Stretching has long played an important role in the world of sport and fitness, with many athletes stretching religiously before and after exercise in hopes of preventing injuries.
Lately, this practice has been called into question with many people wondering if stretching really makes a difference to athletic performance. The answer, like most things, is not black and white, as we explore a little in this article.
Some research has suggested that static stretching before an activity can actually reduce power, strength and performance. However, these reductions were shown to be minimal and not noticed at all if the stretches were held for less than 45 seconds. It has also been found that stretching does improve flexibility but only for a short period of time. A few minutes after stretching, your joints move further, and with less resistance, so you may have improved flexibility immediately after stretching.