Posted by: Help | 2008/05/23

Advice on stretching exercises

I am 58 overweight and trying to get myself fit against all odds.

Because of setbacks with my health and an old injury to my neck I cannot do weights so am trying to at least use the treadmill.

I do not walk too fast between 5.8 - 6.2speed and have slowly increased my time from 15 min to 45 min every second day.

Can you advise me when I should do my stretching exercises lease?
Before I start walking or after. I read somewhere that it is not good to stretch cold muscles is this true?

But I found walking at 45 min i get some pain just below my left knee. Is this because I am walking on cold muscles without warming up? If so can you advise how to warm up first.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi there

Stretching is tricky, because there is a line of thought that it actually might not be required for many people. I think that often, people stretch because they think it's "the done thing" and this actually causes problems rather than preventing them. So the best advice is to stretch only when required, though this is easier said than done. the danger is over-stretching, or stretching too much, because that can lead to injuries down the line.

My advice to you is to do very very gentle stretching. The best time to do this is after a very short warmup, which might consist of a 5 minute walk. if you do that, then stretch GENTLY (important), then you should be ok. The other time you might stretch is if you feel something tight or needing to be stretched, but not before, because as I said, it might be your stretching that is causing the problem!

The pain in the knee could have a number of possible causes. It might be that you've increased the distance too quickly, and now your joints and muscles are not quite ready for 45 minutes of walking. Perhaps you might consider decreasing to 30 minutes, just for a week or so. I don't mean to slow down your excellent progress, but this reduction, followed by a return, might give you the time to adapt and get stronger, so that the knee pain doesn't happen anymore.

Good luck

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