Hey guys Jeff here!
Just thought I would do a quick bit on how to make sure you are stretching properly before and after you exercise.
The biggest thing is to get the length of your stretches right! That changes for pre-exercise and post-exercise stretching. Before, you should hold your stretches for only about 1 second per stretch. Just limber up and let your muscles and joints loosen up.
After you run, you should hold your stretches for around 3 to 5 seconds each. The better job you do of stretching afterwards the less sore you will be.
In any case, make sure you stretch ALL your muscles. Even muscles not directly involved in the exercise can end up injured if you ignore them. However, the muscles that are worked most rigorously or most directly involved should always be stretched most thoroughly. The next most important thing is to stretch the surrounding muscles. Not only are they more vulnerable to injury, stretching them will give you greater range of motion. For example, if you are running you should stretch your legs, ankles, and feet very thoroughly. Then, next focus on your hips and torso.
There are a few things you can also avoid doing as part of good stretching. While it is generally recommended to hold post-workout stretches for 3 to 5 seconds, never hold a stretch longer than 15 seconds in any case.
Don’t ever stretch right after you wake up, this especially applies if you have a back injury or any history of back problems. Spinal fluid builds up overnight, and makes stretches more likely to injure than prevent injury. Good practice says waiting an hour should be more than sufficient.
Anyways that’s the basics and most important things. It should let you know everything you need to know! Any questions let me know in the comments.