Interesting question, shah. It is popularly though that stretching before excercising, sombined with a warm up, helps prevent injury. However, the medical community has not reached a consensus or clear agreement on this claim. There are several clinical trials that do not support the claim that stretching prior to excercise helps prevent injury. Some researchers believe that this inconsistency may be due to the different demands of different physical activities. Athletics such as football, soccer, basketball etc that require quite a bit of bouncing and jumping can easily put too much strain on unstretched tendons, which can lead to injury. However, running, swimming, cycling are examples of exercise that do not require compliant tendons, and so would not benefit from such stretching prior to starting. Hope this helps some.
I’ve always been instructed by coaches and trainers to stretch AFTER a workout. This prevents lactic acid buildup- the cause of cramps and muscle soreness. Having healthy muscles that move properly and are not stiff is the best way to avoid injuries.
In my personal experience, stretching after a workout is a bit more important in preventing injuries. That being said, it is important to work your body up slowly when beginning a workout to prevent injury. Stretching can certainly help with this. Stretching is also a great way to extend your workout, as it lengthens and strengthens your muscles after you’re used them rigorously.
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