You either love my fitness instructing style or hate it. Either way if you stick around you’ll benefit. As a 5’11 out going black woman I’ve been told I can be intimidating. So as an instructor I’ve embraced this as my so-called “super power” and used it to make sure my participants get the most out of their workout. I tell them “I’m like your mother who makes you eat your vegetables”.
I use this super power mostly at the end of class when I’m doing the stretch. This is when those ADD or busy types get bored with the stretching routine and want to climb over everyone to put their equipment away first or leave early. Like they’re going to get so much more accomplished in those extra five minutes. I call these people out, in a nice way I hope, and start listing the benefits of stretching and how this is your body’s reward for the hard workout you’ve endured.
The fact is stretching is the key to youth. Stretching elongates the muscle to its fullest length increasing flexibility and improving strength. When done properly it helps the muscle by increasing blood flow and bringing nourishment to the muscles and removing waste. It also helps the joints to move freely and prevents injuries.
Researchers have found it improves balance and coordination as well as artery function and lowers blood pressure. Is this enough to convince you to take the time and stretch?
Well think of any elderly dancer or Yogi. Think of a person whose daily practice includes or used to include stretching. Look at how they move and feel. The ones I’ve observed seem to move more easily than others their age. On the other hand, show me a person who can’t touch their toes and I’ll show you a person who is or will eventually be complaining about back or hip pain.
Simply take the time after a workout to stretch the major muscle groups you’ve been working. Clear your mind and breathe deeply. Put your hands on your thighs and arch your spine to stretch your low back. Lunge forward and tilt your pelvis to stretch the hip flexor. Reach for the ground with your knees straight and elongate the hamstrings. Hold these stretches for 10-20 seconds. Do it twice! Stretch any other body parts you’ve just worked so you can use them better next time. It should also help you feel less sore the next day.
You attend group fitness classes so you can be shown the correct or best way to exercise. So don’t skip out before you’ve gotten your money’s worth. Now go eat some spinach and stand up straight.