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Do you stretch and why?

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  • #16
    I stretch regularly because I find I move more fluidly in my day to day routine when I do. Also I find stretching is an example of the body/mind connection. Stretching my physical body helps me feel calm and relaxed and happy. As far as hiking, it is nice to have flexible hamstrings when it comes to some of the big rock steps.

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    • #17
      I never stretch and never have a problem. I think it is the placebo effect and example of conventional wisdom non-science in the sports fields.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by JoeCedar View Post
        I think it is the placebo effect
        Just like electrolytes!
        1111111111

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Neil
          Just like electrolytes!
          We all store electrolytes in our bodies in sufficient quantity to last for days and the kidneys make sure we don't lose too much. Of course, you know that...

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          • #20
            I think the "electrolyte" fad has more to do with the sexy name than anything else. How many folks are aware that if you sweat copiously the electrolyte (ie. salt) content of your sweat drops to nearly zero?
            1111111111

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            • #21
              I was told to stretch by a P.T. many years ago, (as well as follow an exercise regimen), to help alleviate tendonitis. I was active in sports and hiking. The tendonitis went away. (So did the sports). The P.T. recommended I continue stretching indefinitely. I still follow the stretching regimen, but not religiously. I still have no knee pain. I am a sample set of 1.

              Generally, I think it helps with my flexibility. I know if I forget to do it a few days, my flexibility is decreased. And I think flexibility is important for serious hiking.
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              • #22
                A friend of mine never stretches and believes in being unflexible for speed and better bouncing. He is one of the best trail runners in Canada. You can see Galen Rupp, the best 5k to marathon runner in the US do stretch exercises (walk sideways hands on the floor, feet tied by elastic). For older elite marathoners, you can see the bests Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor strech a lot as a routine. Does it work? I don't know. I do it and it feels good and feels like it unlocks the muscles a bit. Nothing intense like yoga. When the greatest mountain runner in the world, Kilian Jornet, was asked if he ever gets twisted ankles, he showed he could run on his ankles while twisted.
                It is believed in triathlon that the great ankle flexibility required for swimming is bad for running.
                There's also been a lot of talk about how stretching reduces performance, but this is all based on a study were runners would do a 1 minute deep strech and right away sprint a 100m or something like that. Obviously, they were slower.

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                • Trail Boss
                  Trail Boss commented
                  Editing a comment
                  A great deal of what the media reports is based on cherry-picking the data and then reporting it completely out of context. Many so-called "miracle foods" are hyped this way. Similarly you get crap like "Bad then good now bad again. Will science ever make up its mind?" Click-bait 'journalism'.

              • #23
                I guess I'm in the same boat as rich99. Having found the research/advice I've read to be unpersuasive, I just stretch when it feels like I need to stretch. Sometimes I get lazy about it, and eventually there will come a day where I spend all day at work thinking about how awful my hip flexors feel.

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                • #24
                  About 18 years ago, like in the original posts,I had so much pain from herniated disks I couldn't tie my shoes or get in and out of the car without extraordinary effort. Unlike the OP, my stretching routine in PT (and a couple of epidural steroid treatments intended to help reduce the inflammation) did the trick for me, YMMV. My precursor to a disk flare up is a dull ache experienced in the bottom of my foot. When I would sense that some stretching and an advil would address the problem. It's been years since I've used the advil in that situation; just the stretching.

                  I don't stretch before running these days, but I do stretch after running. It's a routine that takes about 20 minutes. Stretching to warm up seems a bit silly since you are forcing cold muscles into positions that they aren't accustomed to. Seems the opposite of what is intended with a "warm up". Maybe it's a placebo, but stretching after a hard workout does seem to prevent soreness for me.

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                  • #25
                    The most interesting aspect of this thread are the inter-person differences in perceived benefits (or lack thereof) of stretching. I seriously doubt that people vary that much wrt stretching's effects. This suggests that it is extremely difficult to design and perform studies that accurately determine the effects (whether positive, negative or neutral) of stretching. There are many variables and putting reliable and objective metrics on them is probably a very tricky business.
                    1111111111

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                    • #26
                      I have been doing dynamic stretches to lengthen muscles prior to a hike, and static exercises to help recover at the end of the day for 5 years, and it works good for me, no side effects. Often I replace stretching with yoga.

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                      • #27
                        On a recent LD hike I found stretching at the end of the day simply 'felt good' - get down in your bag, get warm, and do some leg stretching and some planking. What I often discovered was that I lacked minerals - particularly Ca/Mg, as leg stretches would turn into cramps. But correcting THAT, I found that I performed better. I view stretching as a sort of diagnostic for post- exercise, in other words, "I'm done with that, did I really hurt anything? Lets see..."
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                        • #28
                          Originally posted by All Downhill From Here View Post
                          On a recent LD hike I found stretching at the end of the day simply 'felt good' - get down in your bag, get warm, and do some leg stretching and some planking. What I often discovered was that I lacked minerals - particularly Ca/Mg, as leg stretches would turn into cramps. But correcting THAT, I found that I performed better. I view stretching as a sort of diagnostic for post- exercise, in other words, "I'm done with that, did I really hurt anything? Lets see..."

                          How do you know that you were lacking calcium or magnesium, and that such a lacking caused your cramps? I think if you were able to prove such a thing, you'd have a sure-fire money maker on your hands.

                          Source: I see lots of people chugging disgusting pickle juice all the time. (It works.) If you could make an edible drink with calcium instead, they'd buy it.
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                          • Makwa
                            Makwa commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Milk?...

                        • #29
                          I don't _know_, but I do know that once I started drinking this "Calm" stuff that a fellow hiker had, a mixture of calcium and magnesium, they went away, and I had more energy. This was a multi-day, high-heat desert trip. I think the Ca is there to help you absorb the Mg properly.

                          The stuff was like this - https://www.amazon.com/Natural-Vital...00BPUY3W0?th=1

                          The only trick is that since Mg relaxes your muscles (presumably relaxed back to a normal state from a deficient, cramping one??), you need to go easy on it at first in case it relaxes your pooping muscles too.
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                          • DayTrip
                            DayTrip commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Yes Calcium and Magnesium work together for contracting and relaxing muscles and the ratio you ingest them at is important (I think is 2:1 but don't quote me on that). Of all the supplements you hear people hype in their exercise regimens Calcium and Magnesium are the only two I've really noticed any effect from. On long and/or hot hikes I usually take a few capsules of each and if I feel unusually sore or stiff I'll pop some and the effect is noticeable.

                        • #30
                          Yeah, I don't think we fully understand cramps. That product may very well work. I know that pickle juice works, at least on the dozens of people I've met who have it on hand for weekend-long ultimate frisbee tournaments. I'm not willing to try it.
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