Have you ever taken pilates? Besides strengthening your core and arms it also helps to increase your overall flexibility. When I was younger I used to take the classes regularly and let me tell you, they are vigorous! However, proof is in the pudding and they are well worth it. In a recent study of 50 physically active people, half took pilates twice a week for an hour each time and the other half maintained their regular gym routine for a total of 12 weeks.
After the three month period, researchers found that the participants who took the pilates classes had a much greater increase in overall strength and flexibility than those who maintained their normal physical activity. The pilates group was able to do 39 percent more sit ups and 47 percent more sit ups in a minute than the other group. Other physical activities were tested as well. The pilates group even grew a centimeter in height!
There’s no reason to give up your regular workout for pilates, but a class or two a week would be a great add on. You can even do them in your own living room and follow instructors on demand or youtube.