If I asked you how you stayed fit, you would probably tell me what exercises you were doing, your activity level, and how often you worked out. If I asked you what your flexibility workout or stretch workout was, you would probably knit your eyebrows together in confusion. You might wonder, a flexibility workout? What is she talking about?
Stretching. Let’s be honest, it’s often considered the ugly stepsibling of a fitness routine.
For many, if they even bother to stretch at all, it’s as an afterthought of their workout. It’s thought of as the tacked on piece to a real exercise routine. Even for me, when I was early on in my career, I thought of stretching simply as a way to warm-up the body and prevent injuries. But now, with decades of experience and education behind me, I understand much more fully how vital a stretch workout is to achieving whole body health. That’s why, at the Bodyologist, we give recovery equal billing with fitness when we say, “Sweat Better; Stretch Smarter.”
Call it a flexibility workout, a stretch workout, recovery, or even stretch therapy, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you find the right stretching technique for you and that you do it. At the Bodyologist, our Stretch Smarter method has its foundation in Fascial Stretch Therapy (I am Level 3 FST certified). As with FST, our stretch workout is assisted—meaning a Bodyologist is manipulating a client’s body through planes of movement. One of the reasons we call it the Stretch Smarter method, is because what we do is more than stretch the different muscles and joints in isolation. Instead, we stretch your body as if it is one whole, interconnected being—because that is what it is. That’s why tightness in your neck can give you a headache, or affect your back or shoulders—because everything is connected.
But let’s get back to why the Bodyologist gives flexibility workouts and recovery the same weight that we give fitness training. We all understand that lack of flexibility and joint pain can lead to injuries or limit our athletic abilities, and that a stretch workout can address those issues. However, the benefits to a recovery routine go way beyond that. Did you know that some stretching techniques, like what we do as part of our Stretch Smarter method, can improve circulation? Or that it can relieve stress? It can even improve endurance and your athletic performance. Really comprehensive stretch workouts, like what we do at the Bodyologist, will also be customized to you and your body’s needs, which only serves to increase the benefits even more. Sitting at a desk all day? We would tailor our stretch plan to that. Feeling overwhelmed? We would try to address that in our recovery session.
Adding the right flexibility workout to your exercise routine will yield benefits that are completely separate from those gained by doing cardio and weight training. Stop treating a stretch workout as an afterthought and it might actually open the door to greater overall health. If your interest is piqued and you’d like to learn more about smart stretching, I would suggest you check out Body University, the Bodyologist’s online library of videos. You’ll find short videos that offer brief stretches to combat the body stressors we all experience in our everyday lives.
Then again, if you’re ready to dive into the full experience of what a comprehensive stretch therapy program can do for you, be sure to schedule a consultation with a Bodyologist today.