What is the most effective way to warm up?

Whether you are training to run a marathon, planning to play your favourite sport, or doing some gardening, warming-up should be the first thing on your to-do list. 

Doing a few simple movements prepares your body and mind for what you are going to do and, most importantly, reduces the risk of injury by increasing the heart rate and creating warm pliable muscles that are pumped full of oxygen and fuel. 

The most effective way to warm-up depends on the activity you are doing. Fitness levels and activity goals will influence what is included in a warm-up, but there are a few basic techniques that can be used as a starting point for your warm-up routine:

  1. Loosen up… warm muscles by gently mimicking the movements you will be doing in your activity – marching on the spot, squatting, arm circles.
  2. Increase your heart rate… running on the spot, gentle jogging, low resistance cycling, low resistance rowing.
  3. Dynamic stretching… moving your body through a range of movement – shoulder circles, arm circles, hip circles, lunges.

These are just a few suggestions to get you going. Your warm-up should leave you energised and ready to go. Always listen to your body, do not continue with any movements that cause discomfort and remember to cool down after. 

For a more activity-focused warm-up routine, advice on how you can improve and progress your current routine, or more info on warming-up get in touch with us here at Physio Extra, we are always happy to help.

By Nim Ragbir BSc (hons) MHCPC MCSP 

Chartered Physiotherapist

No pain, no gain?


Need help to get fit, but are worried about using a personal trainer?

Plunging straight from your sedentary lifestyle into a sweaty nightmare of pushups while being screamed at by someone standing over you with a six-pack is certainly off-putting.

Thankfully, the reality of training at PhysioExtra is a different story.

“You can’t go from doing nothing to HIT [high-intensity interval training] exercises,” says top trainer Johnny Crook. “If you’re going to get fit, you have to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Trying to blitz it by going to the gym for an hour once a week is not going to work.”

His technique is to start easy.

“We begin with what you are able to do and repeat volumes of these exercise,” says Johnny. “We then gradually tweak them as basic mobility and strength improves.”

This ‘linear periodisation’ technique feels light and manageable, “but you will be amazed at what you have achieved after a few weeks,” he adds.

(Not a bad metaphor for life in general: break a task into small steps to make progress.)

“Most people don’t come to us to get the perfect body. We work on longevity, so you are going to be able to play with your grandchildren,” concludes Johnny. “But once you’ve built a strong base platform, you can go on to do those HIT classes without injuring yourself.”

Hmm. Seems pain may be unavoidable further down the line after all!


Stop sitting and save your life in 2019

Right now is the peak time of year for fitness resolutions, but most of us should face the fact: we don’t have the willpower to exercise.

Yes, we know our sedentary lifestyle is killing us with a whole host of unpleasant side effects ranging from back pain and depression to diabetes and cancer.

Yes, we know that regular exercise significantly helps prevents strokes, anxiety, heart disease and dementia.

The government recommends at least half an hour of moderate exercise such as cycling or brisk walking five times a week plus strength exercises that work all the major muscles two days a week.

Richmond may be the sportiest borough in the country with over half of residents carrying out physical activity at least once a week, but 40% of the 40-60 age group in England walk less than 10 minutes a month.

It seems that we all know we should exercise but can’t face actually doing it.

And despite all our good intentions in the new year, we know we will find reasons for not doing it.

So what should those of us who lack the requisite self-motivation do to counter the risk of illness or death caused by sitting?

Gym membership is likely to be a waste of money if you don’t have the motivation to use it regularly.

We think a personal trainer is the way to go if you are prepared to invest in your health.

Not only does PhysioExtra have great people to help get you in good shape, we also offer physiotherapy to heal or prevent injuries.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a personal trainer, try to factor exercise into your daily routine, rather than making it a separate activity. 10,000 – 15,000 steps a day is a good idea.

As a third of car journeys in London are under 2km, why not leave the car behind and walk? It would also have a major impact on air pollution.

A happy and healthy new year to you all!



