Stretch it Out

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You’re at work. You’re hovered over your computer 💻 (we’re assuming a lot — sorry, we know some of you don’t have desk jobs, but bear with with us). Your hamstrings are tight, your core is a non-engaged mess, your neck is tilted at an ungodly angle, and everything feels out of whack. What you need is a good stretch. So, before you read the rest of this post, why don’t you go ahead and do one of your favorite stretches? It can be as simple as stretching your arms over head and letting a big sigh out of your mouth. AHHHHHH. It feels good to move, to breathe, to stretch. And stretching really, really, really, should be part of your daily life.

What do the doctors say?

We’ve done our homework on stretching and are well-aware that there are medical studies that value stretching and believe it prevents injury, whereas other studies believe stretching is detrimental to our bodies. We’re of the school (Center Stage University and the University of Michigan!) that believes both are true (it’s not a copout). Stretching, as a whole, is beneficial, but you have to find the right kinds to fit you and your body. If it hurts so good, keep doing that stretch — but stretching should never hurt your body or feel like your muscles are being torn to shreds.

Stretching is like a pair of leggings. You gotta find your right fit and then rock the hell out of them. Anyhow, here are seven reasons you should be stretching (brought to you by me, Sam Strager, owner of Center Stage):

Sam’s Top-7 Reasons to Stretch

  1. Stretching improves range of motion & reduces the risk of injury. Like we said, you don’t have to go hardcore. But, but, but, there’s a big reason pro-athletes spend all that time stretching. If it’s good enough for LeBron, you better believe it’s good enough for all of our Barre-Stars at Center Stage.

  2. A good stretch actually improves your balance. During the 9 to 5 and beyond we’re carrying our laptops, purses, gym bags and even our kids. That puts a lot of strain on one side of the body. Sooo, we really need to stretch out to even things up and balance out your body.

  3. Gets the blood flowing and increases blood and nutrient supply to muscles, thereby possibly reducing muscle soreness (if you have a super-intense injury, come chat with me and we can think of a way to stretch without straining the injury).

  4. Ahhhhhhhhh. Stretching alleviates stress and aches and pains. It simply feels good, and we all know you don’t spend enough time on yourself. Stretching is the new pampering. It’s like a spa day for the muscles, IT bands and joints.

  5. Stretching also calms the mind. When you’re stretching on the mat, up the wall, on the barre, your mind goes on a voyage. Nothing seems to matter.

  6. When you stretch for just 10 measly minutes a day, you become more limber allowing you to go deeper than you ever thought possible: Like actually hitting a deep squat in class! Who wouldn’t want to do that?

  7. It makes you a well-rounded athlete. When athletes roll into Center Stage they’re looking to build up their strength and cardio. Of course, they find it, but they also find a good stretch — and it comes in three phases: The beginning — we like to warm you up prepping you for class but not to much, just a quick jolt to activate everything. The middle — when you’re flowing in class, you’re stretching without even knowing it, especially in exercises like lunge, when you bend your back knee down to the floor and engage hamstrings/seat you stretch hip flexor and thigh. And the end — we love to give the body a good stretch at the end of class when the body is warm; the warmer the muscles the more open you can get. With every intense movement, you’re stretching, even if you don’t know it — and when stretching becomes so effortless and seamless, it allows you to focus on other things: strength, form, endurance or whatever else you’re looking for at the hottest barre in town.

OK, enough reading. It's time to get to it & stretch!