Stretching before workout ‘of no use’

June 16th, 2009 - 1:17 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, June 16 (ANI): The next time your gym instructor tells you to do some stretching exercises before starting the workout, pass on him this message: it’s a waste of time.

Going by the results of a new Australian study, which took in almost 2400 people across the globe, the topic stretching muscles before a workout is debatable, reports News.com.au.

But Dr Rob Herbert says it has tilted the needle only slightly in favour of stretching.

“Two previous randomised trials on the effect of stretching on injury risk showed no effect, and a series of very small laboratory trials … also showed no effect,” Dr Herbert, a senior research fellow at Sydney’s The George Institute for International Health, said.

“I was expecting no effect, but in this much larger study … we’ve found a very small reduction in the risk of some injuries and a small reduction in the risk of bothersome soreness,” the expert added.

To reach the conclusion, study participants were split into two groups with one assigned to do seven minutes of stretching both before and after their exercise.

The other group undertook their exercise regime of running, cycling or aerobics classes without any stretching, three or four times a week over three months.

After the activities were done, Herbert said stretching was shown to reduce the risk of muscle, ligament and tendon injuries the equivalent of preventing one injury about every five years.

Only one in 13 people reported stretching had reduced their muscle soreness.

“So the effect is very small, and it’s so small there’s not a particularly compelling case for it being an important intervention,” Herbert said.

“The way I think about it is, if you like stretching … and it helps you feel ready for activity, there’s probably a marginal benefit.

“But if you find it distracts you from physical activity, keeps you away from exercising, or reduces your exercise time, then probably there’s little to be lost from not doing it,” the expert added.

Conversely, Herbert said: “Light activity preceding intense activity might be a sensible thing to do,” Herbert said. (ANI)

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