Before Going for a Run, Stretch for 5 Minutes or Walk for 5 Minutes?
Better choice: walk
To prepare your body for an activity, the best thing you can do is a similar activity that's slower and gentler. So if you're going for a run, start with a walk, then gradually raise your intensity.
Stretching cold muscles can increase your risk of injury, which is why experts believe that it's better done after your body is warmed up.
"There's a fair amount of evidence that warming up before a workout helps prevent injury but not that stretching does," says Julie Gilchrist, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control Injury Center, in Atlanta, who was part of a research team that reviewed more than 350 studies examining the relationship between stretching and injury.
But… Stretching promotes flexibility, which may also lessen the risk of injury. "So it's important to stretch," Gilchrist says. Just be sure to warm up first or stretch after exercise as part of a cooldown.