A goal of many people when starting to work out is to increase flexibility. One of the reasons why you should try and increase flexibility is because this will help to provide you with a greater range of motion that you can use during your workouts.
For example, if you are performing a stiff-legged deadlift but can barely touch your feet, you are going to have a hard time utilizing the full range of motion that this exercise calls for. Because of this you may not see the same results as you would if you could go that extra distance.
Another great benefit that comes when you increase flexibility is a reduced chance of injuries. One of the most common reasons why we become injured is because our body is twisted into an awkward position that it is not used to. The more limber you are the less chance that you are going to be put into a usual position that your body is not capable of.
In order to accomplish this goal you are going to have to work at it on a daily basis. It is not like weight training where you must take a day off in between sessions, in fact, the more often you can do it the better results you will see. Perform stretching exercises anytime you can, such as while watching TV, talking on the phone or after a workout.
Remember that you must push yourself hard enough to feel a good stretch however you should never push so hard that you feel a very sharp and intense pain. That will likely cause a muscle pull and is something that you want to avoid.
Hold each stretch for a period of 30 to 60 seconds and then relax for a minute or two and repeat again. Don't expect to become incredibly limber in a short period of time as this does take work. If you are consistent with your stretches though and do them on a daily basis you will see an increase in range of motion within a few months time.