Researchers believe they have debunked a myth about the perceived importance of stretching before jogging. Hundreds of millions of joggers around the world perform static stretching exercises before going for a jog. It is a daily ritual that can be seen in parks and streets everywhere. However, researchers from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia say there is no evidence to show that stretching improves running performance or decreases the risk of injuries. Their research is published in the 'British Journal of Sports Medicine'. They say that while there is evidence that stretching can help keep ankle, knee and hip joints flexible, it won't aid performance or keep injuries at bay.
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Lead researcher James Alexander conducted the research after discussions with runners about stretching. Mr Alexander is an avid jogger and often wondered what the benefits of stretching were. He told the Reuters news agency that: "Runners have certain beliefs around running injury risks, injury prevention and performance that are in contrast to current research evidence." He added: "These beliefs drive runners to continue to pursue ineffective or non-optimal strategies within their running training, whether through static stretching for injury prevention or low-load strength training for performance." He recommended a 5-10-minute session of walking or light jogging as the best warm-up.