Run to your Spin® class, do the class and then leave before you’ve spent too much time at the gym! For some, you are dodging the parking fees or perhaps just running home to feed the kids and the spouse. Sound like your story? Either case, if you leave your Spin® class without stretching at the end, it will be a tremendous stretch to state that you will be free from injury! Nope, the opposite applies. You are prone to severe injuries.
As soon as the teacher states, “Great job tonight class!” this is the time to realign the structure of your body from a c-curved, kyphotic posture held for an hour. It is true that Spin® classes take you out of the saddle allowing you to stretch your hips, hamstrings, quads and spine, however, the muscles will remain in their shortened position due to sitting in the saddle if you don’t restore your body to its proper length tension relationship after class.
So stay for the stretch after Spin® class! I talk about the importance of stretching in tool #47 in Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools. Stretching is beyond important to not only those who wish to be active during the week, but for those who are completely inactive too. So, in addition to stretching after your Spin® class, consider stretching every day on the hour every day. If you have a desk job, your body is in a compromised posture for hours on end. Even if you think you stand a lot, most likely you still do not move enough. Take a minute to simply recall the ratio of standing to sitting you actually do in a day. Think about it; you’re sitting right now reading this article. Get up for a second. Stretch by lifting your arms up to the sky. Do some shoulder rolls; stretch your forearms, your chest, hamstrings, calves and quads. Walk around your job. Some classes that emphasize stretching is Yoga, foam rolling, restorative classes, and tai chi.
As humans, our bodies are designed to be very mobile. We are also built to move in different directions and be limber. If you go to China, you will see that the Chinese squat into a deep knee posture while they eat and even when they take a break. Their joints are optimal. Other societies, especially in the USA, are all about the technological boom which causes us to remain seated all day every day, thereby diminishing the functionality of half of the mechanical systems. You don’t use it, you lose it!
Not only do you lose it, but you will also experience the annoying degenerative diseases that are painful, alongside the potential risk of osteoporosis, and of course spinal stenosis and sciatica. Most of these joint diseases are avoidable. No matter your age or your current health condition, start today by getting up now (yes right now!) and stretch your body. Your body is your temple! Treat it royally..Every day!
Jenn Zerling, MS, CPT "JZ"
Author of Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools