Our expert says:
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.
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