Healthy Living: Dance inspired workout can stretch your strength
For some New Yorkers, stretching doesn't just have to be the pre-cursor to exercise. YNN's Kafi Drexel filed the following report.
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Are you feeling a little uptight lately? Okay, not that kind of uptight, but if it's your joints and not your mind that have you in a knot, learning the proper stretch techniques just might be the fix for you. That's the idea behind "Lastics" from trained dancer Donna Flagg.
"It's really about stretching your body from the inside out and that's how dancers move. They pull their bodies in opposition," explains Flagg.
Flagg's workouts run anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes with standing and seated stretches to work the entire body. The main idea is to not cheat your way through by buckling or collapsing into your stretch because that can shorten the muscle instead of lengthening it.
"One of the biggest things is that bent is not stretched. If you watch people stretch, they'll bend their knees, hunch over to into the position: It's not stretching, it's bending," says Flagg.
To stretch properly Flagg teaches students to lengthen from their core, and aim to complete their range or motion with flat backs.
Flexibility training can be a bonus for anyone. Studies show it plays a big role in preventing injuries and can even keep conditions like arthritis and other serious illnesses at bay.
Maria Montgomery, 73, says one of her biggest goals was to touch her toes.
"I just wanted to do it and wanted to get better doing it. In the first class I couldn't touch my toes and now I can, now I love doing it," Montgomery says.
If you think you can't work up a sweat from simply stretching you might be thinking wrong. Apparently, those who really engage in extending their workouts wind up really feeling it.
And similar to pumping iron, the concentrated approach to stretching definitely has an after-burn.
"You are a little sore. But you are sore in the right places," says participant Patricia Contino.
Even though her classes can be an hour or more, Flagg says there is such a thing as too much stretching. She says they key is to balance out the amount of time you spend doing it with equal parts cardio and strength training.