Easy yoga positions to improve your movement and flexibility

Yoga has soared in popularity in Malaysia over the last five to ten years and will continue to see beginners and veterans roll out the mat in 2017. We’ve asked Team Re-Claim’’s Angeline Ong to take us through 5 easy yoga positions to help improve your movement.

1. Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog Yoga Position

Downward Facing Dog

The Downward Facing Dog yoga position deeply stretches the back, opens the chest and builds upper body strength. This posture stimulates the brain and nervous system, improves memory, concentration, hearing and eyesight.

How to perform:

— Come onto the floor on your hands and knees, with your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Spread your palms and tuck your toes under.

— Exhale and lift your knees up, slightly bend you knee with the heels lifted away from the floor. Lengthen your spine against this resistance, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling and from your inner ankles engage the inner legs up into the groin.

— Engage and rotate your thighs slightly inward when you straighten up your knees but be sure not to lock them.

— Engage you outer arms and press your fingers actively into the floor. Lift your spine up with firm forearms and shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and draw them towards the tailbone. Keep the neck active with the head between the upper arms. Don’t let it hang.

Caution: Do not practice this yoga pose if you’ve had a recent chronic injury to the back, hips, arms or shoulders as well as unmediated high blood pressure.

2. Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose Yoga Position

Pigeon Pose

This yoga pose is excellent at opening up the hip joint and lengthening the hip flexor. Improves posture and alignment of the body and enhances overall suppleness.

How to perform:

— Begin with Downward Facing Dog. Bring your right knee between your hands, place your right ankle near your left wrist. Extend your left leg behind with your kneecap rotated in and the top of your foot rested on the floor.

— Press your fingertips to lift your torso away from your thigh. Lengthen the front of your body. Keep you hips square and release your tailbone back towards your heels.

— Lower your body through your front-leg shin and balance your weight evenly between your right and left hips. Flex your front foot. Press your back foot down. Look downward softly.

— Breathe and hold for up to one minute. To release the pose, flex your back feet, lift your back knee off the mat and press yourself back into Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat for the same amount of time on the other side.

3. Warrior II

Warrior II Yoga Position

Warrior II

A deep hip-opening yoga pose that strengthens the muscles in the thighs and buttocks.

How to perform:

— Standing upright, exhale while you step 3-1/2 feet apart. Raise your arms in line with your shoulders and parallel to the floor, stretch your arms actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms facing down.

— Turn your right foot out and your left foot in. Align the left heel with the right heel, activating your thighs and rotate your left thigh inward.

— Exhale and bend your right knee over the right ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. If possible, bring the right thigh parallel to the floor. Engage your core muscles by strengthening the left and right leg, pressing both heels firmly to the floor.

— Stretch the arms away with the shoulder blades parallel to the floor. Don’t lean the torso over the left thigh, keep the sides of the torso long and the shoulders directly over the pelvis. Press slightly and rotate the tailbone down. Turn the head to the left and gaze toward your fingers.

— Stay in the pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Inhale as you come up from the pose. Change leg and repeat for the same length of time to the left.

Cautions: Do not practice this yoga pose if you have a recent or chronic knee, ankle or sacroiliac injury. 

4. Camel Pose

Camel Pose Yoga Position

Camel Pose

This yoga pose stretches and strengthens the shoulders and back. Stretches the ankles, thighs, groin, abdomen, chest and throat. Tones organs of the abdomen, pelvis, and neck.

How to perform:

— Come to your knees, with your legs hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips. Keep your hips over your knees and internally rotate your thighs and squeeze your thigh muscles to activate them.

— Inhale to engage your lower belly and stretch your tailbone forward, creating space between your lower vertebrae. Inhale again, expand you chest and draw your elbows toward each other.

— Keep your chest open, spine long, chin tucked in as you drop your hands toward your heels and keep engaging your core.

— Press the heels of you palms into the heels of your feet while grabbing your feet. Keep lifting your spine up.

— Now lift your shoulders and engage your trapezius muscles to create a cushion on your cervical spine. Gently lower the head and neck and gaze at the tip of your nose.

