Feeling Cold? Why moving your legs gets you warm, fast.



Using large muscle areas like glutes and quads get you warm really fast!

If you are new to Pilates, then you will not realise that most classes begin in 'supine' position, which is lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. A class will see you go through a gentle progression from the beginning of the class that includes isolated, precise movements. Then towards the end of the class the exercises will tend to involve full-body movements. 

When the weather turns cold, as it did so dramatically last night here in Auckland, I like to warm a class up straight away and lying down on the ground for gentle movements will just prolong the chilliness of it all. Of course, it would not be wise or safe to get a class straight into intermediate/full-body exercises at the beginning of a class. It will most likely end in injury. I find the best way to warm up is by using large muscle groups such as quads and glutes. Footwork and barre exercises at the beginning of a class can get us feeling hot really quickly. It is low impact and gentle enough to get us warm without risk of injury. 

At home or the office, you can warm yourself up in 5-10 minutes at your desk or kitchen table. You can use a dining chair, a barstool or a foam roller (standing the roller upright, that is) for stability and balance. Using barre techniques; like relive (heel lifts) and plies (knee bends), and gentle squats and lunges can get you warm, very fast. 

Begin standing with feet directly under your sitting bones and simply do 10 heel lifts so that you are on tippy toes. Then do 10 knee bends (squats/plie). Imagine that your back is sliding down a wall so that your torso is upright. Keep feet flat on the floor when bending your knees.

Now stand in first position, which is your heels together and toes apart in a Pilates V. Do 10 heel lifts and then 10 knee bends. Make sure your knees track over your toes and not out to the side of the room. 

Now stand in second position, which is feet wider apart in Pilates V. Do 10 heel lifts and 10 knee bends.

Continue in this wide stance and pulse towards the ground for 10 reps.

Continue in this wide stand and lift one heel up and pulse for 10 reps. Change heel lift and continue pulse for 10 reps. 

You can now add in gentle lunges by simply stepping back on leg and lunge until standing leg has knee directly over foot and step back long leg to starting position and swap legs. Repeat for 10 reps. 

Easy, gentle and deliciously warming!