Most trainers and physicians will tell you that stretching is important before working out, although there is some new evidence in running that there may be more to the story. One of the reasons stretching is generally advised is to help appropriately adjust the tension within the muscles themselves. Stretching can help to orient the muscle fibers appropriately and to prime them for activity. Additionally, there are receptors in the muscles themselves that measure tension and help to protect your body. By stretching, you allow these to function optimally. With regards to weight lifting, in addition to what I have mentioned already, it is important to think about your cartilage. Cartilage of joints has a very poor blood supply. It gets nutrition from the surrounding fluid that is squeezed in and out of the cartilage during movement, somewhat like a sponge. When you stretch, it fills up these cartilages so that they are extra juicy and provide full cushioning protection for the bones. Not only does this prevent short-term injury
, but it can help with long-term problems as well, such as deterioration of your bony joints. Speaking with a certified trainer or a sports medicine doctor
may provide additional information, but for now, remember that many physicians and trainers believe stretching can protect you on multiple fronts. Please speak to your doctor.