FanDuel - WFBC

February 22, 2011

Study: Stretching Does Not Prevent Running Injuries: Runners who stretched before running were no less likely to get injured, according to a new study of 2,000 runners by a George Washington University professor of sports medicine. "Over a period of three months, it did not make any difference if you stretched or didn't stretch before a run," Dr. Daniel Pereles said. The runners most likely to be injured were the ones who changed their routine, either from stretching to non-stretching or vice versa.

posted by rcade to other at 09:21 AM - 19 comments

Since "stretching" is not defined, and since the term is used to cover a wide range of activities ranging from warmups to exercises intended to increase flexibility dramatically, I pronounce this "study" worthless.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:31 AM on February 22

As per proclamation of LLB the study has been pronounced worthless. I do think the word stretching pretty much means what it means to runners. I will give a little more credit to someone qualified "Dr. Daniel Pereles, director of sports medicine at Montgomery Orthopaedics in Kensington, Md., and an assistant clinical professor at George Washington University.

I think you can argue the value of a study of this and if it is justified monitarily, but, the result is less about stretching as it is about an individuals body adapting to a routine. The study showed that stretching or not stretching did not make a difference, but changing from stretching to not stretching or the opposite was what increased injuries substantially.

LLB- I think the word you should be looking at is running. Almost all athletes I have seen stretch, but they are doing sports that involve sudden and reactive movement, or the risk of impact etc that can expose your body to sudden stretches out of normal position. Runners aren't typically subjected to the same stuff. I would agree that this study does not address the idea if a more flexible body is less likely to be injured in a game like football.

posted by Atheist at 11:02 AM on February 22

Key sentence in that story was the last one: Experts note that research presented at meetings has not been subjected to the same type of rigorous scrutiny given to research published in peer-reviewed medical journals

A lot of key information was missing in the story. 1) How many people switched their routines? If only a handful switched their routines, is it really significant? 2) While on average the runners ran 10 miles a week, did the people that stretched run more or less? 3) In relation to the injuries noted, how many of them were caused by a known issue? That is, did they twist an ankle on a curb, or was it a muscle strain due to over use? I could go on...

And, yes, the type of stretching was not defined, nor was the type of running for that matter. On tracks, roads, wooded paths? Did the injuries occur on each surface in the same ratio?

I'm not a big runner, perfer bikes and elliptical machines ( I know, they're a waste of time... ironically that data was from another equally worthless article in MHO), sometimes I stretch, sometimes I don't. I feel better after stretching, so that alone is benefit enough for me.

I pronounce the study to be mostly worthless.

posted by dviking at 11:40 AM on February 22

LLB- I think the word you should be looking at is running.

No, I think the word I should be looking at is "stretching". First define what it is, then seek to determine if the defined activity statistically correlates with more or fewer injuries. If a study fails to define its basic term, how can it make valid conclusions?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:10 PM on February 22

From my own experience only, stretching before and/or after running has not helped me at all and sometimes used to hurt me. When I used to play volleyball and other sports involving explosive movements, stretching was necessary, but since becoming more of a runner in the last few years (~25 miles/week), I've stopped stretching completely and have experienced no muscle injuries because of it.

posted by sbacharach at 12:17 PM on February 22

LBB, did you look at the study or just the USA Today article on the study before you "pronounce[d] this 'study' worthless"?

posted by Aardhart at 01:48 PM on February 22

Did everyone limber up properly before joining this discussion?

posted by tron7 at 01:57 PM on February 22

I pronounce this sandwich, tasty!

posted by grum@work at 02:03 PM on February 22

Experts note that research presented at meetings has not been subjected to the same type of rigorous scrutiny given to research published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

This leaves me a bit skeptical. It would be nice to see the text of the published study.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:18 PM on February 22

Aardhart, no link to the study was provided. FWIW, this is hardly an original idea: the "stretching is no good" bandwagon has been gathering hangers-on for years. As I stated previously, this conclusion is flawed because the term "stretching" is used to cover a wide range of pre-exercise activities, some of which have been demonstrated to be beneficial and some of which have been demonstrated to be ineffective or actively harmful.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:45 PM on February 22

LBB, your proclaimation is worthless. As you have done before, you assumed a strawman, and then argued against the strawman. While use of the term "stretching" could be ambiguous, not all uses of the term streching is necessarily ambiguous.

Contrary to your claim that stretching was not defined, the USA Today article indicated that the stretching in the study was "stretch[ing] the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles for three to five minutes before starting their run." This definition is fairly narrow, even if it could perhaps be more precise. Without looking at the actual study, we cannot know if the study used a more precise instruction.

