The Women's Journal

Diversify Your Stretch Through Pilates!

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By Nancy Hawkins Rigg,
Founder and Owner, Forever Fit Foundation


Pilates is a great antidote to the stresses of everyday life. “You won’t be able to think about anything else during a session apart from the movements that you are making and the sensations in your body”, says Joseph Pilates. “After exercising and stretching, you won’t ache or feel tired. Your joints will be looser and there is a sense of calm that comes from the flowing rhythm of the exercise.”

As muscles are stretched and elongated, the mobility of the joints increases and the stress on them reduces, so regular Pilates exercises are very successful at relieving nagging joint pains and sciatica. Stretching can have miraculous effects on people with injuries and severely weakened areas.

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In traditional exercise settings, we place great emphasis on cross training cardiovascular and resistance conditioning, but flexibility is still an afterthought on many schedules. Today’s workouts are dominated by high-intensity, physically challenging movements. The rise of these programs have led to more injuries. A more effective stretching regime could help minimize damage from overuse. On the other end of the spectrum, sedentary people may be dealing with muscle dysfunction and atrophy, along with limited range of motion in some areas of the body. A varied stretching routine may remedy many of the difficulties people have. Regardless of fitness level, flexibility training is vital. Fascia (the protective coating around a muscle) makes up as much as 30% of a muscle’s total mass, and accounts for about 41% of a muscle’s total resistance to movement. Fascial restrictions contribute greatly to mobility limitations, so a program that includes a variety of stretching techniques is critical.

forever_fit_2 jas17There are many different stretching options to choose from. The right “blend” may depend on genetic makeup, personal preference, injury/surgery history, age, gender, weight, and activity level. Because movement occurs through many planes, not just forward and back, it’s beneficial to stretch in as many positions as possible. These are some of the more popular choices:

Ballistic stretching, dynamic stretching, active isolated stretching, passive stretching, reciprocal inhibition, static stretching, isometric stretching, PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation), and myofascial release. We don’t expect you to know all about these techniques. At Forever Fit Foundation we work with you one on one to teach you and guide you through a series of exercises designed to stretch and lengthen while strengthening. We offer personalized attention and assistance. Forever Fit’s forte is personal training not large group classes and cookie cutter workouts. We sneak in stretches early on and throughout the workout so everyone benefits from this important element . . . flexibility.

Since there are so many contributing factors to inflexibility and mobility challenges, it’s important to seek professional guidance in this area. It’s obvious that some people have better natural flexibility than others; however, improvements can be significant, ranging from 20% to 25% with effective and “educated” stretching. This will often improve performance, recovery and overall physical wellness.

Forever Fit Foundation has highly educated and certified trainers that are incredibly diversified themselves. We offer personal training as well as small detail oriented classes that focus on form over function and education about the body. We have recently added MELT to our list of credentials. It is a system of myofascial release while hydrating the tissue. The HAWK GRIPS are another tool we use for finding adhesions in the fascia and work to gently break those up. Schedule your appointment now to  reduce stress, feel greater mobility and increased range of motion. Let’s get your stretch on!


Nancy Hawkins Rigg is the Founder and Owner of Forever Fit Foundation, a personal training business specializing in Pilates, Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis, Yamuna Body Rolling and sport specific training. Forever Fit Foundation accepts clients at three sites: Dover and Rehoboth, Del., and Mendenhall Station, Pa., just over the Delaware line. A certified athletic trainer, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware and her master’s degree in exercise science and sports medicine from Miami University in Ohio. Please call (302) 423-1816 or (302) 698-5201 to schedule an appointment or for more information.