— To exit, bring your chin back toward your chest and your hands to your hips. Keep engaging your lower belly and rise slowly using your hands to support your lower back.

Cautions: Don’t pinch the shoulders together and tense the neck. Also don’t compress the lower back down by squeezing the butt, that will push the knees wider than hip-width apart.

5. Seated Spinal Twist

Seated Spinal Twist Yoga Position

Seated Spinal Twist

Yoga twists can help loosen and lengthen the spine and can ease a stiff neck and shoulders. It also helps open the chest and increases the oxygen supply to the lungs.

How to perform:

— Sit up with both legs straight in front, keep your feet together and the spine extended.

— Bend the left leg and place the heal of the left foot beside the right hip. Place the right leg over the left knee, the left hand on the right knee and the right hand behind.

— Twist your waist, shoulders and neck to the right and look over the right shoulder. Keep extending the spine. Breathe gently and hold.

— Exhale while you release the hand behind you, keep your body posture upright. Repeat to the other side.

Stay fit and active in 2017 and enjoy a healthy lifestyle incorporating yoga, sports, fitness and healthy eating.

Re-Claim provides 24/7, worldwide cover for sports accidents and injuries. For more information go to www.bestsportsdoctors.com

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Fitness goals for health and wellness in 2017

Fitness goals for health and wellness in 2017

Start your New Year’s health-kick with a bang with these five goal-setting tips with Team-Re-Claim’s Grace Lee.

Goal-setting is very important. It can be the difference between achieving success. Here’s some simple advice I give my clients when they start a training programme.

 

Make specific goals

A goal needs to be as specific as possible so you can work towards it and achieve it. Whether you want to get stronger, faster or smaller, having a baseline can point you in the right direction. For example, a bad goal would be “get healthy”, while a specific goal would be to lose a certain amount of weight.

 

Have measurable goals

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. A measurable goal would be to focus on losing 10 pounds. Once you have that, you can quantify your progress and you can establish a time frame. Your goal may be to master a pull-up, run five miles or go to the gym four days a week. Whatever it is, you should have a definite way of knowing when you’ve reached it.

 

Fitness goals for health and wellness

Make sure your goals are attainable

While it can be helpful to set long-term goals, you need a more achievable goal on the horizon to keep you on track. You want to start small and see early results which encourages long-term consistency. If you set something too lofty straight away, it might be discouraging to not make progress as fast as you would like. You should also consider the size of your goal. For example, a goal of losing 30 pounds in one month just isn’t going to happen. You’re better off setting smaller goals that are easier to attain.

 

Set relevant goals

Finding your ‘why’ is easier said than done. Ask yourself, is this goal worthwhile and am I motivated to do it? Creating goals with motivation attached to it can give a bit of relevancy to what you are doing. For example, you may want to lose 10 pounds in two months in time for your wedding.

 

Be time conscious

Being strict about a deadline creates urgency. It’s also important not to set your sights too far in advance. If you give yourself four months to lose 10 pounds, that might be too long because you don’t have enough incentive to start work immediately. Instead, consider setting smaller goals along the way. Alternatively, maybe running a marathon is your long-term goal, but if you’ve never been a runner, signing up for a marathon that’s one month away is not realistic.

You should also be honest with yourself about what you’re able to accomplish in a given time frame. If losing 10 pounds is at the top of your list and you’re willing to make sacrifices in your social life and at work, you can attain that more quickly. And if not? That’s completely fine, you just need to adjust your expectations so they’re in line with your schedule and commitments.

 

Re-Claim provides 24/7, worldwide cover for sports accidents and injuries. For more information go to www.bestsportsdoctors.com

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What to expect in the world of fitness in 2017

What to expect in the world of fitness in 2017

As the new year approaches we look at the trends most likely to gain momentum in fitness in 2017.

 

Wearable Technology

Sales on items such as fitness trackers, pedometers and heart rate monitors will continue to soar in 2017.

