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  1. #1 How long should you stretch before exercising? 
    Administrator SaintLouieWoman's Avatar
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    Ask Dr. Tim Church
    How Long Should I Stretch?



    Q: I know it's important to do stretches before any fitness regimen. How long should my stretching routine take before I get into my workout?
    — Amy, Oregon


    A: There are no hard-and-fast rules for exactly how much stretching you should do, and it really depends on the type and intensity of the particular workout you're doing. For a basic running, walking, or aerobic workout, 5 to 15 minutes should be enough. For a more vigorous workout, such as the various martial arts, 20 to 30 minutes or more may be necessary.
    Learn more in the Everyday Health Fitness Center.



    Last Updated: 05/03/2010
    Dr. Tim Church is the director of the Laboratory of Preventive Medicine at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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  2. #2  
    Power CUer noonwitch's Avatar
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    I don't do any stretching first, I just either jump right into the pool and start my laps or I get right on the bike and start riding. Part of it is because it's a public facility and I want to get on the bike I like before someone else does, or get a swimming lane before they are all full.
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  3. #3  
    Zoomie djones520's Avatar
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    My trainer right now always insists on stretching my warming up. He says if your experiencing specific muscle issued, like my calf muscles, then some targetted stretches after a quick warm up is alright, but otherwise as long as you ease yourself into the workout, your body will handle itself accordingly.

    There seems to be a ton of differant schools of thought on this subject though. I've heard that stretching is best done at the beginning of any workout. Or best done at the end of a work out. Not at all. etc...
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  4. #4  
    Administrator SaintLouieWoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djones520 View Post
    My trainer right now always insists on stretching my warming up. He says if your experiencing specific muscle issued, like my calf muscles, then some targetted stretches after a quick warm up is alright, but otherwise as long as you ease yourself into the workout, your body will handle itself accordingly.

    There seems to be a ton of differant schools of thought on this subject though. I've heard that stretching is best done at the beginning of any workout. Or best done at the end of a work out. Not at all. etc...
    I used to work out at a small place in St Louis called FastTrack. It was started by a physician's assistant (he also was a physical therapist) and his physical therapist wife. They were true entrepreneurs, had a good business model and excellent facility, but made the mistake of expanding to another facility just as the economy started to sour.

    Always felt safe working out there. They suggested maybe 5 minutes or so of warm up on an exercise bike or elliptical, then do the circuit. They insisted on doing a stretch AFTER the workout. They said it eliminated or cut down on the cramps.

    SR went there, too. They even had him doing the stretch afterwards. He said that it really helped.

    Have read that you shouldn't overstretch before the exercise, as your muscles aren't warmed up enough yet.

    I've dug through all my prior printed sheets for PT before knee surgery and doing it myself. I have quite a bit of stuff here, including a full set of exercise balls, those stretchy things with handles in various strengths, and various weights. I also have a slant board and one of those long wand type things that physical therapists use for rotator cuff rehab. I bought quite a bit of the professional stuff when FastTrack went out of business.

    The insurance limits the amount of PT they'll cover, so I'm trying to do the pre-stuff on my own and save the sessions for after my surgery. It's really feeling good to get the muscles more toned again.
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  5. #5  
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    I do about 2 min of stretching my hamstrings before a squat session or dead lifts but i don't ever stretch out anything else. I do warm up sets with light weight before working sets. That stretches me out pretty good.
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  6. #6  
    Senior Betwixt Member Bubba Dawg's Avatar
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    I was in a stress management class in college and the talk turned to waring up before exercise.

    There was a nice young fellow in the class who was on the track team. I asked him about stretching and he said to stretch after you jog lightly for about three miles.

    A three mile jog was my workout. :o

    Maybe it's differetn strokes for different folks, depending on what you are doing and your body type, general condition and health, the weather, etc.

    In cycling i start out riding slowly and then pick it up....a little anyway. :D
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