Stretching is a form of physical exercise where a specific skeletal muscle or a muscle group is deliberately elongated, usually by abduction from the torso, to improve its felt elasticity and attain comfortable muscle tone. It results to a feeling of increased muscle control, greater flexibility and wider range of motion. Stretching is also used to alleviate muscular cramps.
Stretching is a both natural and instinctive activity that often occurs after long periods of inactivity such as sleeping or after getting out of confined spaces like couch seats in an airplane. Athletes use stretching before or after jogging as a precaution against injury and also to increase performance.
Most joggers do stretching exercises before each run in the belief that performance can be enhanced and injuries are prevented. The following are the perceived benefits of stretching exercises before jogging:
A jogger can do stretching exercises for the following areas:
A jogger must be careful, however, in stretching cold muscles as they are very easy to tear. It will be a good idea to warm first before doing the stretching exercises. A five minute walk can get the blood to the area that needs stretching so the risk of tearing or any other damage will be minimal.
While it is always advisable to stretch to the point of having discomfort in the muscles, one must not overstretch because overstretching will tend to create an automatic myotatic reflex that will cause the muscle to recoil as a form of protecting itself from tearing and injury. Observe moderation and caution while doing stretching exercises before jogging.