You assumed the conclusion was flawed, not because you assessed the methodology or evidence, but because you disagree with it in your gut.

I read a book on running by 1972 Olympic runner Jeff Galloway. He said he never strecthed when he was a competative runner. He said his wife was getting him to stretch, and recommended stretching. The bandwagon is not new. But whatever fits your narrative.

The study does not support the conclusion that stretching is bad or that people should stop stretching if they do so now. Even the USA Today article says that "stretchers who stopped stretching had a 40% higher chance of injury."

FWIW, a GWU website links to an article with this excerpt:

"[A doctor criticizing the study] said, Your study's not any good, because if you're going to get any results from your stretching . . . you're going to have to spend at least 10 minutes per muscle group','" Pereles recalls. "Well for a typical runner . . . that's going to be 30 to 40 minutes of stretching. I said, What kind of weed are you smoking? Most people have 30 to 40 minutes to run'."

posted by Aardhart at 06:24 PM on February 22

Contrary to your claim that stretching was not defined, the USA Today article indicated that the stretching in the study was "stretch[ing] the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles for three to five minutes before starting their run." This definition is fairly narrow, even if it could perhaps be more precise. Without looking at the actual study, we cannot know if the study used a more precise instruction.

It may well have. Again, as I said, there was no link to the study. As for what was reported in the article, I've been giving it the benefit of the doubt, but if I were to go with my gut, I'd say that what most people typically do when they "stretch" quads, hamstrings and calf muscles -- that is, a static stretch of a cold muscle -- would not be beneficial. On the other hand, it's also very common to see people label warmup activities as "stretching", even though there is no lengthening of the muscles involved -- it is a misnomer, but it is what many people mean when they talk about pre-activity "stretching".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:42 PM on February 22

It may well have. Again, as I said, there was no link to the study.

Yet, without reading the study (or even the article on the study apparently), you concluded it was worthless, and its flaw was failing to define its basic term, which it actually did.

As for what was reported in the article, I've been giving it the benefit of the doubt,

Do you know what "benefit of the doubt" means?

but if I were to go with my gut, I'd say that what most people typically do when they "stretch" quads, hamstrings and calf muscles -- that is, a static stretch of a cold muscle -- would not be beneficial.

So your gut is pretty much consistent with the study you proclaimed to be worthless?

On the other hand, it's also very common to see people label warmup activities as "stretching", even though there is no lengthening of the muscles involved -- it is a misnomer, but it is what many people mean when they talk about pre-activity "stretching".

So . . . since "many people" misuse the word stretching, you were right to conclude that any study of stretching is worthless?

posted by Aardhart at 12:49 AM on February 23

I was taught not to do any form of exercise with cold muscles. You need to warm them up in order to prevent injuries and that included stretching (whatever that definition is). Jogging in place, walking at a quick pace for several minutest to warm the muscles. Once you do that, then stretching exercises can be done. If you have ever done an aerobics class or even yoga, you start with a warm-up and then do the exercise and then a cool-down.

posted by skippy at 07:13 AM on February 23

Yet, without reading the study (or even the article on the study apparently), you concluded it was worthless

For reasons she's stated-- and how can she read the study when no one can seem to find a copy of it? If you want to argue about it, argue the point, not the man. You haven't disproven (or even argued) any of the points she's made, only made snide remarks.

posted by yerfatma at 08:44 AM on February 23

There is a pretty big difference between saying that the study can't be evaluated based on the article and saying that the study is worthless based on the article. The former is a legitimate criticism; the latter is not.

Link to an abstract of the study, which defined very clearly for the participants what they meant by stretching.

posted by bperk at 08:58 AM on February 23

yerfatma, I've argued that LBB's critique's of the study were not valid. I think it has been established that the study did define the stretching it investigated, contrary to LBB's initial claims.

posted by Aardhart at 11:19 AM on February 23

M: I came here for a good argument.

A: No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.

M: An argument isn't just contradiction.

A: It can be.

M: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.

A: No it isn't.

M: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.

A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.

M: Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'

A: Yes it is!

M: No it isn't!

A: Yes it is!

M: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

(short pause)

A: No it isn't.

M: It is.

A: Not at all.

posted by yerfatma at 12:12 PM on February 23

Well, that being said, I'm pretty sure that my dad could beat up your dad.

'Nuff said

posted by tahoemoj at 12:29 PM on February 23

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.