 

Bodyweight Training

Fitness in 2017

We believe more and more people will be staying at home rather than paying large gym membership fees this year. You can perform effective exercises that can increase lean muscle mass without using fancy equipment. Simple push up and sit up variations as well as planks and other home exercises are a great alternative. They’re also perfect for lunchtime workouts and when you are travelling.

 

HIIT

Fitness in 2017

Check out HIIT2fit @ Publika with Chris Kha Khrang

The need for a fast workout is growing and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the perfect solution. You can burn more calories in 20 to 30 minutes than you can in a two hour jog. Check out HIIT2fit in Publika run by #TeamReClaim’s Chris Kha Khrang. Their classes combines the benefits of high performance training and live heart rate tracking into a truly fun group-based workout suitable for all fitness levels.

 

Educated & Experienced Fitness Professionals

With injuries becoming more prevalent, the need for fitness professionals who are educated in exercise science and movement will increase in the next 12 months. Finding someone who can create a science-backed programme to reduce your risk of injury is important.

 

Strength Training

Fitness in 2017 strength training

The appeal of strength training for both men and women and people of all ages is growing. Strength training is crucial to keeping our bodies healthy, especially as we age as it preserves muscle mass and increases our metabolism.

 

Group Training

Fitness in 2017

Everyone loves a bit of fun and group training is the perfect way to stay motivated and reach your fitness goals.

 

Exercise Is Medicine

People are starting to realise the best remedy to illness is exercise. Exercise is proven to improve your memory, sleep, strength and flexibility, work performance, energy levels, immune system and can reduce your chances of heart disease and cancer.

 

Yoga

Fitness in 2017 Yoga Ropes

Yoga has gained in popularity in Malaysia over the last five to ten years and will continue to see beginners and veterans roll out the mat. Like the point above, yoga is great for improving quality of sleep and relieving stress.

 

Personal Training

Keep a watch on the number of new gyms and personal trainers around Malaysia. We believe the sport, fitness and exercise industry will take off in the next 12 months with numerous athletes and fitness professionals starting various PT businesses.

 

Exercise & Weight Loss

It’s no new fact that nutrition and exercise are vital to weight loss. As a result, we believe more and more people will be conscious of remaining healthy. Finding an activity that can improve your aerobic capacity and physical health, as well as being fun, is the key.

 

Re-Claim provides 24/7, worldwide cover for sports accidents and injuries. For more information go to www.bestsportsdoctors.com

#TeamReClaim #AreYouCover #WeGotYourBack

*List based on research from American College of Sports Medicine

5 Smart Travel Tips For Competing Overseas With Shahrom Abdullah

5 Smart Travel Tips For Competing Overseas With Shahrom Abdullah

Here’s  Shahrom Abdullah with a few expert travel tips for competing overseas

Re-Claim: Shahrom, how important is preparation and doing the correct planning before you leave for competing overseas?

Shahrom: Preparation is key. Book your flights as early as possible to save costs and aim to reach your destination at least three to four days before the race, especially if you are racing in different time zones and different weather. Getting over jet lag and adjusting to warmer or cooler weather can take time.

Your lodging should ideally be close to the race site and within cycling or running distance to avoid stress in the morning of the race. If you’re staying far away, make sure you know the route to the race start and give yourself enough time to allow for traffic and road closures on race morning.

travel tips for competing overseas preparation

 

Re-Claim: Great! And what about your equipment?

Shahrom: If you bring your bike for competing overseas make sure your bicycle is race ready. It is worth the effort to learn how to pack, set up and tune your own bike, especially if you travel a lot for races. Always send your bike for service or tuning before packing it up to head overseas. The last thing you want is a mechanical problem on the bike after spending months training for your race.

travel tips for competing overseas equipment stored

 

Re-Claim: You mentioned adjusting to local time is important. How do you combat jet lag when competing overseas?

Shahrom: Jet lag is very likely when you are on long flights and the further you travel, the worse it gets. Try to adjust to local time as soon as possible. If you’re exhausted upon arrival, stay up until the evening.

travel tips for competing overseas adjust sleep patterns

 

Re-Claim: As a triathlete, you have a lot of clothes, accessories and equipment to bring? Does any of it go missing?

