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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stretch before you go 'Down the Stretch'

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The importance of stretching before a run.
It's always a good idea to begin any aerobic workout, especially a run, with a light bout of walking or light jogging to allow muscles, tendons and other tissues to warm up gradually. Some fitness experts believe that's all you need to do to prepare for a workout--that stretching serves no useful purpose. However, limited joint mobility can predispose you to injury and taking a few minutes to increase flexibility in muscle groups that might be overused cannot hurt. In fact, Research by Peter and Lorna Francis support the use of appropriate flexibility exercise before and after a walking or jogging workout.
There are several types of stretching but they can be placed into two main categories: passive stretching and active stretching. During a passive stretch, the elastic components of the muscle are usually relaxed, and the portion of muscle most likely to be loaded is the connective tissue. The static stretch method is an excellent example of passive stretching. Active stretching has greater effects on the elastic components of the joints. It requires muscle contraction through a range of motion and prepares the muscles, tendons and joints for the functional activities at hand.
Regardless of which stretch you choose to use resist the temptation to rush through the stretching phase of your warm up. Stretches performed improperly and in haste are of little value.

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