Pre-Exercise Stretching: Does It Really Help Prevent Injuries?

Pre-Exercise Stretching

Stretching is important for people of all ages! One of the greatest benefits of stretching is that you’re able to increase your range of motion, which means your limbs and joints can move further before an injury occurs. Flexibility is an essential fitness component that decreases with age and physical inactivity. As you age, your muscles tighten and the range of motion in the joints is minimized. This can dampen active lifestyles and even hinder day-to-day, normal motions. Traditionally, stretching as a warm-up has long been recommended for individuals who engage in exercise for rehabilitation, injury prevention, health improvement and athletic performance enhancement.

Studies about the benefits of stretching have had mixed results. Some show that stretching helps. Other studies show that stretching before or after exercise has little to no benefit. Some research shows that stretching doesn’t reduce muscle soreness after exercise, and other studies show that static stretching performed immediately before a sprint event may slightly worsen performance.

Pre-exercise stretching can help improve flexibility, and, consequently, the range of motion about your joints. Better flexibility may decrease your risk of injuries. Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscle. You may learn to enjoy the ritual of stretching before or after hitting the trail. You might need to approach stretching with caution. If you have a chronic condition or an injury, you might need to adjust your stretching techniques. For example, if you already have a strained muscle, stretching it may cause further harm.

Remember that stretching doesn’t mean you can’t get injured. Stretching, for instance, will prevent an overuse injury.

A regular stretching program can help lengthen your muscles and make daily living activities easier.

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