In the past we have seen fads and phases pass through the fitness industry and the older we are the more we have seen and possibly tried and enjoyed. Step aerobics, Spinning, Jazzacise, Bootcamp, CrossFit, Zumba and many more. The very keen often attend favourite classes four or five times a week resulting in overworked contracted muscles. Sound familiar?
The U.S usually lead in the world of fitness and the latest we see coming from the American exercise studios now are private classes devoted exclusively to relaxing those bundles of toned yet tired muscles. Stretching PROPERLY (rather than just deciding you ought to attend a yoga class) seems to be the next big thing in fitness. However should this type of class even be just a ‘phase’?
Stretching is especially important in our modern world because we don’t have as many slow controlled movements integrated into most of our lives anymore. We need to keep our range of motion open to help prevent joint disease, pain and posture issues and to improve athletic performance
The increasingly popular one-on-one personalised stretch sessions are better than group classes where ‘one routine suits all’. Each private session can be designed to target the goals of the individual whether to supplement a favourite exercise workout or to counter current lifestyle issues or physical challenges.
Stretching is also something you may have to let your body get used to. It might not be the easy class option many envisage. It may start off painful, but give it a couple of times and the pain will decrease as your range of motion increases.
Such classes should not just to increase flexibility but also to reduce tension and by the end of the class clients should feel relaxed and rejuvenated. These new style of classes involve stretch coaches working one on one with clients in customized sessions. At Body By Design we offer the same idea within a private or small group class combining regular stretches with stretches using an exercise ball which we find makes the workout more challenging, effective and fun. The stretches are based on part dancers warm up and stretches, popular sports stretches, traditional yoga poses and stretches and Pilates moves, all combined with the ball – a new hybrid style of individualised stretch class with variations to suit everyone.
Target audiences for these classes are both the sedentary souls perennially slouched over their computers, and fitness enthusiasts who view pre- and post-workout stretching as time better spent in transit or in the shower!
Whether you work out or don’t work out, your muscles contract throughout the day. That keeps happening over time and puts pressure on your nerves and bones. People often have nagging pain which you can’t figure out how to get rid of and so you just live with it. It can be even worse for people who do work out, because when you stretch all that effort simply creates more contracting and more tension. Pain felt is often tension which can be released by correct stretching exercises and technique.
So these classes gaining popularity in the States are relevant to everyone and hopefully won’t be just another fad. Stretching is a must for us all.
Anna Louise – Fitness Consultant