How Bad Is It If You Skip The Post-Class Stretch?
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Q: How bad is it if I skip the post-class stretch?
A: Perhaps the question should be how badly do you want to crush your next SOUL class? We checked in with CORINNE CROCE, PT, DPT, the resident pro who works with all SoulCycle instructors, to get her expert opinion. Here's what she says...
"Skipping the stretch is skipping a very important part of the workout. The stretch not only helps relieve tension in the muscles that occurs from the hard work we do in the ride, but it also serves as a cool-down. A cool-down is a vital component of performance and recovery. In addition to the stretch helping to enhance muscular health, the cooling down restores homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis is when the body is at a balanced resting state — levels of blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature are normalized, waste products are cleared out, fresh blood and nutrients circulate to where they are needed, positive muscle changes are initiated and the nervous system begins to calm. When riders take the time for the stretch, all these factors happen appropriately because the body cools down property. This will lead to a higher likelihood of reaching your goals, improving athletic performance, enhancing your emotional state, decreasing stress on the body, feeling good and recovering properly so you’re ready for the next ride.
Can’t stay for the stretch? Give yourself at least one minute either in the room or once outside the studio — as close to the end of your ride as possible — to relax for a moment and perform deep belly breathing. This will at least give you some of the beneficial aspects that would be missed by just running out. Foam rolling, using a lacrosse ball to massage your body, and doing mobility exercises at home can also help with muscular recovery and enhance your athletic abilities — not to mention being a habit that’s positive for overall health.
Whether a rider stays for the stretch or not, doing more self-care at home will only help with performance, health and state of mind, decreasing stress. The muscle tension release is more effective closer to the workout but soft tissue work at any point of the day will be smart to perform daily. The tension release and soft tissue movements that occur in the stretch are less important than the aspects of restoring the resting state in the body. Homeostasis cannot be paid back; without a proper cool-down the body stays in a state of stress. The muscle work can be made up at home with self care, preferably on the same day and quickly after a ride.
Finally, think about how you’re fueling your body after class and hydrating before. What you eat and drink before, during and after your ride are crucial points — and will also make a big difference in your recovery."
Questions or comments? Email SOULlife@soul-cycle.com! Want to ride (and stay for the stretch)? Click HERE to grab a series and book a bike!