Stretching in Public
I’m a big fan of stretching. Well, maybe that needs a qualifier… Let me explain.
I’m a big fan of
- General dynamic stretching before a lifting/running/exercise session
- Specific warm-up sets before lifting heavy
- General static stretching and foam rolling after a session or on off days (or just about any time)
By “general” I mean full-body, and “specific” means related to the loaded movement you will be doing in your session.
The first and second occur in the same time window as your exercise session but the third, well, that gets dicey.
See, most people blow off #3. And if they do #3, they do it before their session – the exact wrong time to do it.
Since I almost always train in the morning, I tend to do #3 in the evening. However, life sometimes gets in the way. And I forget. Or simply don’t feel like it (yeah, I’m human too).
So I’ve taken to public stretching.
By public stretching, I mean stretching in public. At the mall. In your office break room. At the airport. While watching TV with your family (ok, maybe that’s not too public but trust me, if you’ve got teen and pre-teen daughters, ANY stretching they see you do is “public” and embarrassing).
Seriously, traveling is one of the worst things to do to your body but I never see anyone doing real stretching at the airport. I travel by plane many times a year and I am honest when I say I have never seen it. Once in a while someone will do some shoulder rolls or back arches or some other so-not-a-stretch-that-it-might-actually-cause-more-harm-than-good movement. Except me.
I’m there doing bodyweight good mornings, squats, calf stretches, Atlas lunges, scaptions, etc.
No wonder my kids are mortified to travel with me. Or be seen with me in public malls.
I try to be a little discreet – I’ll go off in a corner somewhere. And I usually don’t get funny looks but I don’t care anyway.
Whether at the airport or the mall, there is often some significant time to kill. Maybe it’s 10 minutes or maybe its 2 hrs. Either way, why not get in the habit of stretching multiple times a day?
Note well: Like any endeavor, you can take it too far. Because stretching does cause micro-damage to soft tissue, you don’t want to really tax the fascia. So I’m talking ab out light stretching here, to maximize blood flow to the area and promote recovery. Stretching to increase range of motion is a different issue. (And no, stretching isn’t really stretching the muscle itself. Though I’ve never done a human dissection, I understand muscle is pretty much like play-dough. Not really stretchy – it’s the fascia that you are stretching.)
Is there some stigma to stretching in public?
Do you stretch in public? Why/why not?
Are there some stretches that are just not appropriate for public viewing?