Stretching is an integral part of any exercise routine. Some of the ‘rules’ about stretching have changed as our knowledge of kinesiology and exercise science has evolved, but the basic premise remains the same: your body needs to stretch!
Too many active people – even athletes and others who know better (ahem, could that be you?) – skimp on stretching. But that last 15 minutes of your workout time devoted to stretching is a crucial one, and can have some negative consequences if you don’t give your body the stretching it needs.
Stretching improves flexibility, which comes with an array of physical benefits:
- Helps joints have healthy range of motion, which reduces the risk of injury
- Lengthens the muscles, which keeps the body young and agile as you age
- Improves circulation, which promotes healing and recovery throughout the body
- Helps improve athletic performance
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Improves posture, reducing neck and back pain
- Reduces stress and tension
Static vs Dynamic Stretching
Static stretching is where you hold a minimally challenging position for 30-60 seconds to stretch a joint or muscle. The idea is that in that time, the muscles will loosen and your body will take the stretch deeper on its own.
Dynamic stretching is designed to take a joint or muscle through a challenging, repetitive motion, moving the body part deeper with each repetition.
Both dynamic stretching and static stretches have their place in your routine; however, the general consensus is that static stretching should not be done on a “cold” body (not properly warmed up with walking, jogging, or other light exercise). Conversely, dynamic stretching is ideal to prepare your muscles and joints for exercise.
Lagree and Stretching
Do I need to stretch before my Lagree class?
At The Haute Room, we do not stop after each move or set of movements to stretch. The slow and controlled movements in each 50-minute Lagree class produce enough joint and muscle lubrication to properly warm up the body and enable you to perform the entire workout without stretching beforehand! However, you are always welcome to utilize the free 10 minutes after class to stretch. If you don’t feel the need after class, before bedtime is a good time to stretch as well.
Some of the Lagree movements that could benefit from a good stretch after class include:
- Scrambled eggs
- Escalator/express/elevator lunges
Stay tuned for a post on some of our favorite post-workout stretches!