Serious runners stretch. Stupid runners don't. Stretching reduces recovery time, prevents injury, and allows for other interesting activities. You should always stretch immediately after a run. If you're trying to improve flexibility, you should also stretch a mile (1.5 kilometers) into the run.
The limited epidemiological evidence more clearly addresses the question of injury prevention than its effects on performance. The three RCT in this study that address stretching and injuries fail to demonstrate a protective effect of supervised stretching (3,72,73). The three cohort studies (7,16,32) that find that stretching might prevent injury are small and are of lower methodological quality than the two recent RCT (72,73). Even pooling data from these studies demonstrated no significant protective effect. At the same time, the evidence is not of sufficient strength, quality, and generalizability to recommend altering or eliminating preexercise stretching.
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