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The World in Medicine
October 9, 2002

To Stretch or Not to Stretch?

JAMA. 2002;288(14):1708. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1708

Conventional wisdom has long held that stretching before exercising helps prevent muscle soreness and reduces the risk of injury, although studies have drawn conflicting conclusions. Now, a systematic review by Australian researchers suggests that the practice offers little protection (BMJ. 2002;325:468-470).

Researchers at the University of Sydney reviewed five studies, involving 77 healthy young adults, on the effect of stretching on muscle soreness. They found that stretching reduces soreness by less than 2 mm on a 100-mm scale, an effect that most athletes would consider to be too small to justify the effort, the investigators said.

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