Benefits of Stretching Before Running
If you run, you have undoubtedly heard conflicting information about the benefits of stretching before running. Some coaches say stretching only helps afterward; some say stretching doesn't make a difference at all. Regardless of what the latest hype is, the benefits of stretching before running remain the same. Check out these tips to maximize the benefits of stretching before running.
- Injury prevention. Loosening your muscles by stretching before a run will help prevent both acute and chronic injuries. A study conducted by the University of Indianapolis suggests stretching hamstrings and other muscles especially five to seven minutes after warming up. The idea is that you don't want to stretch "cold" muscles, but you do want to do some light stretching before running.
- Better Performance. This is not to say that more stretching equals better performance. If you are inflexible, it can have an adverse effect on your form and strength, but there is such a thing as overstretching. For example if you are trying to stretch your hamstring and you are doing it too frequently or you are doing it improperly, you can actually strain or tear the muscle. In order to have healthy muscles, they must be flexible. This will help to prevent injuries and develop the full range of motion at the joint.
- More Strength. In order for muscles to be strong, they have to be flexible. Active stretching before running can increase the health and strength of your muscles.
- Decreases Delayed onset Muscle Soreness(DOS). Have you ever gotten lazy about your stretching and then a day or two later noticed extreme muscle soreness? This is DOS, it occurs as a result of microscopic tears to the muscle tissue. Stretching before running, and afterward, helps minimize the tears.