Is Stretching Now Underrated?

For many, stretching is the fitness equivalent of awkward small talk. It’s the opening act, the thing you tolerate because you know it will be over soon. Others have challenged the practice, suggesting that stretching isn’t necessary at all. Some research has found that a preworkout stretch may even be disadvantageous, weakening muscles and hindering performance. To put it plainly, no one seems terribly enthusiastic about touching their toes. 

That’s why a 2020 study on exercise and mortality was such a head-scratcher. The study found that stretching was uniquely associated with a lower risk for all-cause mortality among American adults. That’s after controlling for participation in other types of exercise. The finding seemed like a fluke, until a 2023 study found essentially the same thing. 

Among Korean adults, those who did flexibility exercise at least five times a week had a 20% lower risk of dying during the follow-up period than those who didn’t stretch at all. That was slightly better than the risk reduction associated with high volumes of aerobic exercise and resistance training. 

Excerpted from Medscape

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