Aquatic Stretching for Healthy Joints

Sunday, January 23 2022

Help your students release tension, relieve sore muscles and reduce pain with a 54-minute class format dedicated to improving muscular flexibility and joint mobility with dynamic stretching.  Eliza Young and AquaGym Fitness are back with Stretch Flex ROM, a follow-up video that is designed to go further into the stretches by increasing the range of motion (ROM) of the movements. 

Fitmotivation provides a wide variety of aquatic fitness class formats, all designed for different ability levels and fitness outcomes.  HIIT and equipment workouts always seem to get the most comments and views, but optimal health for your students can only be achieved if all five components of physical fitness are trained.  Flexibility often gets the short shrift in the rush to end a class on time.  However, a good goal in 2022 would be to sneak more flexibility training into your classes.  As our students age, they often encounter an endless cycle of pain, stiffness and injury due to a lack of muscular flexibility and joint mobility. As much as our students love HIIT and Tabata workouts, they won’t be able to attend them if they are limited by pain and injury.  We as instructors can make a difference by adding more flexibility training in our classes.   

The first Stretch Flex video with Eliza Young posted on Fitmotivation in April 2021.  Subscribers got to hear Eliza’s powerful story and that the inspiration for the Stretch Flex video series began in a tank of water during her aquatic rehab.  After being overexposed to Vitamin A as an infant, Eliza endured months in the hospital and over 20 surgeries on her legs due to orthopedic deficiencies.  Told she would be wheelchair bound as an adult, Eliza became determined to overcome her issues with fitness and developed a passion for yoga and water exercise.  “During aquatic rehab, I was placed in a tank of water and asked to walk forward and back, jog and do other exercises and as I was doing this, I realized that I could use my experience in yoga, water fitness, and my own physical therapy, to develop a class that would help others in the same way I had been helped,” says Eliza.    If you missed Eliza talking about her journey in the first Stretch Flex blog, WATCH the video below.   

As mentioned above, flexibility training is a key component of fitness and is necessary for both muscles and joints. Instructors often focus only on stretches for the muscles, but attention should also be given to the joints by including purposeful movement that targets joint function. Stretch Flex ROM was designed to go further into the stretches with a bold dynamic flexibility routine that promotes optimal joint health and increased mobility.  The large rhythmic movements are executed with a full ROM and a slow controlled cadence.  As seen in the recently posted Flexibility in Motion, dynamic stretching is just as effective at improving muscular flexibility and joint mobility as static stretching. 

Stretch Flex is different from other workouts in that the movements are performed with repetition for a longer period of time in order to fully release tension in the muscles and to connect the mind and breath to the exercise. Treat your students to a yoga-inspired stretch routine with large flowing movements that are combined with deep breathing in order to create a meditative and soothing stretching experience. Watch Eliza share more details about the routine. 

Stretch Flex ROM can be done as an entire class or you can cherry pick your favorite movements.  Also consider teaching one of the three segments on those days you want to emphasize upper body, lower body or balance. 

The music used in this video was from the playlist, Yoga Balance, which featured a varied BPM between 60-100.  This playlist is available in Power Music’s Virtual Music category and can be downloaded for $14.95. 

Fitmotivation would like to thank Eliza for sharing her meditative stretching solution for achieving better movement, less pain and reduced stress and tension.

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.