One of the most important, if no the most important part of your workout session is to stretch.
A series of well performed stretches before you start your workout session will warm up your muscles leaving them ready to be exercised.
It is also very important to stretch when you finish your workout session, by doing so you will eliminate the Latic Acid. Latic acid is produced as a result of any intense physical activity such as weight lifting, running, swimming. When your muscles are working hard it produces high levels of lactate.
During a run or an intense cardio workout session you body produces so much lactate that it can’t eliminate. When lactate levels get to high a chemical reaction occurs, creating latic acid. This chemical reaction is what causes the pain in your muscles.
Physical activities like weight lifting, running, swimming or any other physical activity will shorten muscle fibres reducing flexibility. All these activities mentioned above make your muscle harder and strong but they reduce flexibility, that is when stretching comes into play.
Stretches should be performed first thing in the morning when you wake up, when you finish work and off course before and after any physical activity.
If done correctly, ideally with the help of an instructor, stretching exercises can be relaxing and fun to do. But always remember to respect your limits over stretching can cause serious muscles and nerves injuries.
Frequency and relaxation are the most important factors to perform a good stretching session, everything should be done slowly and patiently without swinging. Swinging harden the muscle you are trying to stretch.
Ideally you should find a comfortable position, and hold for a minimum of 10 seconds, the more you can hold on in the same position the better and maintain a slow and controlled respiration.
Other benefits of stretching include improvement of blood circulation, better coordenation and relaxation.