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.
Stephenson J. To Stretch or Not to Stretch?. JAMA. 2002;288(14):1708. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1708