Home' D Fine Redland Lifestyle Magazine : December 2009 Contents 12 d'fine magazine December 8, 2009
POPULAR wisdom says stretching works
wonders for your body but science says
nothing of the sort.
There's no good evidence that stretching
after exercise reduces soreness or that
stretching beforehand reduces injury, says
physiotherapist and epidemiologist Dr Rob
Herbert from the George Institute for
International Health, Sydney.
As for the idea that stretching makes you
more flexible, studies have shown that, in the
short term at least, stretching doesn't make
muscles and ligaments any less stiff.
"What it seems to do is make it easier to
tolerate a longer harder stretch," Herbert says.
"A few weeks of regular stretching might
make you feel more confident about stretching
a bit further."
So what goes on under the skin that allows
seasoned yoga practitioners to bend and flex so
He says commonsense suggests that
frequent use of muscles over the long term
keeps you flexible, although the mechanism for
that is still a mystery - at least as far as science is
One emerging theory, although it's still
controversial, is that the secret of flexibility may
lie in the body's connective tissue -- the tendons
and ligaments, as well as the thin layers of tissue,
known as fascia, that encase each individual
muscle and wrap groups of muscle fibre
Keeping the fascia supple with stretching, the
theory goes, prevents it from tightening and
restricting your movements.
Let's go back to pre- and post-exercise
stretching for a minute.
Many exercise scientists believe that pre-
exercise stretching does nothing to reduce
injury but most agree that warming up before
an exercise is a good move.
Muscles that are warm rather than cold are
less likely to be injured.
Yet warming up doesn't involve doing any
kind of special stretching. Instead, it's more like a
dress rehearsal for the movements you're going
If you're planning to run, then do some
walking; if you're playing tennis or golf, then
gently simulate some of the movements you're
likely to use.
What about stretching as a way to prevent the
muscle pain that can strike in the days after
doing unaccustomed exercise?
"The theory that developed in the 1960s was
that a good stretch would help by reducing the
build-up of a pain-triggering substance in
muscle called lactic acid," Herbert says.
"But this idea has since been debunked."
He says the soreness is caused not by lactic
acid but by minor tearing of the muscles
(although it is harmless).
In a push to get more answers about how
beneficial -- or not -- stretching really is, the
George Institute and the University of Sydney
conducted an international study that recruited
US, Norwegian and Australian volunteers who
exercised at least once a week.
One of the main findings was that stretching
does not reduce the overall risk of injury.
It did, however, slightly reduce the risk of
specific kinds of injury (to muscles, ligaments
The other main finding was that stretching
slightly reduces the risk of experiencing
For more deatils of the study go to the link at
A practice that
By Paula Goodyer
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70 Bryants Rd, Loganholme 4129
Capalaba 76 Old Cleveland Rd, Capalaba 4157
www.smilestyle.biz 3806 2081 firstname.lastname@example.org
DEF1439974 - 15/9/09
REDLAND CITY medical directory
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Ph: 3824 8741, Fax: 3820 2088
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76 Old Cleveland Rd, Capalaba
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Specialising in clear and invisible braces
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10A/120, Birkdale Road, Birkdale
Ph: 3822 8879, Fax: 3822 5604
Spinal specialists, physiotherapy,
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189 Old Cleveland Rd, Capalaba
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For all infertility treatments and genetic
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