Stretching is an important part of physical fitness and ideally should be included daily to protect mobility. Stretching daily can help combat muscle tension that is often caused by a sedentary lifestyle or desk job, and poor posture.
There are two types of stretching (static and dynamic) and people often find themselves confused between what they are, and when to perform them.
Static stretches are held for an extended period of time (usually between 30-60 seconds) and involve stretching a muscle to the point of slight discomfort. Despite what you might have been told, these stretches are not ideal before exercise. This is because static stretching can impair explosive and strength-based performance when done prior to exercise.
However, static stretches maintain a place following a workout and in injury rehabilitation. Static stretching helps to improve blood flow to the muscles as well as improve range of motion and flexibility.