BEST BODY Love The Way You Move
The counter-intuitive way to beat aches and pains? Moving through it
Raise your hand if you can’t touch your toes. Don’t worry – this isn’t an exercise in flexibility shaming. Many adults aren’t able to get their fingertips to their shins, let alone anywhere near their ankles or beyond. If you’re among them, you probably catch yourself groaning often when you get up from a chair – or sit down on one, for that matter. There’s a good chance you have regular aches and pains that come and go, seemingly for no reason. And you probably feel stiff and wound up – like you could pull a muscle at any moment.
Q20 FOR YOUR JOINTS
Mobility is your body’s ability to move effectively. “It’s closely linked to flexibility in that both affect the body’s ability to function properly,” says Cara-Lisa Sham, yogi and founder of the wellness brand Caralishious. “Both mobility and flexibility are essential for ensuring that your joints, tendons and muscles are kept wellconditioned and mobile.” Cara compares the human body to a high-tech machine that requires consistent maintenance. “When we care for and condition them regularly, our bodies function optimally, but when we neglect them, they can become ‘rusty’.” Maintaining mobility and flexibility will make it easier to perform everyday tasks. Plus, you’ll have better posture, you’ll be fitter and stronger and you’ll have more muscle tone. And whether you’re a dancer, runner or CrossFitter, you’ll find that the better you move, the better you perform when you’re in action. Long term, it will help prevent injury and pain, especially as you age.
This sequence combines animal flow and yoga movements to build strength, increase flexibility and improve joint mobility. You can do it as a warm-up or as a low-impact way to keep moving on your active rest day. “This is essentially a full-body workout that you can do just about anywhere – it requires absolutely no equipment; just a little bit of motivation and a sweat towel!” says Cara. For a full-body workout, do this sequence three or four times a week. After two weeks, you should already start feeling fitter, stronger and more mobile. Stick with it and you’ll notice your posture improve, you’ll have more energy and any other forms of training that you may be doing will start feeling easier.
Starting with the first move, perform the moves in order. In the beginning, you’ll need to get used to them. But as you progress, aim to flow from one into the next so that you’re constantly in motion. Most of the exercises rely heavily on core engagement and control, so be sure to keep that tummy tight throughout. “Also focus on keeping your shoulders open and lengthened – in other words, don’t allow them to hunch up or roll forward,” says Cara. Focus on maintaining good form, rather than speed. As you get used to the movements, you’ll be able to move through them faster and do more reps.