Flex Appeal

A new workout promises to reshape your body.
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Re-Shape Your Body

Being flexible not only makes it easier to perform such simple tasks as changing a lightbulb, it also helps improve your performance and reduces your risk of injury when you exercise. Now there is a new way to stretch that may also provide added health benefits, according to Bob Cooley, president of The Meridian Stretching Center, in San Jose, California. The Meridian Flexibility System, based on 16 yoga postures, involves "resistance stretching." To deepen a stretch, you contract a muscle while you lengthen it.

Cooley says contracting and relaxing the muscles gives you a deeper release than either yoga or typical warm-up stretches. According to Cooley, each muscle relates to a different organ, via meridians (pathways of energy that travel through the body). "By stretching, you unblock the energy to those organs, thereby improving their function," he claims. Sounds funny, but fans swear the sessions can help relieve everything from PMS to constipation.

Try these stretches a few times a week, after your regular workout. Hold each position for a total of about 30 seconds, but only contract muscles for 10 seconds, then relax and repeat. For more information, including how to order a video with the complete exercise plan, call 408-347-1767 or log on to www.meridianstretching.com. --Alyssa Shaffer

Continued on page 2:  Shape your shoulders


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