Stretching and flexibilityBy Mayo Clinic staff
Stretching is a powerful part of any exercise program. Most aerobic and strength training programs inherently cause your muscles to contract and flex. Stretching after you exercise promotes equal balance. Stretching also increases flexibility, improves range of motion of your joints and boosts circulation. Stretching can even promote better posture and relieve stress.
As a general rule, stretch whenever you exercise. If you don't exercise regularly, you might want to stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. When you're stretching, keep it gentle. Breathe freely as you hold each stretch. Try not to hold your breath. Don't bounce or hold a painful stretch. Expect to feel tension while you're stretching. If you feel pain, you've gone too far.