Stretching Is often the most overlooked and undervalued part of a workout — but it’s absolutely essential. We know it can be feel a little slow (read: boring) for the high-intensity fitness fanatic, but we’d be remiss not to address the key body benefits. Sassy Gregson-Williams, former ballerina and the founder of online workout studio Naturally Sassy showed us this combination of stretches to open us up the power of a regular flexibility routine . It ony takes 10 minutes daily to see real body change. Try this simple stretching routine that’s easy to stick to, even if you hate stretching!
Stretching should be an important part of your daily exercise regime as it helps ease tightness, prevent injury, quicken recovery and, ultimately, help you attain faster results. One way to add movement to your workout routine, especially one that pushes your range of motion and flexibility, is ballet. Ballet Blast, the first class in the Naturally Sassy online studio, combines stretching with strength to create a daily stretching routine you can stick with along with a workout that simultaneously uses strength and length is optimal for body training.
Why Should We Stretch?
Greater Flexibility. Flexibility is integral to a healthy and mobile body. Flexible muscles allow you to perform better in your daily activities and reduce risk of injury. Inflexible muscles often pull your body out of its natural alignment — and then forces it to use compensation patters to perform when mobility is not sufficient.
Perfected Posture.Stretching can help reverse long-term bad postural habits, particularly for those of us spending most of our day siting down. The most common postural types are kyphosis and hyperlordosis. Kyphosis is a hunchback posture, which shortens the chest muscles. Stretching through the chest and shoulders will help. Hyperlordosis (also known as swayback) is an excessive curve inward of the lower back, requiring you to stretch tighter back muscles. Bad posture is one of the best incentives to stretch. If you fix alignment your body will move better and feel better. Your workouts will become more effective because you will now easily access the correct muscles needed to optimize training.
Improved Recovery. Stretching consistently is shown to increase blood flow to muscles, quickening recovery time and reducing the dreaded post-workout DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). After a workout use static stretches, holding in position for 10 to 30 seconds. And be sure you’re always working in a comfortable position to avoid over stretching.
Will We Become More Flexible?
How long should you expect to stretch/exercise before you experience a notable change in flexibility? The Naturally Sassy online workout studio includes a six-week stretch program that has helped our members drastically improve their flexibility. Flexibility isn’t a goal with a clear beginning and end — it needs to be integrated into your routine every day. But for someone that doesn’t usually stretch and wanting to see improvement, a 30 second stretch for 10 minutes per day is the sweet spot to see real change in six weeks. And bonus: You’ll form a new body positive daily habit.
Sassy’s Essential Stretch Routine
Hip Flexor Stretch: Start in a kneeling position, straighten the back leg lifting the heel off the floor and place the opposite hand on the floor. Twist to open the body into that front leg, lifting the arm and gaze to the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds, right and left.
Hamstring Stretch: Start with a wide parallel stance, continuing to engage the core and release down into a deep hamstring stretch. Beginners: Cross your arms and hold alternate elbows as you hang. Advanced: Reach for alternate toe to hand. Hold for 30 seconds.
Side Stretch: Start with one leg extended to the side and tuck the other in across the mid-line. Side-bend over the extended leg keeping the shoulders in a stacked position. Hold for 30 seconds, right and left.
Runners Stretch: Start in a kneeling position, straighten the front leg and place hands on either side of your calf on the floor. Feel as though you’re pushing your spine into your stomach to keep a straight alignment. Hold for 30 seconds, right and left.
Calf + Peroneus Stretch: Sitting down, extend one leg forward with the other foot coming to rest on the inside of your knee. The opposite hand to extended foot reaches for the big toe changing the alignment of the foot so it points slightly inwards. Sit up straight, pushing your lower back into your core to maintain posture. Hold for 30 seconds, right and left.
Scoop up an addictively clean dessert recipe from Sassy here (hint: they’re paleo-friendly raspberry cookie crumb bars).