Do I need to stretch both before and after doing cardio, or do I only need to stretch once (if so, when)?

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Muscles are much more pliable when warm. So I start my routine with a very short gentle dynamic set of movements usually centered on the major muscle groups, I would call it more of “warm up ” than stretching. Then I begin my workout for the day which I finish with a more full-body, comprehensive stretch.
If injury prevention is the primary objective, the evidence suggests that athletes should limit the stretching before exercise, and increase the warm up time with dynamic movements.

Stretching has been hotly debated in recent years. There is no evidence that static stretching prevents injury or improves performance, experts now say. In fact there’s some evidence that it can hurt. When it comes to staying injury-free, functional range of motion is more important than flexibility.

β€œIf you can run comfortably, and without injury, there is no need to stretch,” says William O. Roberts, professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He’s also RunnersWorld.com’s β€œAsk the Sports Doc” columnist. (Read more about what he thinks about stretching here.)

Before your workout, your time is better spent warming up with dynamic stretching.

These moves, which include butt kicks and walking with high knees, improve range of motion and loosen up muscles that you’re going to use on the road. They also increase heart rate, body temperature, and bloodflow so you feel warmed up sooner and run more efficiently.

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