A while back, I saw a post on Cool Tools regarding a book: Stretching, by Bob Anderson. I managed to get a copy recently and it has been sitting on my coffee table holding down various stacks of paper for a few weeks. Last night I was finally inspired to crack the spine on it.

I quickly made it through the first 20 pages which thoroughly introduce you to the act of stretching, the health benefits thereof, and the safety precautions you should take (which include not pushing too hard, something I discovered wasn’t necessary to achieve remarkable results).

In a matter of half an hour I had made it through an introductory series of stretches that focused on the legs and were remarkable easy. This resulted in an immediate sense of well being – it was like I just stretched the stress out of my overly tense legs. (And I know how to stress.)

For years I worked back stage at theatrical shows and witnessed countless dancers and performers stretching prior to performing. Their abilities are astounding to say the least, but I realized last night that I had never been taught why or how to stretch properly or specifically, and therefore never saw stretching as something a ‘non-dancer/athlete/etc’ needed to do on a regular basis. Wrong.

Call this a failing of the public school system’s physical education programs (a farce being dealt to a generation taking little interest to in the first place), or a lack of interest on my part – the bottom line was that I had no idea of the need or methods to properly stretch.

Perfect example: you always see people leaning over an outstretched leg to stretch some portion of the leg (which I learned was the hamstring), but never had it been clearly stated in the detail that this book does:

  • whether to lock the knee or not
  • the exact placement of the sole of the bent leg
  • look at a point in front of you and focus as to not improperly bend the back
  • make sure the foot of the straight leg is upright and relaxed

All in clear, concise language with wonderful illustrations. Google has a preview available here.

The 30th anniversary edition features a new section for the desk warrior of today with ‘computer stretches’ that are appropriate for the office environment. Perhaps a good stretch could do as much or more than that ’5 Hour Energy’ the other people are popping…

I’ve just scratched the surface of the book, and can’t wait to delve deeper – here’s hoping you will to. The full 239 page¬†soft cover¬†30th anniversary edition is available from Amazon for $13.57 (at writing). And no I’m not being payed to say any of this, just sharing some well being ;)


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