Simple, Yet Effective: Dallas County Sheriff's Deputies Show How Stretching Improves Body, Mind

The Dallas County deputies stop by the studio, strap in to their special stretching tables and get worked on by a trained professional.

When it comes to your physical and mental well being, health professionals say one of the best things you can do for your body is also one of the simplest -- stretching. Just ask the men and women of the Dallas County Sheriff's Office.

Between the heavy gear they carry on their belts, the amount of time they spend in the car and the things they see regularly while they're at work, their bodies and minds take a beating.

It's why Sgt. Nathan Wilson began looking for ways he and his deputies could take care of themselves.

"In our line of work, you gotta be flexible," said Wilson. "You have to have enough workout regimens and things to make sure you can get all of the jobs done that are necessary."

He had seen news reports about the benefits of stretching and the rising popularity of stretching studios -- and decided that may be a good place to start.

That's when he called up Stretch Zone in Dallas, which was eager to work with them.

"We help improve people's quality of life, first through mobility," said Becca Menhart, General Manager of Stretch Zone Dallas. "It helps your body to be more relaxed, so you really are less stressed."            

Now, a few times a month, Wilson and his deputies stop by the studio, strap in to their special stretching tables and get worked on by a trained professional.

"For a lot of them, we work their neck and shoulders," Menhart said. "With the gear, you tend to hunch over. Then we also do their hips and backs because they're sitting in the car a lot."

Deputy Shakita Barney admits she was surprised that something so simple could make such a world of difference for her.

"It was something I had never heard of before," said Barney. "It does make you feel more loose."

She now makes it a point to focus more on stretching, even when she's on her own.

"You know, it takes our minds away from our everyday struggles, everyday things that we have to deal with," Barney said. "So it benefits both physically and mentally for me."

Menhart says that reaction is not unique to law enforcement.

"We see 80-year-old grandmas, we see competitive athletes, we see desk dwellers, we see runners," Menhart said.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends flexibility exercises -- like stretching -- at least twice a week.

For more information about the services Stretch Zone provides at its locations in Dallas and Plano, you can visit their website.

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