New research from an online sports equipment retailer suggests that a quarter (26%) of exercise enthusiasts 'never stretch' either after or before a workout and only one in six (16%) do a proper stretching routine before and after exercising 'every time'.
A large proportion of people that regularly exercise fail to routinely warm up or warm down, according to a new survey by an online sports equipment retailer; with the main excuse for 65% being that they prefer to spend the time 'working out instead'.
The study, conducted by Sweatband.com, polled 1,891 men and women from around the UK as part of ongoing research into exercise habits. All respondents classed themselves as 'regular exercisers.'
The study initially asked, 'How often do you work out?' which revealed 3 times a week to be the average amount across all respondents. When asked about the length of time for the average workout, '45.3 minutes' emerged as the average answer, with all taken into account.
Respondents were then questioned about their pre and post- workout routines as the study asked, 'Do you undertake stretching as part of your workout?' requiring them to select from a list of potential answers, which revealed the following responses:
Every time - before and after - 16%
Always before, never after - 12%
Always after, never before - 15%
Occasionally before - 14%
Occasionally after - 17%
Never - 26%
The study then looked at the reasons behind this asking, 'Why don't you stretch?' to all those who claimed that they 'never' did, enabling them to select multiple reasons. The majority, 65%, simply said that they 'preferred to spend the time working out'. Just over a quarter, 27%, explained that they 'didn't believe it was necessary', whilst a further 16% said that they 'didn't really know how' so didn't bother.
Those respondents that failed to stretch were also asked whether or not they felt that a lack of stretching had ever impacted their physical wellbeing. 46% claimed 'no', however 36% confessed to post-workout 'stiffness' on occasion which they felt could've been alleviated by stretching. 18% also admitted that that they believed a lack of stretching had indeed led to serious injuries in the past, such as pulled muscles.
Of those that did profess to stretching, the study asked them what they felt the benefits were, which revealed the following top five. Respondents were allowed to select more than one answer if more than one applied.
According to respondents, the top 5 benefits to stretching are as follows:
Decreased risk of injury - 44%
Increased flexibility - 39%
Improved blood circulation - 36%
Better balance and coordination - 35%
Reduced tension in the muscles - 32%
Maz Darvish, CEO of Sweatband.com, made the following comment:
"Stretching is often regarded as an essential part of an exercise routine, but a lot of people simply fail to do so. There is debate as to whether or not stretching actually prevents injury, with arguments both for and against it."
"However, regardless as to whether or not this is the case with injury, it certainly can help in other ways. Stretching muscles aids flexibility and suppleness. It can also help to improve posture and reduce muscle tension if performed correctly. If you spend all day sat at your desk with a daily driving commute thrown in, then stiffness can be a problem, which is helped by stretching. We're firm advocates in the Sweatband.com office!"