Stretching – Does It Help Prevent Injury During Workout?

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stretching

As far back as I can remember – even as far back as junior high school – I was taught that stretching should be done before exercise or working out. This was the case in gym classes as well as basketball practices and games. All of the students knew the routine. Line up arm distance apart. Count off. Even numbers, step back four steps and line up behind those in the front.

Stretching Is A Long-Time Tradition

The practice of stretching before working out continues throughout my life – especially as I have gotten older. Before I walk or jog, or play a pick-up game of basketball at the YMCA, I always stretch for 5 or 6 minutes, in order to warm up my muscles, and hopefully prevent any serious injuries, such as a muscle tear or pull.

stretching

But guess what? Now, they have found that stretching before working out does not prevent injury, according to a study presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. In the study, two different groups of runners were used. One group was categorized as a stretch group, and the other as a non-stretch group. Almost three thousand participants were involved in this study. Runners in the test group stretched the major muscles in their legs for 3 to 5 minutes. The other group did not stretch.

What The Research Says About Stretching

After the study, it was concluded that stretching does not prevent or cause injury. They pointed to other factors as being more significant in causing injuries, such as age, the intensity and length of the workout, and history of chronic diseases. Also, there were no noticeable differences in risk for injuries in women compared to men.

stretching

Personally, I don’t care what the study says. I will continue to stretch before and after working out. I will also massage my muscles, if necessary. I know for a fact that it benefits me. I have been around for a long time, if you know what I mean. And I am still active in basketball and tennis. I still jog – mostly walking now. I haven’t torn or pull muscles in my legs in years. I don’t think that that’s coincidental or just in my mind. Maybe, I need to do my own study.

Benefits Of Stretching

What are the main benefits of stretching? Stretching prior to a workout primarily warms the muscles up making them more flexible and fluid. As a result, any sudden or forceful movement does not result in a tear or sprain. Stretching also speeds up circulation which results in an accumulation of sufficient oxygen and nutrients into the muscles which will allow them to work more efficiently.

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