Warm-up wonders

Tags: Good Living
Warm-up wonders
In the past few weeks, I have been introducing you to more challenging exercises and workout options. However, it is very important to do a proper warm-up before any workout irrespective of how challenging it is. I am usually hesitant in using the term warm-up and prefer the term movement preparation. A more efficient, effective, and engaging workout starts with a dynamic warm-up that properly prepares your body for the activity to come. Commonly referred to as “movement preparation,” a well-rounded warm-up routine can help decrease the risk of developing overuse injuries by targeting underlying muscle imbalances and improving the quality of the movements you perform during your workout.

When it comes to injury prevention, ensuring adequate joint mobility is a must. You must remember that you cannot view your body in isolation, as very often stiffness or lack of flexibility in one part of the body can impact another part. This is because the body is made up of certain joints that tend to favour stability (such as the knees and lumbar spine) as well as those joints that favour mobility, including the ankles, hips, thoracic spine, and shoulders. To get more out of your movements, your dynamic warm-up should focus on enhancing range of motion specifically in these four areas.

Here are a few great exercises to help you prepare for a great workout.

Cat and dog stretch: Go back into all four position, and as you inhale, go into the cat stretch position. While exhaling, gently ease up the back until parallel to the ground, pull the shoulders away from the ears and stretch the head forward and up until you feel the stretch in your abdominal area. Lower back is soft and without any strain. Repeat 10 times, inhaling while in the cat and exhaling while in the dog position.

Inverted letter V and cobra: From push up position, go into the inverted letter V by lifting your bottom as much to the ceiling and dropping your hips as low as possible. Do between 5-15 repetitions. Relax in the ‘little piece of heaven’ position. Repeat two-three sets.

Warm up-inch worm: Stand with your feet hip width apart and arms stretched all the way to the ceiling. Inhale and stretch all the way down so your hands touch the floor. Walk forwards on your arms into a push-up position. Walk with your feet so that your legs go all the way up to the hands and repeat four-eight times. If the space does not allow you to keep moving forward, do one movement forward and one movement backward. On the last count, go into push-up position and hold for a count of 10, 20 or 30.

One sided hip circles: Place one leg slightly in front of the other and lift the heel of the ground. Now do circles on that side of the hips. If you add an arm movement, it becomes your own version of Bollywood dance number or even a belly dance! Repeat it five times each side.

(The author is a wellness expert and runs a fitness centre in New Delhi)

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