Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Answer to the sore muscles question

Q. I stretch before running but my hamstrings are always so sore the next day. Any tips for that?

A. I’m not a professional, but here is what I have learned… First of all, sore muscles are actually good (as long as they aren’t too sore, in that case you obviously overdid it). When you work out you cause stress to your muscles causing little tiny tears in the muscle fibers. After 2 days your muscles have repaired themselves and are now stronger  Now if what you are feeling is a pain or swelling rather than soreness, you have injured yourself and that is NOT good. That being said, NEVER stretch before you workout. Your workout should be: warm up, workout, cool down (let your heart rate drop), THEN stretch. If you warm up for about 5 minutes before you workout you have allowed your body temperature to rise (obviously your muscle temperature will rise also) and your muscles are now, for lack of a better word, pliable. They are able to stretch now. Don’t ever forget that are bodies are designed to protect us. When we try to stretch a COLD muscle the opposite happens and our muscles (trying to protect themselves) retract making the muscle shorter. We want long, lean muscles right? Stretching before a workout dramatically increases the risk of an injury. If I ever go to a class or an event and they are stretching before the workout I DON’T do it. I always do my own thing (unless my muscles are already warm). A good warm up is anything light cardio, but not aerobic, examples would be: jogging, jump rope, marching in place, a few jumping jacks, you get the idea. When you do stretch, after your workout try to hold the stretch for about 30 seconds.

Is there a better way to view comments? If I’m following the blog is there a way that I can have the comments sent to my email? I don’t always go back and read all of the comments and I feel like I’m probably missing out on lots of good info. I think blogger has an option to show the most recent comments on the side bar or you can have them emailed to us. Just a suggestion. I didn’t remember your question and it took me a wile to go back and find the comment.


  1. Thanks shelley, I usually do a little warm-up then stretch, but I don't think it is enough of a warm-up. I think I will bag the stretching altogether until after my run from now on.

  2. That makes sense. Thanks for the info. I've heard you shouldn't stretch before, but I didn't know why.