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Photo: Inspire Courses

Warming up is a critical part of any exercise routine. Those few extra minutes go a long way to raise your body temperature, increase blood flow to major muscle groups, and are believed to reduce muscle soreness and the chances of injury.

Athletic performance coach Tracy Ann Axel went even further to illustrate the benefits of a dynamic warmup, or one that emphasizes movement to get your heart rate up, in an older piece with The Inertia.

“In general, you want to increase your body’s ability to produce greater amounts of force to paddle faster, pop up quicker, and maneuver your board with speed and power,” Axel wrote. “Research has demonstrated the benefits of dynamic stretching or a ‘dynamic warm-up’ prior to any physical activity which will result in an increased blood flow from the internal organs to the skeletal muscle, increased heart rate and core temperature, range of motion, faster muscle contraction and relaxation, improvements in strength and power, and overall mental preparedness.”

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Pro surfer and Inspire Courses instructor Tia Blanco lives by ideas like this. She is a dedicated athlete who puts supreme focus on her overall health as well as keeping her body in its optimal position for performance.  Here are her tips and a routine she uses to make the most out of her workouts, surf sessions, and more.

“This is my pre-surf stretch,” she says. “It’s a three to five-minute warmup that gets my body and mind prepared for a successful session in the ocean. Right after I check the waves and assess the lineup, here’s what I do.”

1. Take a moment of gratitude.
2. Roll out the neck.
3. Mountain pose and side-angle stretch.
4. Alternating arm swings back and forth (10 on each side).
5. Upper body twist (10 on each side).
6. One leg balance kicks (10 on each side).
7. Dancer’s pose (each side).
8. Alternating knee-tucks (5 on each side).
9. Alternating lunge and twist (5 on each side).
10. Side lunges to hip openers (5 on each side).
11. Jump squats (5-10 if I’m competing).

Editor’s Note: Learn more in Tia Blanco’s Guide to Fitness and Plant-Based Nutrition.

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