Stretching or warming up before a run is thought to be mandatory to avoid injuries. A recent US study conducted on 2700 runners shows that while it is good to stretch, it may not actually avoid injuries.
Factors such as weight of the individual and history of injuries were important risk factors for injury.
As part of the study, 2700 runners were divided into two groups. One group engaged in stretching exercises for 5 minutes involving the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Other group did not engage in stretching exercises before a run. The groups were observed for 3 months.
The study revealed that those with a higher body mass index (BMI) and who had suffered recent injures were at high risk of injury due to running; older runners as well as those who ran a good distance during the week were also prone to injuries.
The risk of injury was 40% for stretchers who stopped stretching and 22 percent risk of injury for non-stretchers who began stretching.
Director of sports medicine at Montgomery Orthopaedics in Kensington and lead author of the study said, "Over a period of three months, it did not make any difference if you stretched or didn't stretch before a run."