Why you should not stretch before running? Stretching before running or an athletic activity can increase the risk of injury and impair performance. It’s much better to warmup with a series of exercises like the Sun Salutation or other functional mobility exercises before your run or sports activity. Stretching should be part of your long term strategy done after your run or on days when you are not running.
This is Manu Kalia, physical therapist and Ayurveda herbalist. I’m going to answer a question that a lot of you guys have asked me, is whether you should stretch before a run or an athletic activity. So in my view you should not stretch before a run or an athletic activity. You’re lengthening a tissue. So let’s say if you’re hanging out really doing a lot of stretching before your run or athletic activity, you’re really lengthening that tissue, and then you’re going to ask yourself to contract that tissue when you go out and you decide to run or a high-level athletic activity, which can increase the risk of an injury and possibly will affect your sports performance.
So, a much better strategy is to work on a warm-up routine, a routine that helps you improve circulation within the system. It kind of gets your joints, muscles and all those tissues warmed up. It gets the blood flowing. It’s also a way to get your neuromuscular system, your system ready for that specific activity, so mental and physical warm-up which you’re doing. So you can do various activities for that. I’ve posted a bunch of videos on this, on warm-up routines also for runners, and athletes for that matter. But you can do like a routine, like a sun salutation yoga routine was a great routine to do before you get out there and run, which will get you ready mentally and physically, your neuromuscular system ready for that specific activity you’re going to do, you’ll get warmed up, circulation, and it’ll help reduce the risk of injuries.
So, mobility and stretching exercises to actually increase the length or the mobility of that tissue, whether you’re doing functional mobility exercise and stretching the joint capsule or the actual muscle, myofascia, all these other tissues, that’s your long-term strategy. You want to focus on doing that possibly after your run or your exercise routine or your athletic activity or your off-day routine. That’s part of your long-term strategy. So you spend time doing that every day as part of your long-term strategy to improve the mobility, length and proper glide within multiple layers of tissues as well as the joint capsule itself.
So spend time doing those things on off days or not immediately before your run, possibly after your run. You’ll do much better with the run or the athletic activity if your tissues are warmed up and mentally and physically you kind of geared yourself and prepped yourself for that specific activity you’re going to do, and then focus on improving the length of the tissue, the mobility of that tissue, on your non-run days or after the athletic activity. That’s a much better strategy to not only improve your performance, to do better at the specific sport or athletic activity you’re going to do as well as prevent injuries.
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