dave Liepmann Oct 7 '12 at 19:22
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+1 on that, @DaveLiepmann - Too many martial arts instructors teach the same things they learned, whether or not it's good. –  JohnP Aug 8 '13 at 22:24
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Try Stretching 5-10 minutes every day before you go to bed. at the end of the day, your muscles are loose so it will be easier to stretch before bed than after breakfast.

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It would help if you could make your answer a bit longer and explain whether you are basing it on your own experience or maybe quote from an article that gave you this idea. –  Baarn Oct 7 '12 at 18:57
    
And -1. While your muscles may be "looser" in the evening, they are still what is considered "cold". If you want to stretch in the evening, you should do at least 10 minutes of activity using the targeted stretch areas to warm up the muscles and prepare them. Stretching on cold muscles is a good way to injure yourself. –  JohnP Aug 5 '13 at 14:48
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