What is Stretching?

Stretching is a maneuver designed to increase mobility of soft tissues and subsequently
improve range of motion by elongating structures that have become adaptively shortened.

Why should you stretch?

Immobility, sedentary lifestyle, and postural malalignment can cause soft tissues to adaptively
shorten and become restricted which can also impair muscle performance and decrease
mobility.  Stretching elongates these shortened structures, increasing flexibility, preventing
injury, and decreasing muscle stiffness.

Stretches should not be done: 1) after a recent fracture when bone union is not complete, 2)
if there is acute inflammation or infectious process (heat and swelling), 3) if stretching causes
pain, 4) when hypermobility exists (more than normal range of motion), 5) when shortened soft
tissue is providing joint stability in lieu of normal structural stability.
1.  Kisner, Carolyn, and Lynn Allen Colby.
Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques.
Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company, 2002.