To Stretch or Not to Stretch?
Apparently, stretching before exercise does not reduce the risk of leg injury during workouts.
Australian researchers recruited 1,538 men in the army and randomly assigned them to stretch or non-stretch groups.
Over the course of 40 sessions of physical training in 12 weeks, both groups started with warm-up exercises, but the stretch group also did additional 20-second stretches of the main leg muscles for a total of five minutes of stretching.
The researchers did not find a significant difference in the number of leg injuries reported between the stretch and non-stretch groups.
What did make a difference was the men's level of fitness and age.
The five-minute stretching time used in this study may have been too short to result in benefits; still, the best way to prevent injury of any kind is to exercise consistently enough to stay fit.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, February 2000
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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