John Sheehan, M.D. Pediatric Orthopaedics
Stretching is very important to help you keep your muscles and your joints healthy.
It helps you regain your flexibility that you may have lost because of whatever activity you were doing. It will also help your recovery. Generally you will build up lactic acid in your body and the stretching helps you clear that lactic acid, helps reduce muscle soreness.
I think you just need to stretch from 5 to 10 minutes. A little bit is much better than doing none at all.
If you don’t stretch you have a higher risk of injuring yourself.
When is the best time to stretch?
Stretching is more important after exercise. It can be quite beneficial to do as a warm-up before but I really think stretching is much more effective with warm muscles and warm ligaments.
The hard thing about stretching after an activity is that people are so busy that they want to get on to the next thing. So you really have to sit down for that, say 5 minutes after your activity, and just do a cool down stretch. It’s one of those things you really have to force yourself at first and then after you develop the pattern it becomes just something you do naturally.