STRETCH IT OUT
How stretching can complement your workouts. Plus, stretch classes worth checking out.
Stretch it out
LOW. BORING. PAINFUL. These are the common grouses when it comes to stretching.
If you’ve been stretching regularly, good for you. If not, read on: You are in great need of a stretch – especially if you are a runner. When you run, your muscles contract repeatedly to perform the required movements. Afterwards, they are naturally in a tighter and shorter state.
“Stretching them will help relieve tension and elongate the muscles back to their normal length or beyond,” says Bong Asuncion, training manager at Amore Fitness.
Anabel Chew, co-founder of Webarre adds: “Stretching is just as important as the workout itself. It increases your mobility and flexibility, enabling you to perform better. It also improves posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position.
“For example, after spending a lot of time in front of computers, many of us have tight chest muscles that pull the head and shoulders forward, leaving us with a hunched look. Over time, your body is thrown out of alignment, creating muscular imbalances and poor posture.”
Exercise, such as running, isn’t the only source of tight muscles. Daily activities such as sitting, slouching and being in a certain posture for prolonged periods cause muscles to stiffen up as well.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing flexibility exercises at least two days in a week; those with stiff muscles should stretch daily.
With the growing spotlight on health and fitness, savvy gyms and studios in Singapore have started to offer stretch-based classes to complement exercise routines as well as empower the deskbound.
Webarre, for instance, started a Stretch & Technique class that incorporates floor barre movements and deep, active stretching. At Triplefit in Millenia Walk, its Regen class, which covers foam rolling and stretching, has been so well-received, the gym decided to open up more slots.
Triplefit coach Zack Sakuwan says: “Foam rolling before stretching helps to release tension in the fascia [the tissue that wraps around our muscles], so it will be much easier to stretch the muscles after that.”
Another guaranteed perk of stretching: You’ll look taller and leaner instantly. “When muscles are lengthened, your posture tends to improve and this gives the illusion of a better physique,” says Bong.
Ready? Here are seven group classes to get you rolling.