During any fitness program you should warm up for 5-10 minutes at a lower intensity and stretch the muscles that you will be using. Your exercise activity should last about 20 minutes at an intensity of 50-85 percent of your maximum heart rate, followed with another 5-10 minutes of lower intensity training and stretching. Since your muscles have warmed up it should be easier to stretch at this point. Stretching and flexibility prevents injury, increases your range of motion, promotes relaxation, improves performance and your body posture, and reduces stress.
Most professionals agree that static stretching is the best way to improve flexibility. This is accomplished by a slow, gradual and controlled elongation of the muscles through the range of motion. When the muscle reaches the point just before it becomes uncomfortable the muscle should be held for 15-30 seconds. Each muscle should be stretched in each compartment. Stretching should be done on a regular basis, some suggest daily. A warm up period before stretching allows for easier stretching as well. This can be accomplished by a short walk or biking.
Specific stretches for the foot and ankle muscles will be added to this website soon.