Stretching

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I haven’t encountered any source on this subject as broad, accessible, and easily applied as Bob Anderson’s classic Stretching, a patient and friendly stand-in for my eight-grade P.E. teacher.

The 30th anniversary edition of this guidebook came out recently, with even more stretches and illustrations, and it’s easily the most comprehensive work on the subject. I love the activity-specific sections: cyclists, for instance, are shown stretches that not only address the muscle groups made tight and tense by our specific sport, but the stretches geared toward bike riders even include a bicycle to be utilized as a support. Activities from weightlifting to computer using get their own sections, too.

Organizationally, Stretching shines. Tight neck? Rigid shoulders? Thumb through to your prescribed routine and get to work. With minimal flexibility but a willingness to make an effort, almost anyone can use this book to become more limber, healthier.

-- Elon Schoenholz  

Stretching: 30th Anniversary Revised Edition
By Bob Anderson, illustrations by Jean Anderson
2010, 240 pages
$12

Available from Amazon

Sample Excerpts:

Stretching feels good when done correctly. You do not have to push the limits or attempt to go further each day. It should not be a personal contest to see how far you can stretch. Stretching should be tailored to your particular muscular structure, flexibility, and varying tension levels. The key is regularity and relaxation. The object is to reduce muscular tension, thereby promoting freer movement—not to concentrate on attaining extreme flexibility, which often leads to overstretching and injury.

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Who Should Stretch?
Everyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. You do not need to be in top physical condition or have specific athletic skills. Whether you sit at a desk all day, dig ditches, do housework, stand at an assembly line, drive a truck or exercise regularly, the same techniques of stretching apply….if you are healthy, without any specific physical problems, you can learn how to stretch safely and enjoyably.

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Why Stretch?
- Reduce muscle tension and make the body feel more relaxed
- Help coordination by allowing for freer and easier movement
- Make strenuous activities like running, skiing, tennis, swimming, and cycling easier because it prepares you for activity; it’s a way of signaling the muscles that they are about to be used.

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