STRETCH IT OUT

How stretch­ing can com­ple­ment your work­outs. Plus, stretch classes worth check­ing out.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

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.

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