If you have ever played a sport, or worked out regularly, the emphasis on stretching is paramount. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies about the benefits of stretching have had mixed results.
Some research shows that stretching doesn’t reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Other studies show that lengthening the muscle, and holding the stretch, immediately before a sprint may slightly worsen performance.
However, research has shown that stretching can help improve flexibility and, as a result, the range of motion of your joints. Better flexibility may improve your performance in physical activities, decrease your risk of injuries, help your joints move through their full range of motion, increase muscle blood flow, enable your muscles to work most effectively and improve your ability to do daily activities.
For Tampa Bay residents, Stretchlab is now open in three locations in St. Petersburg, South Tampa and Largo. (Other franchised locations include Palm Harbor, Carrollwood and Brandon).
Stretchlab South Tampa recently celebrated a “Sip and Stretch” grand reopening with Mayor Jane Castor and the South Tampa Chamber. The event, held at the South Tampa location on Kennedy Boulevard, featured mini stretch sessions and an Iron Smoke Bourbon tasting, Nektar Juice drinks, La Segunda Cubans, and pastries, along with B-12 shots from Execucare.
So how does it work? Your flexologist will greet you and discuss your current flexibility, any injuries that you may have and walk you through your session. You will first do a MAPS assessment. MAPS is a revolutionary 3-D body scanning tool that provides the flexologist with information on how well your body is moving. The flexologist will guide you through the scan, help you interpret the results and use the data to customize your stretch.
Stretches are performed on one of their custom-designed benches. The stretch shouldn’t be painful but the flexologist will communicate with you throughout your stretch to gauge your comfort level.
There are group stretches and one-on-one stretches. There is also a monthly membership. The basic membership for one-on-one stretching begins at four stretches a month, for either 25- or 50-minute stretches, and goes up to an unlimited membership. There is also a group class membership as well.
The Tampa Bay franchise group is owned by Tampa Bay native, and former Adidas executive, Soosie Lazenby.
After spending six years with Adidas, stints at IMG Academy, and as the Massachusetts Sports Commission, Lazenby felt the call to return home. She moved back to Belleair with her husband, George Spowart and opened Urbancoast, an event invitation design and print studio, in 2008.
Lazenby’s roots remained in sports marketing, and branding. Soosie and George then acquired the franchise rights to Club Pilates and Stretchlab in Wellesley, Massachusetts as well as Tampa Bay. With the onset of the pandemic and COVID-19, Lazenby sold her franchises in Massachusetts and relocated, permanently, back to the Tampa Bay area.
Stretchlab Largo, opened since 2019 ,and South Tampa opened its location in 2021. With the St. Petersburg location, which opened its doors in March, she says her goal is to make stretching part of everyone’s workout routine.
StretchLab offers one-on-one sessions Monday through Saturday, with evening and Saturday group classes. For more information on StretchLab and its classes, visit www.stretchlab.com. ♦
10423 Ulmerton Rd, Largo FL 33771
StretchLab St. Pete
1760 4th St. N, St. Petersburg FL 33704
StretchLab South Tampa
4021 W Kennedy Blvd Suite 2, Tampa FL 33609
Brooke Palmer Kuhl is the president of RSBP Events + PR, a lifestyle and hospitality public relations, event and wedding planning firm.