Gretchen Reynolds

Myth #1: Stretching prevents injuries

In 2010, researchers at Florida State University asked ten male athletes to stretch for 16 minutes, then run for an hour on a treadmill. In a later session, the same crew sat quietly for 16 minutes,...

Myth #4: Guzzling water prevents cramps

Miller can’t tell you how to eliminate cramps altogether—there isn’t enough research—but stretching seems to be the best option to relieve acute cramping once it’s set in.

Myth #2: Running barefoot is better

Shoes alter how we move. As soon as you put toddlers in cute little loafers, their walking changes: they take longer steps and land with more force on their heels.

Myth #7: Ice baths speed recovery

If you like freezing your butt off, soak away, but the benefits are strictly psychological. Any physiological effects won’t last longer than the ice itself.

Up for Debate: Massage boosts recovery

Studies are needed that examine whether post-exercise massage might have other benefits. Most athletes swear they feel better after being kneaded, but so far there’s no evidence at the cellular level...

Up for Debate: Cortisone Shots Speed Healing

Trying to figure out exactly what’s going on inside overtaxed tendons and ligaments. In fact, scientists don’t fully understand the mechanics of injuries like tennis elbow and Achilles problems, so...

Body of Evidence

The research is in, and the conclusions are clear: Many of our old athletic habits are bad for us, and much of what we think we know about sports science is wrong. Here, a guide to rediscovering your...