Don’t tell Raju Mantina you can’t find the time to stretch every day. I tried, and he would have none of it.
Fifteen to 60 minutes every night before you go to bed, he says in a tone that leaves no room for argument. “People tell me, ‘I don’t have time to exercise and to stretch,’ ” he tells me in an accent still heavy with the tones of his native India. “I am not one who will listen to this. It’s a total lie.”
There are a lot of massage therapists and trainers out there. I’ve met quite a few in the more than four years that I’ve written this column. Not many approach their work with Mantina’s missionary zeal.
“Movement is an opportunity, not an inconvenience,” he tells me. “That [should be] the mentality of our entire life.”
Stretching and massage are not part of my fitness routine, but I went to see Mantina, 57, last week at the practice he maintains in his Rockville home. I was just back from a vacation that included four days of strenuous hiking in southern Utah, and my legs, which are always tight, were particularly stiff. A friend at The Post whom Mantina has stretched and massaged for years recommended him.