Stretch Yourself – A Flexibility Focused Workout
Stretching isn’t new – you should be spending 10-15 minutes before any workout warming up, but have you ever thought about it as a standalone workout class? Given the new-found popularity of stretch studios, the consensus appears to be a resounding yes.
STRETCH YOURSELF, A FLEXIBILITY FOCUSED WORKOUT
While you may have reservations about paying for an exercise class minus the workout, first consider other types of exercise that are coach-based. A personal trainer can help you lift weights with better form, a running coach can help you increase your pace, and a yoga instructor can help you find depth in a challenging pose you might otherwise skip if you were alone.
At a stretch studio, the same premise is applied – with assistance from a coach, you can achieve a deeper, more beneficial stretch through a range of motions more challenging than what you would do alone.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENS DURING A STRETCH SESSION?
After discussing your goals, the session begins with you lying down, relaxing (so far, so good!). Your coach begins to move your limbs through a series of gentle stretches, guiding your body past the natural point of resistance.
In other words, pushing your stretch a little further than normal. The most important things to remember are to stay relaxed since this allows your coach to push your joints and muscles further, and to speak up if anything hurts – the objective of stretch classes is not pain.
A typical session incorporates a range of holding stretches with push and release stretches; and often, yoga straps and foam rollers are incorporated, too. Many studios even offer group classes, so you can get your stretch on with your usual workout crew, just like a spin or Pilates class.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Apart from relaxation, regular stretching can improve your range of motion, correct muscle imbalances, and improve posture.
When these things are aligned and balanced, you can expect better sleep, increased exercise endurance, and reduced injury risk. Since your muscles are all connected, a session at a stretch studio can be as effective as a deep tissue massage for relieving pain or discomfort, too!
Of course, if you don’t have a studio nearby, the popularity of stretch studios serve as a good reminder that stretching should be an important part of your workout – not just a brief after (or before) thought.
Check in with your body and aim to dedicate at least 30 minutes pre- and post-exercise to stretching, focusing on problematic areas. You may be surprised at just how effective a good stretch can have on your health!
Have you ever been to a stretch studio? Tell us about your experience in the comments!