Thursday, March 13, 2008

Flexible or no, I still can't reach my toes

I've always been a bit, er, stiff when it comes to the elasticity of my muscles. That's just how I roll.

Yes, I've tried (and enjoyed) yoga, but I just can't seem to get into the whole post-workout stretch thing more than a cursory elongation of my calves, quads and hip flexors as I try to catch my breath again.

So, it was with more than a tinge of relief I read today's fitness article To Stretch or Not to Stretch? The Answer is Elastic where it says, "after dozens of studies and years of debate, no one really knows whether stretching helps, harms, or does anything in particular for performance or injury rates."

Even better:
For the bottom line on stretching, there is an official government review by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the March 2004 issue of the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Its conclusion, that the research to date is inadequate to answer most stretching questions, still holds.
Moreover, the article then goes on to cite examples where the less flexible runners are actually the more efficient runners (although there's no causality link, yet).

So, while I still can't touch my toes with my knees straight, at least I won't have the guilt of inflexibility bearing down on my shoulders.

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