New Research Busts Lots of Long-Held Views!
As a fitness trainer for over 40 years I’ve heard many things about stretching but few actually based on fact.
The problem has always been that there is little or no research on the issue. Now that’s changed.
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We have several fine scientific studies on this issue and the results are surprising! And time saving!
Take a look!
Health Check: Do You Need to Stretch Before and After Exercise?
Do we really need to stretch when we exercise? And does stretching increase flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, reduce soreness and enhance sporting performance? The answer is neither yes nor no.
The first two trials of the effects of stretching on risk of injury, conducted on 2,631 army recruits, showed three months of routine stretching before exercise didn’t appreciably reduce injury risk. A more recent trial on 2,377 recreationally active people had very similar findings: three months of regular stretching had little or no effect on risk….A number of other randomised trials have investigated the effects of stretching before and after physical activity on the soreness experienced after exercise. They suggest stretching does reduce soreness, but the effect is very small….
Flexibility And Strength
The effect of stretching on sporting performance is less clear, or at least more complex….
Stretching acutely increases flexibility: after just a few seconds or a few minutes of stretching, joints move further and resist movement less. But this effect is transient. Once the stretching stops, flexibility returns to pre-stretch levels. And recovery is largely complete within a few minutes of finishing the stretch.It’s possible, but less certain, that stretching also has chronic effects on flexibility. Regular stretching could stimulate adaptations of muscles and other tissues that bring about lasting increases in flexibility.
The other way stretching could affect performance is through its effects on the ability of muscles to produce force. The clearest conclusion that arises from studies on humans is that stretching typically produces a small, temporary reduction in the strength of stretched muscles.
This suggests it may be unwise to stretch muscles immediately prior to sport if it requires generation of large muscle forces.
To Stretch Or Not To Stretch?
For recreationally active people, these research findings suggest stretching might have a very small benefit and probably won’t do any harm. If you like stretching, stretch. If you don’t like stretching, don’t do it and don’t feel guilty about not doing it.
For high-level athletes, there’s more at stake and the decision is harder. Stretching might increase performance in sports that require lots of flexibility but could temporarily decrease muscle strength; it makes more sense to stretch if you’re a hurdler than if you’re a weightlifter….
To finish on a more positive note: while it appears that stretching doesn’t appreciably reduce risk of injury, there’s good evidence that warming up does. An intensive, well-structured, active warm-up can substantially reduce risk of injury, so try doing that the next time you exercise.
For the entire article go here: http://theconversation.com/health-check-do-you-need-to-stretch-before-and-after-exercise-46197.