Let's Stretch!


Let’s Stretch

The type of stretching we do most commonly in exercise to music classes is known as “static stretching”.

During the course of a 25 year career in fitness & dance, stretching has always been much debated. When, what, and how long for. Research has been contradictory over these years and I always read the latest 'current thinking' with interest. I would observe that for my area of fitness delivery I do see evidence of the benefits of stretching both once the body is warm (preparatory stretches) and at the end of the workout. Both for my body and for those of my clients. 

Some reports state that there is little, if any, evidence that stretching pre- or post-participation prevents injury or subsequent muscle soreness. Recent research further suggests that whilst the stretches at the end of a warm-up may not be necessary for a general population (seniors are recommended), the stretches after a workout remain a good idea. Therefore the qualified and experienced teacher must make a decision based on their knowledge and experience, the age of the class and the type of activity followed during a class as to how best to prescribe stretching.

Stretches should be taken once the body has built some heat: 10 – 15 minutes into activity, even longer if it is very cold. At this point you hold them for 8-10 seconds only. Then at the end of a lesson, or activity, stretches should be held for 20-30 seconds. The correct alignment and posture is crucial. Stretches can be taken standing, seated or lying down. 

It is a good idea to instigate a simple stretching programme into your everyday routine and it is a little known fact that a warm bath is a sufficient warm-up to just stretch your muscles – indeed if you feel agile and safe enough some stretches can even be taken in the bath, but be very careful!!

Here are some stretches, (most definitely not taken in the bath, phew!) for main muscle groups that you can use, if you are unsure make sure you catch a class for full instruction which will give you the confidence to practise these safely:



Post Christmas Fitness Panic

So here we are first week of January - panic stations as you view the small food baby that has taken residence on your usually flat tummy... Christmas has come and gone with relative restraint on the food. Fast forward one week, when the compulsion to empty the bursting fridge so as not to be wasteful, takes over.  You find yourself eating food you would never normally touch. Oh Yummy, cranberry sauce and brie in a pitta bread, with a side of reheated (lets be honest - cold) parmesan parsnips. What was I thinking?

So January. New year. New start. New habits.

New research suggests the exercise we do in our forties and fifties has a direct correlation to the standard of health we can expect in later life. My own experience of teaching seniors for over 20 years bears this out with top tips being:

- Stay slim - most important for joints &  heart.

- Maintain lean toned muscles - to burn more calories as metabolism begins to slow.

- Some cardio for a strong heart - can be achieved with low or high impact exercise (for under 35's lots of cardio while you can)

- Walk, walk and walk some more

- Dance for social, mental & physical wellbeing

- Stay flexible. Dance, Yoga and Pilates all help with this

So what are my new fitness goals for 2017?  perhaps you may like to try them out too

I am going to continue my new hobbies of ballroom and jive dance. Keep at the Yoga. Do some HIIT to surprise my metabolism and get it firing (high intensity interval training - The Body Coach, Joe Wicks has so many great tutorials online). Find a fitness challenge - possibly a long bike ride this year. Keep swimming. For my brain brush up on my French and try some basic Italian as prep for a road trip in the summer. Write a blog ;)

Stay friends with my Polar Fitness watch! It's much like having your conscience on your wrist - how many steps, how many calories burned, fat percentages... It will never be allowed to   monitor my sleep, for if there were an Olympic sport for sleeping I would indeed have the gold.

So what should you do? Anything and everything that brings you joy - of course I want you to come and get hooked on our classes - so by all means do that too...  We are a pretty fit bunch so I reckon we are a good advert for all we offer!

See you soon

Jane xx

Natasha, Victoria, Jane (me) and Claire

Natasha, Victoria, Jane (me) and Claire