Myth: Static stretching before workouts or sport will help decrease your injury risk
- Stretching can have multiple benefits including increasing flexibility, stress relief, and relaxation. However, multiple studies have now proven that static stretching before exercise does not decrease your chance of getting injured. In fact, some studies have concluded that it increases your chance of getting injured.
Health and Fitness Testing NZ Tips:
- Gradually warm up for at least 5 minutes before any exercise. The type of warm up should be specific to the type of exercise you are about to perform. For example, if you are going to train your legs in the gym, start with 5 minutes on a cycle or treadmill and try some body weight squats and lunges. If you are going to be performing heavy lifting to maximal range, make sure you gradually build into this range and weight.
- If you are wanting to increase your flexibility, it can take a lot of commitment. For example, one 2016 study showed that you could improve your hamstring flexibility by 19 degrees if you stretched your hamstring muscle group 6 times/day for 6 weeks. The study also showed that this increased range was maintained after 12 weeks if you continued to stretch this amount 3 days per week.
- Performing new exercises can increase flexibility for some, however, the best place to perform static stretching may be after a workout. It can also be a great way to cool down and relax again.
Written by: Peter Halstead
MPhty, PGDipSportMed, BSpEx
Health and Fitness Testing NZ