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<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/health/nutrition/13Best.html?pagewanted=1&ref=health" target="_blank">http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/he...d=1&ref=health</a><br><br>
Personally, I think my trainer wants me to stretch more.<br>
I tend not to, cause I'm pretty ummmmmmmmmm what's the word? Oh yeah, lazy! when it comes to that.<br><br>
That being said,<br>
My feet feel the difference when I don't. So when I stretch, I stretch my feet and calves. I do have a few stretches that I'll do when I'm running cold.....preceded by a brief walk.<br><br>
I've done yoga.<br>
It doesn't jazz me up all that much, but I know that for some people it's the greatest thing. To each his/her own.<br><br>
Nice to see, though, that even the ex. phys. folks can't really agree.
 

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It depends, I think. I have exercised nearly every day since 1982 and spent little time stretching, while getting pretty decent at the sports I played. Now, in my mid 40's I'm finding that strength imbalances and old injuries are holding me back and the need for stretching is almost equal to the need for more training, so I'm doing Yoga every night. I think for people who drive a lot or work at a desk for many years, similar issues exist.<br><br>
I'm not sure why the NY times has been trying to chime in on exercise issues lately, they are really out of their depth on this one.
 

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As long as they quit writing articles about Portland, I'm good. <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"><br><br>
I'm another one in the "Yoga is good" camp. When I was regularly doing it, it not only improved my flexibility but mitigated some of the strength imbalances I developed focusing on other sports. Since my awesome instructor moved back to BC, I haven't been doing it as often. <img alt="blush.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/blush.gif">
 

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I agree with Jr. I, like him, have been doing something active since, well, pretty much since I was a kid. There have been times when I've had to stretch, but even then who knows what difference it made. I believe it did. But...<br><br>
Every body is different, and everybody is different (words chosen carefully). And because of this I don't necessarily know that a blanket statement can be made that stretching is a must for a lengthy career in whatever discipline you choose.<br><br>
The truth is, we all have a natural stretching mechanism that gets very little attention. And I bet that stretching does more good with most bodies than explicit stretching. And the natural stretching I speak of is the slow ramp to speed in the early miles of any workout. When you cut that out, your body is not properly stretched -- or call it "warmed up" -- and you become more injury prone. Warm up with a mile or two before hitting it harder by easing into the work part of the session and you'll be better for it. Then insert a proper cool down and you'll effectively (for most bodies) nail what stretching is said to do. Maybe not in all manners, but it will in the way you use the muscles for that workout.<br><br>
Every body is different. Stretching might be mandatory for some while not at all needed by others. Once you have an injury, then you might need stretching to best help keep it from kicking off other injuries.
 

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The article reflects a lot of my opinions and things I've heard over the years.<br><br>
Talking about endurance sports, flexibility (the result of stretching or yoga) is good, up to a point, the one that makes you mechanically efficient. The energy expenditure (calories) depends on the total movement of your muscles. If the muscles move more, you spend more energy. So if some muscle has become too flexible, let's say 10% more flexible than the average, that muscle will spend 10% more energy during the run. Compound a few muscle groups over a long race and you might end up spending all that 10% more over your race. Not important in a 5K or 10K, but could be crucial in a marathon or HIM.<br><br>
Of course, some people are stiff the begin with, and they benefit from stretching and increased flexibility, but again, to a point. For example, once you reached your best hip / quad flexibility point, any extra flexibility will make you lengthen your stride and get back to a heel strike. Something I don't get is people who start an workout with long deep stretches. Don't they know you should never stretch cold muscles???<br><br>
Finally... two years ago I was running in a group with Dean Karnazes and someone asked how does he manage to run hundreds of miles every week and never get injured. He's answer was very quick: "I never stretched in 10 years".
 
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