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7 tips for stretching smart

I have to admit that I’m not much of a stretcher.  In my younger days I used to go through the standard runner’s stretches before races, but I haven’t done it in years.   And you know what, I don’t think it’s hurt me one bit.

Whether you should stretch or not is a bit of a controversial subject in the world of running.  According to the folks at the University of California, Berkley, stretching has undeniable benefits and just feels good.

Perhaps I’m doing it wrong because generally stretching hurts.  But if you are going to be one of those jogglers who stretch, here are a few tips you might consider.

  1. Stretch at least 3 times a week.  Check out this Runner’s World article for the types of stretches you might try.
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  2. Stretching sessions should be from 10 to 20 minutes.  That’s more time than I like to devote.  But it can feel good.
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  3. Stretch before you participate in some sport and then a little afterwards.  If stretching atually does help, this is the best chance for it doing anything for you.  It theoretically will help prevent injury.
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  4. Stretching shouldn’t hurt so if it does, stop the stretch.  Don’t stretch to the point of hurting as you increase the chance that you’ll actually hurt yourself.
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  5. Don’t bounce stretch.  Hold a stretch but don’t bounce up and down.  This could cause an injury.
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  6. Don’t hold your breath while you stretch.  I guess this could lead to a headache or something.
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  7. Stretch specific muscles for whatever sport you are going to do.  For joggling, you should be stretching your legs and arms.

Like I said, this joggler is not much of a stretcher.  But some people swear that stretching helps them and if it works for them, great.  For me, I’d rather spend that extra 15 minutes of workout time perfecting my 7-5-3-1 siteswap.

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