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question

How does stretching prevent injuries in people who work out?

Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
answer
Muscle fibers have a certain length to them. “Cold” muscles don’t stretch as far as “warm” muscles. Stretching after a light warm-up helps to loosen/lengthen the muscles. Any vigorous activity that forces a muscle to near-max performance has a greater chance of tearing or injury if the muscle is cold and hasn’t been stretched.
Todd Townes - Sharecare Fitness Expert
Todd Townes - Sharecare Fitness Expert on behalf of Sharecare Fitness
Fitness
answer

Stretching can definitely help in the prevention of injuries. Expanding your muscle fibers increases your flexibility and muscles that are fluid and pliable are less prone to injury. Stretching will also help build strength.

National Academy of Sports Medicine
National Academy of Sports Medicine
answer

Yes, having the appropriate levels of flexibility allows the body to move properly, reducing the overall chance of being injured.If the body is moving properly,there is less stress placed on it during exercise leading to a lesser chance of being injured.

HealthyWomen
HealthyWomen
answer
If you work out, a good way to fend off injury is to stretch regularly, which develops flexibility. Stretching -- which may seem like a time-waster when you're rushing to get home or to work -- is a must for protecting against activity-related problems.

Often, we're so consumed with focusing on cardiovascular exercise or walking that we forget about the importance of flexibility. Developing flexibility is as important or more so than exercise itself because having adequate flexible muscles can help to reduce one’s risk of injury.

Although, in general, women are more flexible than men, women lose some of that flexibility as they age. Add in an exercise routine focused on one type of movement, little or no stretching and unhealthful shoe choices (prolonged wearing of high heels shortens calf muscles and flip-flops promote flat feet, for example) and you put yourself at risk for leg pain, arthritic problems and more.

If you have concerns about how to stretch safely, consult with a physical therapist to develop an individualized stretching program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.