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September 07, 1998|NICOLE VARGAS

What: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Stretching

Publisher: Alpha Books (316 pages)

Price: $18.95

So maybe the title is a little demeaning, but how much does the average person really know about stretching?

Well, the straight-forward, no-nonsense approach of The Complete Idiot's Guide has tackled stretching in a way that makes you feel, well, like less of an idiot.

You don't have to read this book from cover to cover to get something from it. It is well-organized, conversational, easy to read and has many pictures to guide even the most flexibility-challenged.

This book features quite a number of stretches, and they don't all cater to professional athletes. Of course, there are sections related to sports such as golf, tennis, running and swimming. And there are stretches for everything from getting up in the morning to flying to working to going to sleep, as well as specific sections for kids, expectant mothers and seniors.

Chris Verna, the author, divides the body into five sections and describes stretches that allow more flexibility in each area.

The book also addresses misconceptions about stretching and features a section at the end of each chapter called "The Least You Should Know" for those of us who really don't have time for the less important details.

Whether you read all 316 pages or just a section or two, you are guaranteed to learn something from this book. After all, the benefits of stretching far outweigh what might happen if you don't stretch at all.

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