Should you stretch before running???Healthy Living
Not always says a new study that looked at 2,729 runners who ran more than 10 miles per week. The results were recently presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The runners in the study were assigned to a “stretching group” and a “non-streching” group.
In the stretching group, they stretched their quadriceps, hamstrings, and Achilles for 3-5 minutes right before starting their run. The median age of the runners was 39 years old (50% older, 50% younger). They kept everything else the same except for the stretching (i.e. they could walk before or after running if they usually did that). It was a three month study.
The runners had to report injury such as muscle tears and stress fractures or anything else that kept them from running for more than 1 week. Almost 1,400 runners finished the study (600 in the “stretching group” and 798 in the “non-stretching group”).
The injury rate in both groups was 16%. The biggest risk factors for having an injury were runners with a recent or chronic injury or those who weighed more (i.e. higher body mass index (BMI) ). Another major finding was that runners who switched routines (i.e. stretched and then stopped) were more likely to be injured than those who continued the same habits — stretching or not. There was a 23% increase in injuries for those who stretched before the study and who were assigned to the non-stretch group; there was a 22% increase in injury to runners who did not stretch before the study and then began to stretch for the study. Overall, there was ~40% increased injury risk for both groups.
I am not sure why the non-stretch group got more injuries from stretching. It may be that they loosened muscles they hadn’t used before. Also, the stretch group must have been used to stretching out their muscles and could not get used to not stretching them. Overall, I think this shows that stretching may not be the only thing that prevents injury from running.
Bottom Line: If you stretch….stretch. If you don’t….don’t!
I am a NOT a stretcher, and my husband is…I think at this point we should both continue our ways Are you a stretcher or a non-stretcher???? Thoughts on this…..