Prevention of running injuries by warm-up, cool-down, and stretching exercises

W van Mechelen, H Hlobil, H C Kemper, W J Voorn, H R de Jongh

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a health education intervention on running injuries. The intervention consisted of information on, and the subsequent performance of, standardized warm-up, cool-down, and stretching exercises. Four hundred twenty-one male recreational runners were matched for age, weekly running distance, and general knowledge of preventing sports injuries. They were randomly split into an intervention and a control group: 167 control and 159 intervention subjects participated throughout the study. During the 16-week study, both groups kept a daily diary on their running distance and time, and reported all injuries. In addition, the intervention group was asked to note compliance with the standardized program. At the end of the study period, knowledge and attitude were again measured. There were 23 injuries in the control group and 26 in the intervention group. Injury incidence for control and intervention subjects was 4.9 and 5.5 running injuries per 1000 hours, respectively. The intervention was not effective in reducing the number of running injuries; it proved significantly effective (P < 0.05) in improving specific knowledge of warm-up and cool-down techniques in the intervention group. This positive change can perhaps be regarded as a first step on the way to a change of behavior, which may eventually lead to a reduction of running injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-9
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal Sports Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1993


  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries/classification
  • Exercise/physiology
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Leg Injuries/classification
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Running/classification

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