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“How long should I stretch?”

Are you crazy? Why do you want to stretch?  What, do you want to feel better or improve your athletic performance?
Well, In that case, yes, by all means, you should definitely stretch.
For traditional static stretching (stretching a muscle to a comfortable end range of motion and holding it), the duration of the stretch is going to depend on how tight you are.  Some people will feel a release after 30 seconds, while others might need closer to 4 or 5 MINUTES.  Oh, and DO NOT stretch into pain; see, some bonehead (probably a gym teacher whose bike shorts were too tight for his own good), started this myth that stretching has to hurt, and it somehow spread and became gospel truth.  Well, that’s simply not true.  In fact, in can be counter productive (and dangerous).  Stretch into mild discomfort; you shouldn’t have to hold your breath, grit your teeth, or start to see images of lost loved ones tell you to “walk toward the light.”  Try to breathe slowly and comfortably, and imagine with every exhale you are releasing tension.
If you are interested in different ways to improve your mobility, look for our next blog post coming out in about 2 weeks about Mobility and Stability!