Winter Warm Up

(By Richard J Law)

As winter is fast approaching, many are concerned with how they will be keeping warm in the freezing weather. Should everyone just curl up, eat and hibernate like bears? Or should we sit on top of a heater for hours on end? We here at Asian Fusion Magazine encourage our readers to go out, exercise, explore, and have fun!
I’m no fitness expert, but I have practiced Taekwondo for about 18 years. Typically, my students come more often during the winter so that through regular practice, their internal body temperature is higher than those that do not practice. In addition, their blood circulation is improved, their bodies become less susceptible to illness, and they feel less bogged down by the cold.
To help our readers cope with the winter blues, I’d like to suggest a quick and easy routine to keep you warmer during the upcoming cold months. For starters, it’s very important to drink plenty of fluids. Sounds pretty basic, but many people forget that drinking warm fluids keeps your body from dehydrating and drying out. Next, be sure to do some light stretches.
Start by standing straight, then reach for your toes without bending your knees. This stretches your hamstrings, a vital leg muscle behind your thighs. Then hold on to something with one hand, and use the other hand to pull up one leg from behind; this stretches the quads, also known as your thighs. The final stretch for the leg is the calf stretch. This muscle is behind your shins, on the back of your leg. To stretch the calf, stand a little less than arms length away from the wall, then put one leg forward and the other back while keeping your feet parallel. Bend the knee that’s in front and press through the other heel; you should feel some tension on the back of your lower leg (remember to switch!). Next, put all your weight on one leg while you rotate the other ankle, then switch. The slightest slip or bump on the street can cause a very painful sprain or twisted ankle.
After that, rotate your shoulders by making small and large circles with your arms. Do the same with your wrists and neck. After all the stretching is done, it’s time to do some morning cardio. For those just starting, a brisk walking speed is recommended; a faster pace than your usual Friday night stroll should be sufficient. For those that can hold a light jog, that’s great. If you’re looking for a challenge, try this: Jog for 1 minute, then sprint as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then repeat for several sets. Alternatively, this can be changed to a distance measurement instead of the time measurement. Doing this short walk/jog/run won’t only keep you warm on cold winter mornings, but also wake you up so you will be ready to tackle the day!