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  • More than 10 million sports related injuries occur in the world every year. To avoid this,

  • athletes and coaches alike are using a variety of pre-competition techniques to decrease

  • injuries and increase performance. But, what does science tell us about stretching and

  • "warming-up"?

  • Many studies have looked at how stretching can affect athletic performance, and it turns

  • depends on the activity! Sports such as figure skating and snowboarding, which

  • require a wide range of motions to impress the judges, certainly benefit from an athlete's

  • flexibility. But for power sports like speed skating and bobsledding, too much stretching

  • may actually cause a temporary decrease in muscle strength. The overstretched muscle

  • becomes less responsive and can stay weakened for up to 30 minutes.

  • Although athletic competitions can be strenuous, there is little evidence to suggest that stretching

  • before or after a competition decreases muscle soreness. Some studies have even noted that

  • extreme flexibility can lead to an increase in the range of stretching without pain. And

  • if you can't feel pain, the body doesn't know when to stop pushing; as a result, injuries

  • can occur. Another large study of athletes found that the least and most flexible participants

  • were 2.5 times more likely to incur an injury. So when it comes to flexibility in competitive

  • sports, it's most beneficial to be moderately flexible.

  • A well designed 'warm up' is also extremely beneficial. The term itself comes from the

  • positive effects of raising the temperature of your body before a competition. Slowly

  • increasing physical intensity prior to a sport increases muscle temperature, ultimately allowing

  • your muscles to contract more forcefully. More forceful contractions, equals more strength

  • and power. Furthermore, slowly adding movement to your muscles opens up the blood vessels,

  • allowing blood to flow more easily throughout the body, and decreases the strain on your

  • heart. Finally, as your blood temperature increases, your blood cells actually hold

  • less oxygen. This loose oxygen is then free to be used by your muscles, increasing overall

  • endurance.

  • Science says, it's important not to over "stretch" it when it comes to flexibility, but physically

  • "warming up" your body before each specific sport might help you burn

  • the competition.

  • Don't forget: we have a new video out every day during the Olympics.

  • Can't wait? Our amazing partners at the CBC already have five of the videos up now for you to binge on.

  • Just head to to watch them before anyone else. Link in the description.

  • But we also want to know your questions for this special series. Use the hashtag ScienceSays and let us know your burning Olympic questions.

  • And subscribe for more awesome science videos!

More than 10 million sports related injuries occur in the world every year. To avoid this,

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