Do I Stretch Before or After Running? 

Preparing your body before a run is just as important as the running itself. Most runners are in agreement that it is not fun to run with tight and stiff muscles. In addition to that, you’ll most likely end up causing an injury. Regular stretching is encouraged to maintain and improve muscle flexibility. It also increases the range of motion of the muscles being stretched. Today, there is some controversy and confusion when the best time to stretch is.

Before exercise, or after exercise?  

Before Running: 

Before you begin your run, the most valuable concept to note is that warming up is more important than your flexibility. This is the key to avoiding injury and means you must practice dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching involves the repetition of a stretching movement rather than holding a still stretch. This type of stretching pumps the blood and oxygen to the muscles and increases your heart rate, which will help you run more efficiently. 

Dynamic stretches for you to do: 

Dedicate 10 – 15 minutes on dynamic stretching before exercise. Include exercises such as high knees, butt kicks, leg swings as well as a light slow jog. By doing these exercises you will improve your range of motion and loosen up your muscles in preparation for your following run. 

After Running: 

It’s best to undergo static stretching after your run, as there’s evidence that proves static stretching pre run can cause injury. Static stretching is the act of holding a still stretch for a short period of time. This lengthens the muscles and tendons in the body which increases flexibility. Do not static stretch before exercise as it is dangerous. Before warming up, the muscles are tight as they are cold. Static stretching before exercise can cause muscle fibre tears and breaks. 

 

Static stretches for you to do: 

Post run static stretches can include a hip-flexor stretch, hamstring stretch, lower back stretch, and a glute stretch. 
Make sure you’re stretching regularly to reduce the risk of injuries. Stretching lengthens the muscles fibers and takes out knots in damaged muscles.