Why it's Important to Stretch Before Working Out

Hey GirlMoguls, it’s Lily here. So I have some bad news- my left knee is in a brace! The sad part is that I hurt simply running on the treadmill. I’m a very active girl, and take part in lots of sports and activities. I know my way around the gym, but still managed to hurt myself. I learned that I wasn’t doing anything wrong on the treadmill. What was wrong about my situation is what I wasn’t doing.

I talked to one of the trainers in the gym, who was explaining to me all the techniques he uses around the cardio machines in the gym. I’m a dancer, and always stretch before dancing. However, I never stretched before running. I know you’re supposed to, but always figured it wasn’t necessary, or I was just in a rush to get going. Stretching before cardio is super important (I learned that the hard way) because it relaxes your muscles and allows for more flexible and vigorous movement without causing injury. Unfortunately, not stretching wasn’t the only reason why I got hurt. Running is a very high impact sport, meaning that when you run, it causes a lot of immediate impact on your knees. Every time you take a step while running, you cause your knees to sustain over 3 times your actual body weight, simply because of momentum and gravity. Depending on the structure of your body, this can be very taxing on your knees and heels. I am really feeling that now. An alternative to a high impact cardio workout is using another machine such as an elliptical machine or a recumbent bike. The elliptical machine simulates walking on sand, and if you’ve ever tried to run on sand, you know it isn’t easy. The elliptical usually has two areas for your feet. The mountings for your feet move with your legs, which cause there to be less impact on the knees. You get the same high intense cardio, but without the pain. Another option is the recumbent bicycle. It’s another alternative that causes little stress to the knee and ankles, but still gets the sweat going because you are biking in a sitting position.

Try these tips the next time you work out. Remember to stretch before you workout, because it definitely prevents injuries. If you do find running to be an issue, try the elliptical or bikes in the gym.
Cardio is the best way to get healthy; it allows for better sleeps and a faster metabolism…so get going!

Posted by GirlMogul Lily

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