There are two good things about the advent of the internet. The first is that information has literally become accessible at everyone’s fingertips. The second is that the ability for people to share information has become just as limitless. The later point can also be noted as a negative.
Before sitting down to write Part 3 of my 7-part series on how to be a better runner before you even put your sneakers on; I decided to really research the importance of stretching. Unfortunately for me, I found that there is just a lot of genuinely BAD information going around about how stretching can either be bad for you and can also be unproductive. Although, I agree that too much stretching can lead to injuries; by and large the benefits greatly outweigh these arguments.
Too Much of Anything Isn’t Good for You
Saying that over stretching can promote injury is like saying that drinking too much water can lead to someone drowning their kidneys. By this I mean you would seriously have to either not stretch properly, or really really over do it with the stretching. The fact is that most novice athletes don’t stretch enough. This is really unfortunate because stretching can be the single most important thing someone can do. How so?
Prevention is Better than Cure
This is a philosophy my mother subscribes to as a registered nurse. Whenever I’ve been sick or injured has usually been because of some action or inaction on my part. And I try to learn from my mistakes. Stretching has proven to prevent possible injuries and soreness. It just makes more sense to spend 10 minutes stretching before working out rather than spending weeks on the sideline.
So, even if the risk of injury isn’t enough for you to stretch more; increasing our performance should be. How does stretching increase your performance? It simply increases your stride (the length in between your steps). This is really going to help if you’re a short to mid-distance runner because increasing your stride will increase your speed.