Stretching can reduce the risk of injury during workouts in the new year according to physical therapy experts

by Liz Bonis & Megan Burgasser, WKRC || Click HERE to read the full article.


CINCINNATI (WKRC) – For those who want to shape up in the new year, you might want to spend some time stretching. It helps reduce injury risk.


Most know that to improve fitness, people need greater aerobic capacity and better strength. But, OrthoCincy physical therapists said leaving out the third step, which is a bit of a stretch, means missing a critical step.


Valerie Forsyth knows now that stretching helped her return to quick motions after a major injury.


“I tore my ACL and meniscus last March,” said Forsyth.


Doing static stretches can set up a person for success.


“When I first did it, I couldn’t straighten or bend my leg all the way. So, just getting all of that back after the surgery is done,” Forsyth said.


OrthoCincy physical therapist Jordan Barker said people need to move their muscles slowly to where it needs to go so that the odds of injuring it are lower, especially when they use it in everyday life.


“Well obviously, you’re going to improve range of motion. So, if you’re restricted, that stretching is gonna help improve just your functional capacity in order to reach, to rotate, reach behind your back,” said Barker.


If someone goes right to strength and balance moves without stretching and warming up a muscle, tightness won’t diminish, and it may even lead to pain.


“A joint in the shortened position is going to lead to muscles in a shortened position, or feeling like they are just stiff or tight there,” Barker said.


Giving the muscles a gentle pull can ease the tension in the desired direction.


The goal isn’t only to be fit, it’s to support the body for what it needs to do each day.


Forsyth said the progress she’s made started with stretching.


“I’m feeling good. [I’m] trying to get back into my everyday life with everything and kind of move forward,” said Forsyth.


As for the length of stretching, it depends on a person’s goals. But, even just 10 minutes a day can make a difference in functional outcomes. For more information, click here.