Stretching Goes Mainstream With New Stretch Studios

Stretching on a regular basis isn't just for the professional athlete.

Doctors said stretching can promote better joint mobility and mental wellness and now stretching is going mainstream, as specialized stretch studios open throughout Dallas-Fort Worth.

StretchLab in Frisco opened less than two weeks ago.

"We are really bringing what is typically available for the professional athlete to the common person. What better way to get stretching but by a trained professional," local franchise owner Lynell D'Sylva said.

D'Sylva, a former nurse, said StretchLab will have up to nine locations in Dallas-Fort Worth in a few years. The company's trained stretching professionals, called "flexologists," put your body in positions designed to loosen it up.

"We all know stretching is good for you, but we don't take the time to do and the time to do it right," D'Sylva said.

It's the same message doctors have been preaching for a long time.

Dr. Keith Meister is the team physician for the Texas Rangers, founder of TMI Sports Medicine and head of orthopedics at Medical City Arlington.

"I have people coming to me and asking me, 'How can I maintain a high level quality of life?' and I tell them it's really two things that are most important. You have to maintain muscle mass and you have to maintain joint range of motion," Meister said.

Those two things that get harder as we get older and our muscles naturally stiffen.

He said keeping muscles loose will help our joints move as well as they did when we were younger.

"You can maximize your potential, given the age group that you're in, and maintaining a good stretching program as part of an overall health program is essential."

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

It can be yoga, Pilates or simply doing stretches inside your own home. Stretching can also maximize your workouts, as 26-year-old Casey Walker learned.

She's been a client at Stretch Zone in Dallas for several months.

"I used to be tight after workouts. I wouldn't want to go into workouts tired exhausted and now, when I go into a class, I feel like I have fresh legs all because I'm more flexible," Walker said.

Bowie Ballard of Richardson said his weekly trips to his stretch sessions have helped him recover from hip pain.

"I had been going to a chiropractor and physical therapy and it was helping a little, but not getting my problems solved and it was costing me money. Even with insurance, with the PT, I was spending a lot of money and getting ever decreasing relief," Ballard said.

"This helped me 10 times more than my physical therapy."

Stretching is also said to be a good form of stress management by helping release the tension in your muscles.

So, "strap in" North Texas, because stretching is going mainstream -- and for good reason.

Doctors said there is no one-size-fits-all stretching routine. You should talk with your doctor before jumping into a new program.

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