Regular stretching increases flexibility and flexible muscles can improve your daily performance. Tasks such as lifting packages, bending to tie your shoes or hurrying to catch a bus become easier and less tiring. Stretching improves range of motion of your joints.
Stretching increases range of motion; keeps you in better balance, improves circulation; and promotes better posture. Frequent stretching keeps your muscles from getting tight, allowing you to maintain proper posture and minimize aches and pains. Stretching can relieve stress. Stretching relaxes the tense muscles that often accompany stress. Stretching may help prevent injury.
In the literature described by Yessis, there are many beneficial stretches that can improve Range of Motion (ROM) in athletes, especially runners. In his experience as President of Sports Training Inc., and retired professor at CSU Fullerton, he has helped many runners improve their performance. In his review, he cites benefits of stretching: may improve ROM reduce risk of injury prevent post-exercise muscle soreness slow delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) To gain these benefits, Yessis describes different forms of stretching along with their individual benefits. He suggests that one stretching exercise may not be enough to prevent all types of injury. Therefore, multiple stretching exercises should be used to gain the full effects of stretching. See: Yessis, Michael . "Runners Need Active Stretching." AMAA Journal Winter 18.2(2006): 8-18.
For some recommended stretching exercises see: Flexibility Exercises (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
* *Flexibility Exercises (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
** Stretching: Focus on Flexibility (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)