Here's Your 2020 Name Of The Year Bracket

Touch Your Toes

I’m not a crazy guy. I’m not going to ask you to go for a run, or do pushups of any kind, or remotely approach breaking a sweat. This is not a Hamilton Nolan column. Heck, that guy’s back is all jacked up. All I ask is that you touch your toes.

Or: Reach as far down your shins as you can without bending your lower back. Breathe normally, which I understand is a difficult ask of someone who is not breathing normally. But do it, and deepen the stretch a bit. Stay there for 20 seconds or so. Mmm. Feels good. Then, maybe stand up straight on one leg and grab the other foot and bend it back towards your butt while supporting yourself on a wall with the other hand, if necessary. Mmm. Do that again on the other side. Ahh.

You spend all day in a chair. This may or may not differ from your life before the novel coronavirus, but at least now I can proclaim it more confidently. Your hip flexors spend all day in a contracted state in your desk chair. And they are getting shorter and weaker, which, in the long run, is probably true of you, too. But the first thing can be fixed.

Flexibility is a virtue—not but because it will let you do anything elaborate and gymnastic, but because it will preserve and possibly even expand your range of motion. This will allow you to pluck a jar from a high shelf or bend low to fetch a pan, without you turning into pure crabmeat. Take care of your hip flexors, and maybe you can fend off the back pain that is lying in hungry wait for everyone at midnight of the last day of their 29th year. The dispatches I receive from the other side have frightened me into this regimen.

Go grease up those joints. Dissolve your self-image as an inflexible person. You can change. I speak as someone who once suffered an excruciating hamstring cramp while playing Halo 2 (local co-op). Now I can smack my palms flat on the floor and even sink into a decent pigeon stretch.

The feeling after a good stretching session is an eerie, ambient, placeless warmth and calm, not unlike the aftermath of a good massage. This feeling is the highlight of my every quarantined day. This is why I am now addicted to videos of this British man who does stretches as he explains them in helpful detail. We do the same stretches at the same time, me and the man on the screen. I don’t need any friends anymore. He is my friend now.