woman in black activewear exercising

Your Gym Teacher Was Wrong — You Don’t Have To Stretch Before Working Out

Maybe your junior high gym class gave you the idea that before you workout, you need to stretch. Touching your toes might help prevent injury, you might have heard, or help you run as fast as you could.

But decades of research have found that static stretching — where you reach and hold your position for several seconds — before exercising doesn’t help. It’s possible that instead, the movements do the opposite of what you want them to: Make you perform worse and make you more likely to get hurt.

“If the goal is to improve performance, then you usually don’t do static stretching prior,” says Nick Kruse, an exercise physiologist at the University of Iowa. Instead, it might be better to swap in another warm-up before your run, and maybe move the static stretches to another part of the day. 

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woman in black activewear exercising
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