Happy Tuesday! In case you missed it, here’s my article on stretching and Pilates in the latest issue of the Lincoln Center Chronicle. It may be something you’re already aware of, or new information that may benefit your efforts. Either way, hope you enjoy!

The Importance of Stretching-
and How to Incorporate it into Your Plan

You hear it often, how important it is to stretch out your muscles. Whether you’re in a dedicated fitness routine or not, a regular stretching program in addition to strength training and cardio is a vital part of your well being.

Regardless of the type of exercise you perform, stretching your muscles after your workout can help increase mobility and range of motion, which otherwise may have tightened up from excessive stress.

Do’s and Don’ts of Stretching:
• Stretch out large muscle groups AFTER your workout
• Stretching is not a warm up for workouts
• If you are unsure of what stretches to do, consider seeing a physical therapist or personal trainer for advice
• You’re never too young or too old to stretch

My favorite form of cross training to my heavy weight lifting program is Pilates on the reformer. Most people are familiar with Pilates Mat classes, but the reformer is a machine that uses your body weight in addition to the resistance of springs. With the use of springs, the stretching exercises become an active stretch as if another individual was pushing against your joints- however you’re in control, an ideal situation.

It can be adjusted to fit your height, leg length and arm length, which is unlike any other piece of equipment. Pilates on the Reformer has very low impact on the joints and also incorporates many prone and supine exercises, which takes away the element of gravity pulling down on the joints. While there are many exercises on the reformer simply for stretching, you can also complete a total body workout on the machine.

This form of cross training has helped me avoid injuries over the last 14 years. I highly recommend it to clients of all ages and backgrounds! For more information on Pilates sessions at Ben Mackie Fitness, please call (209) 955-0360.

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imageJillian Barlet
B.S. Kinesiology
Certified Pilates Instructor
Personal Trainer