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AIG exercise ambassador, sports physiotherapist and ex-Dublin GAA player Joey Boland brings us through the importance of a good warm up session.
At the beginning of every exercise session, you should start with a warm-up and stretching routine. It will prepare your muscles for the exercise to follow, and also prepare you mentally.
A good warm-up is something that gets you moving around and increases your heart rate. For someone just beginning a regular exercise program a great warm-up would be a half-km walk at a brisk pace.
Follow that warm-up with a dynamic stretch routine targeting all the major muscle groups you will be using during the session.
Stand straight with abs engaged, feet hip width apart, looking straight ahead. Lift one of your knees up to hip height, with the other foot flat on the ground and leg fully extended. Bend the elbow, hands held flat, swing the opposite arm forward when the knee is raised. Pushing of the ground with the balls of your feet and slightly moving forward with each quick step.
Stand straight with abs engaged, feet hip width apart, arms bent at sides, looking straight ahead. Lift one foot back bending at knee till your heel touches your butt (or as close as you can get). Bend the elbow, hands held flat, swing the opposite arm forward when the knee is bent towards the bottom and take quick steps.
kneel down in a lunge position, with the ankle and knee at 90-degree angles. Make sure chest is up tall, and the abs and glutes are activated. To intensify the stretch, gently push the pelvis forward.
Stand with one leg to be stretched just in front of the other one. Bend the back knee and lean forwards from the hips. Place your hands on the bent leg's thigh, to balance yourself. If you can't feel a stretch, lean further forwards or tilt your pelvis forwards. Stretch is effective with both the toes of the front foot pointed down and with toes flexed pointing up towards the sky.
Bend down in downward dog position (balancing on both hands and feet, butt up in the air). Lean forward at the ankle while bending your right knee and keeping your heel on the ground. Alternating which knee is bent and ankle flexed.
Standing tall, bring your right arm straight up by your ear. Bend at the elbow, dropping your right hand to your left shoulder behind your back. Take your left arm across the top of your head lightly grabbing slightly past the right elbow. Deepen the stretch by gently pulling with your left hand until you feel the stretch. Hold stretch, and switch arms.
Standing up tall; lift both arms out straight. Extend the wrists until your palms are facing out flat in front, holding the fingers with the other hand, bending them back. You should feel the stretch in your bicep muscles.