Meet Leon’s new daughter, Jenna.

Mother and child are both well and Leon is currently training for a whole new set of challenges with his first child!

Lose your ‘spare tyre’ – it can kill

Having a ‘spare tyre’ around belly worse than being obese, a long-term scientific study has found.


The Annals of Internal Medicine in the US found that normal-weight men with extra fat around their middles were twice as likely to die than those classed as overweight or obese.


The damaging effect on women was slightly less pronounced but still increased their risk of death by up to 40 percent.


This is because having a “spare tyre” is connected with the accumulation of visceral fat around the internal organs


Unlike subcutaneous fat, which lies just below the skin, deep-lying visceral fat is associated with many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

The good news is that you can do something about it. And no, the right response isn’t to put weight on all over!


Eating less calories and burning off calories is the way to go. A weight loss of five to 10 percent of your total body weight can help reduce visceral fat stores.


You can work with a dietitian to design a nutrition plan for you that focuses on improving your health.


To start with, increase your exercise – any activity that gets your heart rate up and you moving for an hour is good. This should also be mixed with some high-intensity training.


For every 10% of overall weight loss, you lose 30% of your visceral fat – and you can target it effectively with a 60-minute workout involving rowing machine sprints, light weight reps, squats and press-ups, for example.


Weight loss takes time. Don’t expect to lose weight overnight – you didn’t gain it overnight.


So maintaining motivation is key – and a good trainer is invaluable for this.






Weekend warriors

Someone with a shaven head in combat fatigues screaming at you as you agonisingly push your body to its limits.

If this is what comes to mind when you hear the words ‘boot camp’, think again: at PhysioExtra’s new Saturday morning boot camp on Ham Common the trainer, Austin, doesn’t wear any military clothing.

And he is actually a nice lad who certainly knows his stuff when it comes to varying exercises and stretches.

Quite a lot of the hour consists of warming up then stretching down.

Frankly I was knackered after the warm up. The press-ups and squat thrusts on the circuit demonstrated what I already knew: I am unfit. This felt harder work than pushing my ageing body around the park for a gentle jog once a week.

One of the positives about training in a group is that there is usually someone suffering more than you – or someone who makes it look easier, shaming you to not collapse in a sobbing heap. In other words: it caters for a mixed range of abilities from the super keen to the reluctantly resigned.

And despite the macho name, it’s more about encouragement than pressure. You do the exercises to your own level and can do simpler variations if you have any injuries (or are just decrepit like me).

If you haven’t done it before, it’s basically circuit training outdoors – which is marginally preferable to being in a gym. Especially if you have an aversion to Kiss FM.

Ham Common is beautiful. And being a nice area, there isn’t any dog poo.

The session costs £10 and the first one is free (plus a complementary beverage at the nearby café). It starts at 10 a.m.

You certainly feel like you’ve earned a weekend of sloth and indulgence afterwards.






Live long and prosper!

Who wants to get old? No one over the age of 21 – but it’s one of life’s unfortunate inevitables along with taxes (unless you’re HSBC, it seems).

But the good news is that exercising can offset the ageing process.

As we get older growth hormone production decreases and there is a weakening and loss of muscle mass. This has serious effects on the metabolism, because amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are stored in muscle.

So beefing up is not just about getting a six-pack – it can keep you young.

Increased physical fitness also boosts growth hormone release, counteracting the effects of ageing.

Building up your muscle mass also improves

  • coordination and balance, helping people avoid falls
  • joint flexibility and mobility
  • cardiovascular and respiratory function
  • bone strength, making people less prone to fractures

Regular exercise also helps prevents heart disease, type two diabetes, cancer, and depression – so why do so few people do it?

In 2011, a report by the Chief Medical Officer found that only 40% of men and 28% of women in England do enough exercise to achieve health benefits.

There are many reasons why, but it is never too late to get fit. The human body responds to exercise, no matter what its age.

The key is finding an exercise regime that suits you individual needs and limitations.