WHAT EXERCISES SHOULD YOU INCLUDE?
Begin with lower-body movements. The large muscles of your legs and core generate more heat, which raises your body temperature all over, Dr Lopez Samanes said.
From there, match your warm-up to the specifics of your workout. “You need to practice the movements you’re going to do,” Dr Behm said.
If your sport or activity involves fast changes of direction – think squash or soccer – include agility-based and side-to-side movements. And if you’re about to take on something with an overhead component – such as basketball, softball or climbing – include quick movements that activate your shoulder complex, the network of muscles and tendons around that often-injured joint.
To get started, here’s a basic routine that works for a range of workouts:
From a standing position, kick your right foot straight up in front of you to about waist height, stretching your hamstring. Bring it back down, then repeat with the left leg, moving forward.
Begin standing with your feet together. Lift your right foot off the floor and take a large step forward. Bend your right knee and lower your hips until your right thigh is parallel to the floor – or until the position becomes uncomfortable, whichever comes first. Aim to keep your back straight, your upper body still and your back foot planted. Return to the starting position and repeat with the left leg.
Sitting all day can tighten hip flexor muscles; this exercise helps activate and lengthen them. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then take a step forward with your left leg. Lift your right knee and rotate your leg so your shin is parallel to the floor, grabbing your right ankle with your left hand near your hip. Keep your right hand on your right knee, gently “cradling” and pulling the leg up toward your chest. Release, step forward with the right leg and repeat on the other side.
From standing, take one big step to the right, keeping your toes facing forward and your heels pressing into the floor. Bend your hips and your right knee as you shift your weight onto your right foot. Continue until your left leg is nearly fully extended and your right knee hovers over the second toe of your right foot. Return to standing, and repeat on the left side.
Keeping your toes pointed forward, your torso tall and your weight in the balls of your feet, shuffle to one side, then the other. As you do, raise your arms overhead and lower them, as if you were doing a jumping jack.
This move opens up your mid-back and lengthens your chest, counteracting the effects of slouching over screens. Lie on your left side with your knees and hips both bent 90 degrees and your arms straight in front of you, palms touching. Reach your right arm straight up and over to the floor to your right side, rotating your trunk rather than your hips. Return to starting position, then repeat on the other side.
EXTRA CREDIT: ADD A FOAM ROLLER
If you have a little more time and want to take your warm-up to the next level, spend a few minutes with a self-massage tool such as a foam roller. Some studies suggest combining foam rolling with a dynamic warm-up can further enhance agility and coordination.
Ms Hutchins has her clients roll out first, to boost blood flow before beginning their dynamic movements; Dr Lopez Samanes reserves it for afterward, when warmer muscles may improve your range of motion.
Cindy Kuzma © 2022 The New York Times
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.