Warming Up Bodies and Seasons


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During my morning walk I reflected on this in-between season, where there are days with hot summer breezes and days with frigid flurries.  I got to thinking about the link between winter-spring transition and the warm up at the beginning of exercise/dance/fun-jumpy-times. It's important to warm up! We all know this, we've been told so many times.... but then out it in the wild, the warm-up is often skipped.  The last time I heard a friend proclaim 'I don't need a warm up! I'm always ready!' he had a serious shoulder injury by the end of the ski day - and I see a connection. I think the aversion to warming up is because it's slow. We want to be there already. We've been waiting all day to dance, let's get this started! This seasonal change is similar.  We've been thinking about summer park sessions and sun on our skin for so long that we want to be there already! So we bust out into the morning sunshine without thinking about the afternoon rain, and are shocked when we get wet!  I encourage you to embrace this micro-season for what it is - time to poke out of the soil, awaken our roots, and prepare for a year of blooming and growth.  This is also the time to feel the chill and spend a day inside finishing that winter project, wearing our brightest wool scarf, and taking time to warm up over coffee with a friend. Let's get outside and enjoy the sun, while resisting the pressure to be in summer already, be here! Can we take this a step further? How are physical warm ups and seasonal warm ups similar? In a physical warm-up we literally warm up our bodies with full-body movements, starting small and getting larger, raising our core temperature so that our muscles can function best.  We move our joints to bring fluid between the bones so that there's padding when its time to jump.  We also wake up the connections between our brain and our muscles through coordination challenges so that our muscles respond quickly during our dance. In a seasonal warm up, we warm up our communities starting with small gatherings and getting larger, allowing our introverted winter-selves to get comfortable.  We rediscover our skills and our strengths, and see those around us doing the same. We bump into friends we haven't seen all winter, reminding us that they are there if we need them. Our many talents and experiences form connections to create big dreams and big projects! I think physically warming up will help us seasonally warm up! We need to shake off the snow and sand off the rust before we're ready to go adventuring all day. Here's a video about warming up, with poi guru Nick Woolsey and my favourite therapist Sarah Hamilton. http://youtu.be/yWw0lac0cjE I'm also thinking of the value of warming up as it relates to my own body. I'm proud of myself for maintaining a strong morning practice of hip/glute/core/breath movement for the last 4 months.  At the same time, I'm getting bored and my practice is starting to slip.  After skipping one day (... cause I'm going dancing in a few hours so I'll just warm up there) I don't really notice it, maybe my balance is less strong but I compensate well. After the second day of skipping it (....I'll do it after breakfast...after computer time...err...tomorrow?) I notice a big change - my hip will be screaming in pain after 20 strides on the sidewalk, my computer time gets really frustrating really fast, and I get anxious easily. Hmmmmmm.... that morning practice was doing good after all! I value this insight from missing my practice as it helps me appreciate warming up even more.  The slow beginning warms me up to my day by awakening my diaphragm and hip stabilizers, two slow-and-steady muscle groups that tend to sleep in longer than my overactive hip flexors. My favourite ways to warm up are.... - moving each joint slowly and steadily, exploring sensation and range of motion, starting at the nose or the toes - laying on the ground and exploring the floor with rolling around, lifting legs and arms - gentle bouncing What's your favourite way to warm up?

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