As winter approaches and the temperature drops, warming up before yoga class, jogging or other forms of exercise becomes more crucial. A common misconception is that warm up and stretching are the same thing. They’re not! Warming up means increasing your heart rate and tissue temperature through large movements of your muscles. Heed this advice from Shaw Bronner PT, PhD, OCS, an associate professor at Northeastern University in Boston who also directs the Analysis of Dance And Movement (ADAM) Center, and physical therapy services at Alvin Ailey in New York City.
To start things off, try a light jog around the yoga studio or in place for 50 paces. Then get more specific. The most neglected areas to warm up are the back and hips. Try the following:
For the hips: While standing, perform 20 leg swings forward and back (with a bent knee), and 20 legs swings in and out. Hold onto the back of a chair or railing while you perform the movements.
For the hips and knees: Try a series of 10 large forward lunges. Make sure your alignment is correct, with your front knee in line with your middle toe.
For the lower back: Lie on your stomach and perform 10 yoga cobra movements, pushing your upper body up using your arms.
For the ankles and calves: Stand in parallel and perform small ankle and knee bends, followed by rising on your toes. Repeat 10 times.