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Do You Really Need to Stretch? Sports Recovery Series
#4

Should you stretch to improve performance and reduce injury risks?

Do you really need to stretch?

There was a
large review study done on the effects of stretching in distance
runners that summarizes a lot of the evidence (1). Here are some of
the highlights: Does stretching improve flexibility?

Chronic stretching, meaning a stretching program over 6 weeks or
more does improve flexibility. This is not the same as acute
stretching which is done just once before or after training or an
event.

Does acute stretching improve performance?

Just stretching before an event does not improve performance
and, for running, it can decrease performance.

Does flexibility improve performance?

Improved flexibility can actually be detrimental to performance
as the most elite runners are less flexible. Also, cycling is a
sport were increased flexibility can be a negative. However, for
other sports flexibility is more important such as for gymnastics,
skating, wrestling, cheerleading, martial arts, etc. So whether
flexibility is desired for performance depends on the sport.

Does stretching reduce post-exercise soreness?

Either static stretching (hold a stretch for a certain time) or
dynamic stretching (moving through a range of motion) before
exercise in studies has shown to have no or very tiny benefit at
most for reducing soreness.

Does stretching reduce the risk of chronic injury?

For the most part, there has not been much evidence that
stretching reduces the risks of injury. However, for some
activities or sports, stretching could potentially be beneficial
for injury
prevention
. Stretching does not seem to increase the risk for
injury. Also, if you are injured, stretching is beneficial for
maintaining joint range of motion which is important for overall
joint health.

My recommendation:

If you are a runner or a cyclist then you likely do not need to
stretch much. If you do have an injury then stretching is
important. Also, if stretching feel good for you personally then go
ahead and do so after your workout or event. For other sports,
especially those that require good flexibility then improving
flexibility is a good idea. Some are genetically more flexible and
may not have to do much. For others, doing some dynamic stretching
before activity, and static stretching when warmed up as part of a
flexibility program can be helpful. Just stretching before an event
is probably not helpful and for runners and cyclists maybe a bad
idea.

Of course if you have any nagging injuries keeping you from
working out or performing at your peak, then contact us at the
Centeno Schultz clinic for evaluation, as we specialize in treating
musculoskeletal and orthopedic problems with an emphasis on helping
your body heal without drugs and surgeries.

References

1. Claire Baxter, Lars R. Mc Naughton, Andy Sparks, Lynda Norton
& David Bentley (2017) Impact of stretching on
the performance and injury risk of long-distance runners
,
Research in Sports Medicine, 25:1, 78-90, DOI:
10.1080/15438627.2016.1258640

The post Do You
Really Need to Stretch? Sports Recovery Series #4
appeared
first on Centeno-Schultz
Clinic
.

Should you stretch to improve performance and reduce injury risks?

Do you really need to stretch?

There was a
large review study done on the effects of stretching in distance
runners that summarizes a lot of the evidence (1). Here are some of
the highlights: Does stretching improve flexibility?

Chronic stretching, meaning a stretching program over 6 weeks or
more does improve flexibility. This is not the same as acute
stretching which is done just once before or after training or an
event.

Does acute stretching improve performance?

Just stretching before an event does not improve performance
and, for running, it can decrease performance.

Does flexibility improve performance?

Improved flexibility can actually be detrimental to performance
as the most elite runners are less flexible. Also, cycling is a
sport were increased flexibility can be a negative. However, for
other sports flexibility is more important such as for gymnastics,
skating, wrestling, cheerleading, martial arts, etc. So whether
flexibility is desired for performance depends on the sport.

Does stretching reduce post-exercise soreness?

Either static stretching (hold a stretch for a certain time) or
dynamic stretching (moving through a range of motion) before
exercise in studies has shown to have no or very tiny benefit at
most for reducing soreness.

Does stretching reduce the risk of chronic injury?

For the most part, there has not been much evidence that
stretching reduces the risks of injury. However, for some
activities or sports, stretching could potentially be beneficial
for injury
prevention
. Stretching does not seem to increase the risk for
injury. Also, if you are injured, stretching is beneficial for
maintaining joint range of motion which is important for overall
joint health.

My recommendation:

If you are a runner or a cyclist then you likely do not need to
stretch much. If you do have an injury then stretching is
important. Also, if stretching feel good for you personally then go
ahead and do so after your workout or event. For other sports,
especially those that require good flexibility then improving
flexibility is a good idea. Some are genetically more flexible and
may not have to do much. For others, doing some dynamic stretching
before activity, and static stretching when warmed up as part of a
flexibility program can be helpful. Just stretching before an event
is probably not helpful and for runners and cyclists maybe a bad
idea.

Of course if you have any nagging injuries keeping you from
working out or performing at your peak, then contact us at the
Centeno Schultz clinic for evaluation, as we specialize in treating
musculoskeletal and orthopedic problems with an emphasis on helping
your body heal without drugs and surgeries.

References

1. Claire Baxter, Lars R. Mc Naughton, Andy Sparks, Lynda Norton
& David Bentley (2017) Impact of stretching on
the performance and injury risk of long-distance runners
,
Research in Sports Medicine, 25:1, 78-90, DOI:
10.1080/15438627.2016.1258640

The post Do You
Really Need to Stretch? Sports Recovery Series #4
appeared
first on Centeno-Schultz
Clinic
.

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