Before stretching, it’s important to warm up your muscles and joints.
Stretching cold, tight muscles can lead to injury, therefore perform some gentle rotation exercises first. You can also jog on the spot or perform jumps, to raise your core temperature and increase your circulation before your stretch. For a stretch exercise to improve your flexibility, it needs to target the specific joint and provide enough stretch to the muscles and ligaments over time to allow an adaption to a new, increased range of motion.
Improving your flexibility is done mainly by performing stretching exercises. The most common forms of stretching exercises are static, which are sustained stretching exercises that are slow and controlled. They involve a gentle stretch of the muscle that is held in a lengthened position for say 30 seconds and then repeated several times. Another type of stretching exercise is called dynamic, which involves gradual increases in your range of motion and speed of movement. Examples of dynamic stretching are slow, controlled leg swings, arm swings or torso twists. Dynamic stretching exercises improves flexibility which is required in most sports and exercise training.
Stretching for sport and exercise improves your flexibility, which increases the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion i.e. how far it can bend, twist and reach. Stretching should be a vital part of everyone’s fitness plans. It makes you supple, flexible and can even improve your performance, making you faster, stronger and more agile. Stretching also improves blood flow to the tissues, as well as helping to prevent injury.