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Why Stretching Is the New (Old) Fitness Trend People Are Trying

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You've probably heard that you're supposed to stretch when you work out. Some experts say you should do it before you get your sweat on, while others say you should do it after. Some even say it's best to do it before and after to make sure you're not getting injured. But have you ever thought about devoting an ~entire~ workout just to stretching? (Here are six good reasons you need to stretch if you're not convinced.)

Well, that's exactly what some people are doing. Power Stretch Studios is just one of the studios taking part in this trend, where all sessions are one-on-one to ensure you're getting the exact stretches your body needs. It's different from active recovery, so you won't find foam rollers or low-intensity strength exercises here. It's all stretching all the time.

The founder of the studio, Hakika V. DuBose, told the New York Times that she started the business because she saw a major gap in the market. The most popular kinds of workouts right now are what people call "peak fitness," meaning they're intense and push your limits—think CrossFit, Orangetheory, or any other crazy-hard class. "People go five times a week and their muscles are very overworked and contracted," DuBose said.

It's true that with the rise of super intense boutique studios, people are increasingly interested in recovery. Tone House, which offers one of the hardest workouts in New York City, recently launched a recovery program complete with ice baths and physical therapy. And some of the most badass trainers in the industry are teaching more 'calming' and recovery-focused classes, like Lifted by Holly Rilinger and ACCESS by Rebecca Kennedy.

It makes sense that stretching would be next: it may help reduce your risk of injury as well as decrease post-workout sorenessIf you're feeling super tight and tense, a stretching class might be exactly what you need. But if there's not a studio near you, consider the trend a reminder not to skip your usual post-run stretch. (We suggest these six active stretches you should be doing.)

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