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Is a Warm Up for Teens Necessary?

The Truth About Stretching and Warm Ups

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Updated May 06, 2009

Parents and coaches often encourage warm ups and stretching for teens before exercise. Although more research is needed, studies suggests that warming up decreases the risk of overall injury and that stretching decreases the risk of musculoskeletal injury (but not overall injury).

Stretching is when the muscle is lengthened. Think about bending forward and touching your toes – that is a lower back stretch. A warm up brings blood flow to the muscles, increasing their temperature and preparing them for activity. Jogging before running is a warm up.

In short, there is a need for more research in this area, but it looks like both stretching and warming up have benefits – so tell your teen to get those muscles warm and loose before getting active!

Sources:

Fradkin, AJ, Gabbe, BJ, and Cameron, PA. Does warming up prevent injury in sport? The evidence from randomised controlled trials? Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 9(3): 214-220, 2006.

Shrier, I, MD, PhD. Stretching Before Exercise Does Not Reduce the Risk of Local Muscle Injury: A Critical Review of the Clinical and Basic Science Literature. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, 9:221-227, 1999.

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