Is it Better to Stretch Before or After a Run

There’s no denying that stretching is an important part of any exercise. Warm up, run, stretch, cool down–but not necessarily. To understand the right time to stretch, one must understand why stretching should be included in the first place. 

Why do we need to stretch when we exercise?

Stretching helps runners in a number of ways. Stretching helps increase flexibility and enhance performance. This makes injuries like pulled muscles and sprains less likely. Tight muscles limit the boundaries of physical exertion, as well as creating the possibility of a more painful workout. 

Stretching also increases blood flow to your muscles. This is not just necessary, but crucial: less blood to the muscles means they receive less oxygen. This results in muscle fatigue arriving more quickly. 

A good set of stretches may also diminish the effects of delayed-onset muscle soreness.

Apart from the physical benefits, there are plenty of mental benefits to speak of. Loosening up your muscles is a great way to relax, adjust your mindset, and relieve stress. 

So, when is the right time to stretch?

With all of the aforementioned in mind, it seems as though there are benefits for stretching at both the beginning and end of a run. 

What it all really comes down to is personal preference. Some athletes respond better to a pre-run stretch, while some prefer to stretch post. What’s the best way to find the right one for you? Try both!

When stretching before a workout, it’s imperative that your muscles are warmed up a little bit before you begin. Jog in place or do some jumping jacks to get the blood flowing. Follow with some light stretching. This should create more flexibility and an easier run. 

For post-run stretching, holding a stretch for up-to a minute, will assist your mind and body to wind down after your workout as well assist in recovery.

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