19 Nov The Importance Of Stretching
Explain the benefits of stretching daily?
There are so many benefits of stretching, more than just being flexible. So I guess that’s the first benefit which most people know about. But did you realise that you need a certain level of flexibility to perform daily tasks, like bending down to pick something up. Even for sporting performance as well, you can’t kick a ball properly if you hamstrings are crippling tight. Speaking of sporting performance, it helps your recovery time too!
Stretching also has a huge wellbeing aspect as it gets you to focus on your breath, your body and developing a mind body connection. In turn this reduces stress and I’m quite sure many of us can say we have had stressful periods in our life. Stretching daily is a fab way to combat it.
Explain your method for stretching. Is it a combination of yoga and Pilates or is it something new?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have an extensive dance background, lots of Pilates training and an interest in movement. I found with everything I am exposed to that I was able to find the best parts of each that delivered results that people desired. I feel my method is mostly based on Pilates in terms of breath patterns and correct body positioning. The dynamic flow sequences are devised from contemporary dance and yoga as I find we are more relaxed when we are constantly moving in and out of stretches. And finally, I researched the science of stretching and found out exactly the techniques you need to do in order to achieve full body flexibility.
In the lead up to summer, what would you recommend to build body confidence and tone up?
You really need to find a workout that suits you. I’m biased, I love Pilates! But I understand some people mightn’t. You really need to find something you love and something you know you are going to be able to commit to. I recommend a mixture of cardio and resistance training. For me I do Pilates and interval training with hills on my treadmill. The only non-negotiable I give people is that you need to stretch. You have a much better recovery time which means less muscle soreness so you can head back to the gym quicker.
What do you believe is important from a dietary perspective to combine with a stretching routine?
To be flexible, you MUST be hydrated. It’s my number one beauty and fitness tip. Water of course is fabulous but my favourite drink for hydration would be coconut water. Excellent if you are training hard, it contains all the natural electrolytes you need. I love that it nourishes and hydrates your body at the same time.
Do you have any favourite healthy treats/recipes you can share?
I certainly do! Over the years my diet has changed dramatically. I now eat for pleasure and I eat to nourish my body. I have a few food intolerances, which make eating hard sometimes, so I’m always posting recipes of things I can eat! My favourite healthy treat would be my lemon and blueberry cheesecake (http://www.petaserras.com/2013/02/28/blueberry-lemon-raw-cheesecake/) that happens to be gluten free and vegan! It’s always a hit with any occasion and super refreshing for the summer months.
Who should be doing your stretching series?
Anyone wanting to feel flexible and fabulous! I designed the DVD with my clients at my Pilates studio as my guinea pigs! I tested my method out and found out exercises that delivered fast results in minimal time that wasn’t stressful on the body. So far the age ranges we have had doing the DVD has been 4, to an extremely fit 84!
Peta Serras is a Pilates Instructor, Model, Writer, Health Coach, Foodie and self-confessed Instagram addict. She is passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. Peta has a best selling stretching DVD, an award winning Pilates studio and runs the blog petaserras.com that is all about being healthy, happy & hot.