Being as flexible as a gymnast has its benefits, but unless you were born with natural abilities or gymnast genes, it can also be difficult to achieve. You will need to spend time daily doing stretches to limber up your muscles, which requires a large amount of patience and dedication. A better plan is to accept your own body's unique strengths and limitations and push your flexibility as far as it can go. Chances are you'll look good and feel great due to your new-found skills.
Stretch your muscles every single day. When it comes to being flexible, you either use it or lose it. Spend at least 20 minutes stretching each day at a minimum. 40 minutes per day is enough time to begin to see significant improvements after a few months. Perform at least 10 minutes of light- to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise before beginning to stretch. This will make your body stretch more easily than it would otherwise.
Sit on your exercise mat and open your legs as wide as possible. Bend forward and hold for at least 20 seconds. Stretch your inner thighs by leaning toward each leg in succession, holding each position for at least 20 seconds. Stand up and grab the ankle of one leg behind your rear end. Hold for at least 20 seconds and repeat with the other leg. Bend forward and place your hands around your ankles. Hold for at least 20 seconds. This is a basic routine for stretching your lower body and working towards the splits. Gymnasts are known for their splits, so this is an important skill to keep working on until you can do it. You can also add more stretches to make this a longer routine.
Ask a partner to help you stretch. A partner can push and pull your body parts so that they are stretching to their max capacity. You really need to push your body to its limits of flexibility, and a partner can help you. For example, lie flat on your back on your mat with one leg raised straight in the air. Ask your partner to gently push your leg toward your face and hold for at least 20 seconds. This will cause you to experience a deep stretch that would be practically impossible to do solo.
Work on your back bends and bridges. Lie flat on the floor on your exercise mat. Place your hands on the ground by your ears with your elbows up in the air. Bend your knees. Push your torso up with your hands and legs so that your body forms a bridge shape when it is lifted off of the ground. Hold for a few moments, or until you are no longer comfortable in the position. Alternatively, try to do a back bend by standing a few feet away from a wall, placing your hands on the wall in a similar position to a bridge and walking yourself down to the ground.
Move your body on a regular basis. You naturally become less flexible by living a sedentary lifestyle, so get out there and do fun activities whenever you can. Exercise, jog, dance and enjoy your body as much as possible. Yoga is also a great way to gain and maintain flexibility, so find a fun class in your area and go a few times a week or month.