Tag Archives: exercise

To stretch or not to stretch?

Here at Pilates Connection, our clients are often surprised at how sore they are after embarking on a long walk. If you were going to the gym or on a long run, you may not even question doing a little warm up or cool down, however when it comes to walking, many see this as a “passive” exercise that doesn’t require any stretching.  So, the question remains – should we stretch before, after or before and after walking?

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Let me first state that when doing research for this article, there are many conflicting studies and reports, with no real general consensus on which combination of stretching will be the best for your body. When it comes to elite athletes who require big bursts of energy for explosive sports like sprinting, athletics, etc, some believe that stretching prior to exercise loosens up the muscles too much and can actually decrease power and performance. However, if you’re a gymnast or dancer that requires flexibility, stretching before hand can have a distinct advantage.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, range of motion in your joints. Better flexibility may improve your performance in physical activities or decrease your risk of injuries by helping your joints move through their full range of motion and enabling your muscles to work most effectively.”

There are two main types of stretching:

  • Static stretching: stretching a muscle to the point of mild discomfort and holding in that position for at least 30 seconds
  • Dynamic Stretching: performing a gentle repetitive movement but staying inside the normal range of motion (this might be a gentle walk as a warm up for running, or arm swings).

Most research has focused on static stretching, and as mentioned, the jury is still out as to whether stretching before exercise can help prevent injury, and whether it can reduce soreness when done after exercise. So, the moral of the story is – do what ever is right for your body – chances are it’s likely to make you feel better, and is unlikely to do you any harm.

In my personal opinion, most people will benefit from a few good stretches after going on a long walk, which may also help in reducing soreness the following days. Importantly, stretching also allows you to relax, slow down your heart rate and get your body back into balance. Here’s a few stretches I’d recommend at the end of your walk, which should take a total of 5 minutes (click on the link below to see pictures and instructions for each of these stretches:)

  • Buttock stretch
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Inner thigh stretch
  • Calf stretch
  • Thigh / quad stretch

View the 5 minute stretch routine

If you’d like to do some further reading about the various studies on stretching, here are a few articles we’ve come across during our research:

NHS – UK’s largest Health Site

IFL Science

Mayo Clinic

Top Five Reasons For Exercising with a Friend

Research has consistently shown that exercise is greatly enhanced when you are with a friend or in a group setting.  Our new Reformer Classes at Pilates Connection is a great way to exercise with a friend.  Here are just five reasons why bringing a friend along to Pilates will give you a boost..

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Time Flies

Working along side a friend, is a great way to make the time go faster.  It is always fun to chat and laugh while you sweat.

You are less likely to cancel a workout

Exercising with a friend comes with a side benefit: you’ll be more likely to do it. If not, you will be disappointing someone else by cancelling the workout. It is all about accountability, and a good way to remember and carry through on your commitment to enhance your fitness and your health.  Just ask yourself, how many times have you made plans and then cancelled them, when you are doing an activity on you own.  Yes group pressure really does work.

It Boosts Your Competitive Spirit

A study of 1,000 women found that 64 per cent of those who run, go to the gym or attend group exercise classes with friends will push themselves harder than if they went alone. This in turn has the added benefit of getting more out of your workout and burning more calories.

Shared Goals

When exercising, it is a good idea to set goals, if you set a goals with a friend, you are more likely to achieve them.

You Get to Hang Out After the Workout

When you exercise with a friend, it is not only a workout but a social occasion.  Many of our clients at Pilates Connection, after a class or a studio appointment, will head down to one of the many great coffee shops in Lane Cove and have a chat and a coffee after class.

Pilates Connection has a number of different Group Reformer Classes for you to try.  Situated in Lane Cove, we have a brand new studio space and new Reformers for you to try.  Your first reformer class is free – so you have nothing to lose.

Our expert team of professional Pilates instructors will guide you through a 50 minutes session of body sculpting fun, ensuring you are connecting correctly and getting the maximum out of every exercise.

We offer a variety of Pilates Reformer group classes, Reformer for Golfers, Reformer Booty Buster, Reformer Team Challenge, Reformer Jump Board, Man Up on the Reformer and Reformer Tower to mention a few, but we suggest newbies start with a few Reformer Basics Classes.

 

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So grab a friend and come along and try out our Reformer Classes –  you will not be disappointed.

If you would like to book you can either use this link http://bit.ly/pilatesonlinebooking or call us on 0400 012 693