Stretching is a key component in preventing injury and increasing flexibility and range of motion. While working out I recommend for client to perform PNF stretches, otherwise known as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. PNF stretching often requires a partner but you can perform these stretches using a wall, a stretch band, or even gravity. This method of stretching requires you to relax for about 10 seconds then contract the muscle of focus for 3-5 seconds. Two of my favorites in the lying hamstring stretch with a stretching band and the kneeling hip flexor stretch.
In addition to PNF stretching, incorporating static stretches as part of your warm-up has been shown to improve range of motion and can double active recovery time and allows the client to assess areas of tension and stiffness. Spending about 15-30 seconds performing 2-4 repetitions on each side is all you need post workout. Studies have shown that static stretching can be detrimental before workout such as running or jumping. Some of my favorite static stretches to perform are the standing scalene/neck stretch, standing quadricep stretch, and standing lateral stretch. It is important to pay attention to your body alignment and to have controlled breathing while performing these stretches.
If you decide to workout sore active stretching is important to prevent injury and improve mobility and assess for tightness and stiffness. Some key guidelines are practicing movement patterns like performing a bench press with no weight, or squatting with only body weight. Activating your parasympathetic nervous system by deep exhales helps eliminate tightness in the soft tissue. These movements should be fluid and constant and can include pauses or holds.
It is important to talk with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before adding or manipulating your workout routine as needs may vary from person to person. If soreness is associated with fever, vomiting, or last more than 3-4 days I would recommend seeking medical attention.