Not many days go by where osteopaths aren't asked about stretching. The how to, what's effective when to, how long for, when not to, how many repetitions questions are important questions. The answers are also significantly important. Health is individualistic and collective. We use the collective research and clinical experience to align the advice to the individual.
Here is a summary of some of what guides our decision making process when asked about stretching:
A Summary of the Evidence from the Article:
There little evidence that stretching decreases the risk of injury overall
There is some evidence that static stretching may reduce musculotendinous injuries.
There is good evidence that a warm up can reduce your risk of injury.
Short term gains can be achieved with static stretches held for 15-30 seconds (repeat 4-5 times).
Long-term gains can be achieved up to 6-7 weeks by holding stretches for 30 seconds (repeat 4-5 times)
Resistance Stretching can be more affective than static stretching
Stretching can reduce pain but not DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).
Stretching can help you recover from some injuries and for rehabilitation.
Static stretching may have a negative impact on power and performance in explosive exercises and explosive sports.
Dynamic stretching may improve performance in explosive exercise and explosive sports.
Long term stretching can improve performance and strength over time.
Older adults can benefit from different types of stretching.
Everyone responds slightly differently to stretching.
There is a consensus that there is insufficient conclusive evidence on stretching and more research is required