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Feel the Freedom M

By Chris Frederick, co-Director of the Stretch to Win Institute

erriam-Webster defines the word ‘flexible’ as: “charac- terized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements”. Beyond just range of mo- tion, being flexible is being able to physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually adapt to whatever happens

in life, good and bad. This ability to adapt and just as importantly, successfully recover from the stress and strain of all that we give and receive in life comes from body and mind strength and endurance. But if we are not flex- ible in our ability to adapt to “whatever comes that may” then we remain “sticks in the mud”. Sticks in the mud are threatened by and do not like change. Yet for better or worse, life today demands all of us to be flexible and the more adaptable we are, the better prepared we will be to deal with those demands and recover well enough to meet the next challenge. LifeStretch is a group exercise class that is designed to help

your clients become more flexible in body, mind and spirit so that they feel not only more functionally mobile but also more capable to deal with the physical and mental demands of their lives. This comes from a non-competitive atmosphere in class that focuses on the innate physical intelligence and abilities within the individual. Instead of comparing oneself to the person next to you in class, the participant is encouraged to find the best way to move and function for them, not some ideal. In this spirit, participants are more fully engaged with the knowledge that the class is more for them than just another group method. Here we provide an overview of what LifeStretch is and how

it works. We have also included a sample of the program that you can try on your own or implement into a group fitness class. More resources will be made available as the program evolves.

LifeStretch—What it is As a group exercise LifeStretch starts standing and proceeds with movements that are an assessment of how the self feels with move- ments that should be easy, free and fluid. Movements are progressed and smoothly transitioned to the floor on a mat for a variety of flow- ing and constantly moving pain-free mobilizations and stretches. These movements have a logical flow, mobilizing joints and shorter chains with smaller muscles and fascia. Movements then progress to longer chains of multiple joints and larger muscles and fascia. Participants are encouraged to find their own way of progressive movements that are pain-free and efficient. The reward is not only feeling and seeing a progressive increase in movement with ease but also experiencing the sense of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing that accompanies it. At the end of class, the original beginning class movements are

re-assessed so that the participant gets immediate feedback as to how they have changed. Not only are they greatly improved in feeling more freedom of movement but also in feeling more positive about themselves. This feeling carries over in their activities after class. In this way, the participant will experience the connection of wellbeing with regular class attendance.

30 canfitpro NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013

LifeStretch Sample LifeStretch is based on our StretchMatrix™, a

logical progression of mobility stretches that works from the proximal core regions of the body and moves out to the distal ends. A mini example of this is the Core 4 on the Floor™. Try this for yourself and then feel free to add in to a group exercise class. You will see that members will love the StretchWave and look forward to LifeStretch when it is fully developed for group exercise instructors in the very near future.

LifeStretch—What it does As opposed to targeting isolated, single muscles, LifeStretch is a

functional mobility and stretch class that progresses through entire chains of neuro-myo-fascia. It recognizes that the brain learns move- ment patterns in multiple planes not with uniplanar isolated muscle contractions. Consequently, it uses movement patterns that work with the biology of the body, namely waves. Light waves enter the skin and eyes, activating physiological reactions that keep us alive and make us see. EKG signals are the waves of the heart, as it oscil- lates and beats to propagate the waves of blood that create pulses felt throughout the body. In keeping with that theme, LifeStretch uses the StretchWave™ as the fundamental way to move the body in an easy, comfortable undulating and oscillating fashion to move freely. The StretchWave breaks through movement restrictions not by painful or excessive force but by synchronizing breathing with efficient movement to facilitate the best path for an individual’s body to take. In this way, each participant experiences the class as if it was designed specifically for them. With regular class participation, attendees will realize huge gains in mobility and function quicker than they ever have before.

LifeStretch—How it works One unique feature of the choreography of LifeStretch is the use

of self-traction to create space in joints, greater ease of movement, avoid pinching joints and to yield bigger gains in mobility. When traction with inhalation is followed by exhalation on the mobility- stretch sequences, range of motion increases rapidly without dis- comfort. Since most participants have past negative experiences with stretching being painful and/or too time consuming with little benefit, their positive LifeStretch experience will ensure regular, frequent attendance.

Oscillation-circumduction mobilizations lubricate and warm up

joints prior to stretching, so that there is no risk of a negative stretch reflex or pain from moving/stretching too fast or too far. The brain and nervous system more quickly learns new movement patterns to replace faulty ones due to the non-painful, quick gains and ease with range of motion gains. Proprioception and kinesthesia—the abilities to sense movement and respond quickly and accurately while one is moving are greatly enhanced. Motor patterning is optimized and translates to more efficient posture, gait and other functional activities of daily living.


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