Stretches before running have no impact on injury: study

Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:15pm EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - It makes no difference if you stretch or not before a run, because stretching won't affect your risk of injury, according to a study.

"There is a lot of controversy about this," Daniel Pereles, from George Washington University, told Reuters Health.

"Some insist you need to stretch, others say you don't, and every time I tried to assess a study on this I found that the authors were extrapolating the results from gymnasts or wrestlers or soccer players or other sprinting or short distance athletes, and nothing was related to running.

"I just wanted to know whether stretching before going for a run would be beneficial for recreational runners like myself."

Pereles and his colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 2,729 volunteers recruited online. All were at least 13 years old and all usually ran at least 10 miles per week.

For three months, runners in one group stretched their quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and Achilles tendons for 3 to 5 minutes immediately before a run. Those in the non-stretch group ran in their usual fashion.

The runners kept all other aspects of their routine the same and self-reported any injuries, which were defined as any condition that prevented running for at least one week.

According to the study, presented this week at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, injury rates were 16 percent in both groups.

The most significant risk factors for injury were a history of chronic injury or recent injury in the past four months, and a higher body mass index.   Continued...

 
<p>Runners reach the halfway point of the marathon length run portion of the Kailua-Kona, Hawaii Ironman World Championship triathlon in this October 10, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry</p>