Please Note: While this article is very helpful in terms of outlining the benefits and types of stretching, it is important to remember that one should work with a physical therapist or trainer to develop the best individualized stretching program for their own needs.
Although the role of stretching in injury prevention is somewhat controversial, there is evidence that stretching can help reduce risk of muscular injury during exercise. This is especially true when stretching is combined with a proper warm-up.
There is evidence that supports stretching both prior to an activity and after as part of a cool-down routine. The hamstrings, calves, chest, and low back are areas that everyone can benefit from stretching on a daily basis. As we age, stretching becomes even more important in maintaining fluid movement and range of motion because our muscles begin to lose some of their natural flexibility.
Stretches can be static (no motion), dynamic (involve motion), or a combination of the two. What is best for you depends on your current condition and what you are trying to achieve.
There is no “one” good way to stretch. The technique for stretching varies greatly depending on the type of stretch you perform. The number of repetitions, length of holding a stretch, resistance and frequency all need to be tailored to the specific selection of exercises you are doing.