Uncover the transformative power of a quiet mind and ensure renewal of a healthier you through a combination of movement, breath and meditation.
Who likes Stretch/Balance classes?
Flexibility and balance are two abilities that are very important for living our best lives, allowing us to be functional, efficient, independent and safe.
What is a Stretch/Balance class?
No one would argue the importance of good balance control and a flexible, resilient body as major contributors to our well-being. We go through life taking our balance for granted as most of us never think about actively engaging it daily. For most of us, balance happens, whether we are conscious of it or not. In our youth and prime of life, our connective soft tissues usually just do what they are supposed to do when needed. As we age, we often move less and sit more, not engaging the tissues in our bodies. There is truth to the adage, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” If we don’t move and lengthen our tissues, we become less flexible and begin to lose balance and mobility. We have a way to keep your balance and flexibility tuned for success even throughout your golden years. Our Stretch/Balance class is a great way to achieve this.
When you think of stretching, most people envision sitting and reaching for their toes for a hamstring stretch, or even a few lunges before a run. These passive stretches can be useful, but there are actual science-based techniques that can improve your flexibility. Same for balance – science guides us toward movements that can challenge and enhance our balance sensors. Unfortunately, many people won't stick with a routine to enhance these important physical abilities on their own. For this reason, our Stretch/Balance group class is a perfect reminder to take good care of our connective tissues and balance control and it’s a great resource for consistent practice.
Our Stretch/Balance class combines a series of targeted exercises to enhance the body’s long-term flexibility and balance receptors. Some movements are done with a chair. You may be asked to stand behind or to the side of the chair. You’ll stand on one leg while holding the other high for at least five seconds, then switch legs. Another balance move requires you to rock from toe standing to just the heels and hold that for five or more seconds. Seated balance work requires you to lean from the chair as far as possible to the left, right and center. All of this keeps the core engaged and enhances your upper body control.
Stretching is done while seated on the chair or floor toward the end of the class. These stretches, or range of motion movements, benefit your muscles, tendons and fascia flexibility. Muscles increase their flexibility with stretching techniques that stimulate receptors that tell your muscles to relax or contract. Core work is emphasized as a strong core mitigates poor balance and helps prevent falls.
Interestingly, this Stretch/Balance class also teaches how many of our senses come into play for optimal balance. Vision assists with your ability to respond quickly so all movements are safe and streamlined. Your ears also play a role in keeping your stable so don’t lose your balance. The vestibular system of the ear keeps fluid moving around as body movements occur and this fluid signals the brain so you can maintain your equilibrium. This extremely sensitive system can be affected by changes in air pressure, loud noise and injury. If your vestibular system is injured, classes like Stretch/Balance can enhance your ability to retrain for balance issues. The body excels at compensation and adaptation, but it is learned. This class is a safe space to work on your balance with oversight by our certified instructor. Elderly people who are afraid of falling do well with the care and attention you get in this class. The instruction and support encourage members to return and work toward flexibility and balance with confidence. Consistent attendance means consistent rewards with improvements in functional living without injury.
Many of our members see that as we age, it’s a good idea to challenge our balance systems to be the best they can be. Our group instructor meets members where they are, realizing that no two members are at the same level. Some members report initial feelings of nervousness and embarrassment, but they leave reassured. It’s fun to think that no one has ever said, “I do not need to work on my balance.” Regardless of age, we all need better balance.
Stretch/Balance class benefits include:
When and where does the Stretch/Balance class meet?
Stretch/Balance class is held in the aerobic studio at WK Fitness Centers. For more information, check our online interactive class schedules. Classes meet for 50 minutes every week.
Why do Stretch/Balance?
Feedback for this class is very positive, as members note feeling stronger, more flexible and confident in their balance. Guided instruction that works toward strong, pliable connectors and dependable balance gives us an edge to being stronger, healthier and happier as we age in place.