BEST BODY Love The Way You Move

Women's Health (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - By Wanita Ni­col Photographs by Gar­reth Bar­clay

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.


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.

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