Hey, College Students: Stretching is the New Working Out

By Victoria Robertson on February 5, 2017

Brace yourselves college students — apparently, your workout routine isn’t doing you any favors whatsoever.

At least, not if Power Stretch Studios has anything to say about it.

The company is owned by Hakika V. DuBose (Kika), who used to be an actor/dancer and decided to open the business back in May of 2011.

The purpose?

To open up a business that was strictly devoted to relaxing muscles.

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While the only locations currently are in Manhattan, New Jersey, and Florida, these are likely going to continue popping up around the country, as many continuously hit the gym without knowing what they’re doing to their bodies.

According to DuBose, “There are all these peak fitness places that have popped up … People go five times a week and their muscles are very overworked and contracted.”

So her business is meant to help these individuals to relax — because essentially, working out isn’t just about getting in shape, but in helping your body to adjust as you do so.

And, let’s be honest, most of us don’t really make the time to stretch before and/or after a workout, which is actually doing a large disservice to our muscles.

At least, that’s what DuBose believes, and she isn’t alone.

Several other “stretching” gyms have popped up across the country, including StretchOut Studios in Boston, and Stretchlab in Los Angeles, Florida, NC and a few more about to open in Houston, Detroit, and Connecticut.

According to Diane Waye, owner of Stretching by the Bay in San Francisco, “Stretching is especially important in our modern world because we don’t have as many slow movements integrated into most of our lives anymore.”

“We need to keep our range of motion open to help prevent joint disease, pain and posture issues and to improve athletic performance,” she said.

Of course, this isn’t the first time fitness fads have swept the nation. Think Zumba, step classes, dancercise, etc.

According to Meredith Poppler, “Just like any small business, there are definite challenges to operating a health club … High competition, especially in urban areas, is often fierce, and member retention rates keep many club operators up all night.”

And even more difficult for Power Stretch Studios is the fact that it’s only meant as a supplemental tool to getting fit, which many individuals will be unwilling to spend money on for a membership.

There are very few college students that would pay to stretch at a gym when they could at home for free.

According to Rick Charron, manager of StretchOut Studios, “You have to let your body get used to it … This is something that may start off painful, but you give it a couple of times and the pain will decrease as your range of motion increases.”

That being said, flexibility isn’t the only goal of the studios. They also aim to reduce tension experienced by those working out. Or even for those that aren’t working out and just have a lot of tension.

DuBose said the following:

“Whether you work out or don’t work out, your muscles contract throughout the day … That keeps happening over time and puts pressure on your nerves and bones. People have nagging pain and they can’t figure out how to get rid of it, so they just live with it … It’s even worse for people who do work out … because when they stretch all that effort simply creates more contracting and more tension.”

So what do you get from this studio exactly?

In the Manhattan location, 45-minute sessions (burning 125 calories) costs roughly $80-100. For a full hour, the cost is between $90-120.

While originally, group classes were offered, DuBose no longer believes they work, and neither do machines, “because they don’t know how far to stretch your body or when to stop.”

Pete McCall, spokesman for the American Council on Exercise, had this to say:

“For the last five to seven years, the trend has been high-intensity like CrossFit … But now we’re seeing a shift in the opposite direction, where the thinking is, ‘Let’s work on passive mobility and range-of-motion and the recovery aspect of exercise.’ We’re starting to see more studios focus on passive stretching, or highlight it. They’re doing one-on-one sessions and group classes where the instructor coaches you how to position various limbs.”

So essentially, working out is a necessary evil (as we are all, unfortunately, aware). However, workouts don’t need to be supplemented just with a healthy diet, but also with healthy, post-workout practices.

It’s very easy to get in the habit of stretching before and after a workout, but we have to start taking those first steps on our own, even if we can’t afford to pay someone else to help us do so.

And even for those of you that aren’t necessarily active but that need to stretch to relax, take just 10 minutes a day to stretch yourself out well to relieve some of that built-up tension that you may not even know is there.

You’ll be glad you did.

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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