Think your morning warm-up starts at the gym? Think again.
Imagine your treasured circa-1960 (not too far from our age, right?) Bugatti sitting in the garage awaiting a big day on the road. Do you hop in, start the engine, and hit top speed down the tollway? Never! You start the engine, idle to ‘warm it up,’ then purr down a side street before ever hitting full speed.
So why expect more of yourself? Eyes popping open with thoughts and feet running, you bound out of bed expecting your body to respond efficiently to the day’s demands. We Prime Women can still be active in activities we’ve always enjoyed, but with a caveat: mindful modification and preparation. Let’s talk prep.
Understanding the power of an early warm-up came as I sat enraptured by a model in her fifties who was sharing her secret for runway longevity: her fitness routine began the moment she opened her eyes…in bed!
The warm-up, or “a balanced combination of static stretches and rhythmic limbering exercises that prepare the body…” according to the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, is essential for warning the body of the physical stresses of the day. Body awareness doesn’t have to begin at the gym. Why not begin the moment we take our first deep morning breath?
These 3 moves or stretches take just three minutes. Remember, your body has been shut down in repair mode all night, so be gentle. There should never be discomfort. If you do experience pain, always consult your physician.
To begin, in the morning as you open your eyes:
Without a pillow, place head directly on the mattress and take a deep cleansing breath. This releases the stale CO2 in your lungs and surges fresh oxygen to your muscles and brain. Breathe again and exhale, slowly elongating legs and arms into a gentle pencil-like stretch, moving fingers and toes. Slide one foot at a time closer to your bottom. Feet will be flat on the bed, knees pointing to the ceiling. Press lower back into the mattress to engage your core. Enjoy a few breath cycles.
Eyes to ceiling, hands behind thighs on hamstrings, gently bring one knee at a time toward the chest. Legs perpendicular to the bed with toes to ceiling, gently open the lower back, sinking belly button to the backbone. Release and return each foot to the bed. Now, give yourself a gentle hug and one arm at a time, stretching each over your body to release and open your upper back.
Place hands behind upper thigh on the hamstring, knee soft with a gentle bend, and extend one leg into the air. As it’s comfortable, gently point and flex your foot. Graduate to writing your imaginary initials in the air. Lower and repeat with the other leg.
Now, it’s time to throw off the covers! With a grateful heart for a brand new day, you’ve done your morning warm-up and are ready to hit the ground running!
Don’t forget to power up with an immune-boosting smoothie — which is especially beneficial during this pandemic.
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