Adding a Handful of WarmUp Exercises to Your Walk

Along with walking to warm up (the subject of the previous section), you can do warm-up exercises. We describe these exercises in the pages that follow. These warm-ups will keep your juices flowing after your walk and lead you comfortably into your yoga-with-weights workout. None of these exercises is difficult. None takes more than a minute to complete. Feel free to do as few or as many of these warm-up exercises as you want before your workout.

Choose exercises that warm up the parts of your body that feel tight or stiff. You can also choose exercises that make you feel better or relax you and prepare you physically and mentally for the workout to come.

A skeptic may say that the warm-up exercises we present here are too easy and can't be of much help. Here are a few reasons why we firmly disagree:

i After you complete a few of these warm-up exercises, you'll notice that warming up makes a yoga-with-weights workout more productive.

i If you're not up to doing the actual yoga-with-weights exercises yet because you're too stiff, you can prepare your body by doing these warm-up exercises as a workout. They give beginners a fairly good workout until they feel comfortable enough to start with the exercises.

i If you feel sore the day after a yoga-with-weights workout, you can use these warm-up exercises to relieve discomfort. These warm-ups are almost as good as a bath, a nice cup of tea, and a massage! (Well, maybe that's a stretch.)

Many of these warm-up exercises involve what yoga teachers call static holding. Static holding means you hold a position for three or more breaths. Simply stated, you push or contract a muscle against resistance and then hold that contraction for a few breaths. This technique requires a certain amount of concentration, because you have to hold the pose and focus on your breathing throughout. Static holding gives you an opportunity to stretch out your muscles and develop your ability to balance. It also gives your muscles a chance to discover new ways of moving and holding, as each exercise does its unique work for you. As you engage in static holding, listen carefully to your body, and feel your way to an understanding of which muscles you should contract and utilize fully and which muscles you should gently relax.

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