An egalitarian exercise fit for those in small spaces or who aren’t keen on a full workout, stretching offers plenty of benefits—from helping with flexibility and improved range of motion to reducing stress and decreasing body aches and pains. Though many are familiar with the basics of stretching, classes led by professionals and clever apps can provide even more—unlocking tension and toxicity. As such, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite resources for this kind of gentle but crucial exercise.
Tribeca studio Outer Reach‘s easy-to-follow routines comprise free, minute-long spotlight stretches (targeted movements focused on one muscle or muscle group), one-on-one sessions, and group classes. They personalize their all-encompassing virtual offerings, which start at $30 for 30 minutes. Right now, free 30-minute classes are also available Monday through Friday on Zoom and on Instagram Live on Sundays.
Melissa Wood Health
Melissa Wood Health founder Melissa Wood-Tepperberg fuses yoga, stretching and bodyweight workouts into a program she’s coined the MWH Method. Available for $10 a month or $100 for the year, her online archive features hundreds of videos spanning focus areas and goals. From the ab-centric and postnatal-specific to the meditative and arm-focused, Wood-Tepperberg’s videos challenge members but emphasize the importance of low-impact workouts and the act of cooling down. As a host, she’s personable and supportive while remaining authoritative.
Multi-city studio LYMBR remains temporarily closed but its instructors have formulated a plan to provide clients with free weekly workouts. Released as they’re recorded, these videos are available on Instagram, making them extra accessible. Noah (from LYMBR’s Newton studio, for example) runs viewers through a simple back stretch. In another, Emma (from LYMBR’s Tribeca outpost) offers a five-minute chest expansion. Since most can be done seated or standing, they offer welcome relief from continuous swiping or scrolling.
One-on-one assisted stretching studio Stretch*d is offering virtual sessions aimed at improving flexibility. Their intense methodology goes further, providing a safe way to access and address aches and ailments. Though these virtual sessions can’t assure the same level of personalized guidance as their in-person experiences, a 30-minute session includes an assessment, a consultation to inform your prescribed plan, and a demonstration of the assigned stretches.
Though primarily a guided meditation app, Simple Habit also has a handful of stretching videos and activity- or mood-specific mental sessions designed to prepare, energize, ease and more. A 90-minute full body stretch hosted by Kassandra Reinhardt, for example, acts as a workout of its own, while a five minute motivation session could act as preparation for a stretch session on a different platform. Most of Simple Habits’ videos clock in under or around five minutes, making them easy to do in-between activities or in downtime.
Officially launched in 2016 as a therapeutic tool to ease chronic back pain, Kaia Health has grown to address more chronic ailments but their method remains the same: use a combination of AI and trainer assistance to treat or proactively prevent pain. Right now, these offerings remain available only to those who have been prescribed them—either through their medical provider or at the suggestion of a therapist or employer. Any of the aforementioned parties can access Kaia on your behalf, unlocking the biomarker-tracking technology for use at home.