I have learned the hard way about the importance of stretching before exercising. About 2 months ago I decided to go for a run and, for the first time, I didn’t stretch my legs out. It only took about 4 minutes to pull my Achilles Tendon, which put me out of commission for about a week. It didn’t completely heal until about 3 weeks later. So why is it so important to stretch?
First of all, everyone thinks that stretching is the first thing that must be done before exercising, but I am here to tell all you that’s wrong! Warming up MUST come before exercising, which is something that P90X does very well. When you warm up, you get your blood circulating freely, which increases the supply of blood to the muscles, therefore reducing strain on them when stretching.
You warm up, then you stretch! So why must we stretch? When we stretch, we make the muscles more flexible, which means we actually lengthen the muscles. When we lengthen the muscles, they will “give” a little more than if the muscles were not stretched. This will help reduce the risk of injury. For example, let’s look at my case where I pulled my Achilles Tendon. If I would have stretched beforehand, I probably would not have injured the tendon because it would have been able to “give” a little more when I ran. But because I didn’t stretch, the strain on the tendon when I ran was too much, which led to the pull.
So make sure you warm up and stretch before your workouts!