THURSDAY, Oct. 18, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Millions of gym buffs do it regularly, but stretching before or after exercise will not prevent muscle soreness, a new study contends.
Australian researchers reviewed findings from 10 studies, each involving from 10 to 30 people.
Nine of the studies in this review were conducted in laboratory settings, and the time spent stretching by participants varied from 40 seconds to 10 minutes. Based on a 100-point scale to assess soreness, the review authors concluded that stretching before or after exercise offered little benefit, reducing soreness by less than one point on the 100-point scale.
"The data were remarkably consistent," lead researcher Robert Herbert, of the School of Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney in Australia, said in a prepared statement. "The available evidence suggests that stretching before or after exercise does not prevent muscle soreness in young healthy adults."
However, he and his colleagues said more research is needed to determine whether stretching benefits people with reduced flexibility.
The study was published in The Cochrane Library Newsletter.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about exercise.