Stretching: Try It, You'll Like It

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Why should I stretch?

Stretching: Try It, You'll Like It

Although findings from several sports medicine studies in recent years suggest that people who stretch are not significantly less likely to suffer sports injuries compared with people who don't stretch, my experience suggests that stretching doesn't hurt, it won't increase your risk of injury, and it feels good. You don't have to spend a lot of time stretching. A 5-10 minute stretching routine that includes stretching your calves, hips, quads, and hamstrings before you run can make for a more comfortable run.

Most runners recognize the benefits of some stretching as a way to release muscle tension prior to a workout. If you are stressed or tired or nervous before a run or a race, your muscles will be tense, and tense muscles are more easily injured than relaxed muscles. Your primary goal in stretching should be to release tension, and increasing your flexibility will be a positive side effect.

Some principles of stretching:

  • Never stretch to the point of pain. When you feel a stretch in a muscle, stop and hold it at that point.
  • Stretching is not a competitive sport and trying to stretch as far as the person next to you will only leave you with a pulled muscle and a sense of frustration.
  • Remember to breathe normally. Don't hold your breath while stretching.



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Heidi Splete
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