Movement is essential for survival, if you don’t move through a joint’s full range of motion, you can develop a limited range of motion.
With Rio competitions in full swing, there are some aspects that need to be looked upon – stretching or rather overstretching is one of them.
In the words of Asker Jeukendrup, an exercise physiologist and sports nutritionist who has worked with Olympic champions and Tour de France cyclists. “Stretching is only a small part of a daily routine and the athletes are relatively inflexible” Pushing one’s flexibility far beyond the natural range of the muscles can lead to injury on ligaments and tendons that took the stress. It takes time to safely increase the flexibility of muscles; forcing a stretch is always a recipe for problems.
Human body is unique with diversity in structure of bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. Different factors are responsible for the same,
- Level of daily Movement
- Genetic that influence the type of collagen — the protein that makes up most of the musculoskeletal soft tissues in the body.
The Effect of a Stretch Before and After Physical Activity on Risks of Injury and Soreness
According to a study published by Sports medicine, 2377 adults participated in physical activity. Participants in the stretch group were asked to perform 30 static stretches of seven lower limb and trunk muscle groups before and after physical activity for 12 weeks. The participants in the control group were asked not to stretch. The results indicated that, stretching reduces the risk of injuries to muscles, ligaments and tendons (incidence rate of 0.66 injuries per person-year in the stretch group and 0.88 injuries per person-year in the control group; HR=0.75, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.96). The final results concluded that, stretching before and after physical activity does not appreciably reduce all-injury risk but probably reduces the risk of some injuries, and does reduce the risk of bothersome soreness.
Not many studies have reported benefits of stretching in preventing injury as compared to strength training. One such study is based on – The effectiveness of exercise interventions to prevent sports injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials which clearly indicated that Strength training reduced sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries could be almost halved.
Flexibility depends on the individual body and varies from person to person.
Note: Being overly flexible can be potentially risky for injury as well.