Shahrom: You need to organise your gear. The night before the race, lay out all your equipment and accessories and go through your checklist. For easier sorting, put related items in separate bags.

travel tips for competing overseas organise gear

 

Re-Claim: And diet is important. You can’t rely on airplane food to get you through?

Shahrom: Staying hydrated is the easiest way for your body to cope with travel, especially on flights where the atmosphere is dry. Always have a water bottle with you to sip throughout your journey. As for food, stick to normal and simple food. Try to minimise junk food intake as this will just add to your lethargy.

travel tips for competing overseas stay hydrated

 

Shahrom Abdullah is an elite athlete and adventurer, who in January 2016 became the first Malaysian to conquer the South Pole, trekking and skiing for 37 days.

You can contact Shahrom on his Facebook page

Stay tuned for more Team Re-Claim tips via Facebook & Instagram

Join Team Re-Claim to receive cover for sports accidents and injuries 24/7, worldwide.

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Best Mountain Bike Trails In Malaysia

Mountain biking is becoming an increasingly popular sport for thrill seekers. Littered with thousands of miles of well maintained trails that meander and wind across magnificent topography and through primeval jungles, hills, mountains and cities, Malaysia has become a hotbed for mountain biking in Asia. Here’s our top picks for the best mountain biking trails in Malaysia.

 

Taman Bukit Kiara

Best mountain bike trails in malaysia Bukit Kiara

Taman Bukit Kiara MTB Trail. Source: Star2.com

Our first destination is Taman Bukit Kiara situated on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. The track is 10km long and offers soft switchbacks and medium gradient slopes. It has medium-level ranking, so you will need some know how in mountain biking to get through this cross-country trail safely and efficiently.

 

Putra Challenge Park

Best mountain bike trails in malaysia Putrajaya challenge

Situated near Kuala Lumpur International Airport is Putra Challenge Park. You can spend an entire day here whizzing up and down the pump tracks, dirt tracks, down hill trails and many other features. Suitable for all levels of experience.

 

Kota Damansara Community Forest

 

Kota Damansara Community Forest is roughly 3.8km from Taman Bukit Kiara. There are two trails suitable for mountain biking that take you through a lush primary forest reserve featuring 8km of easy flat tracks and slightly tighter spots. The ride is generally fast, yet easy enough for beginners.

 

The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia

Best mountain bike trails in malaysia

The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia is a hidden gem for mountain bikers. Set in yet another mystical primary forest within the city, this course is full of wonderful things to see as well as being challenging enough to thrill most riders. The trail is very windy and goes through forest trails, bridges and little streams ensuring a muddy and fun ride. The trail is safe for all levels of bikers.

 

The Setia Alam Trails

Best mountain bike trails in malaysia Setia Alam Trails

The Setia Alam trails are certainly one of the most challenging trails near the city. The Kuala Lumpur Bike Hash sees hundreds of bikers gather to race through a track peppered with extreme downhill drops, single tracks and rocky gardens. We suggest at least an intermediate level of mountain biking for these trails.

 

Penang Island

 

Outside of the Klang Valley, Penang Island has some great surprises for bikers. The small island holds some of the steepest trails around the Penang Hills. This leads to an exhilarating fast single track with roots and sharp corners that are best handled by expert level technical riders.

 

Langkawi Island

Best mountain bike trails in malaysia Langkawi island

Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge 2013

Langkawi Island also boasts some magnificent trails and hosts regular competitions. It was the home of the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge from 2010 to 2014.

 

Cameron Highlands

 

Finally, the magnum opus of mountain biking in Malaysia, Cameron Highlands. The highlands boast cool weather and relatively drier and compact trails. There are two major trails here with the easiest being the 8km MNS Cameron Airport Circuit.

The gradient is generally low and the ride is much more scenic than challenging. The MNS Habu Circuit is a whopping 34km of arduous and often treacherous slopes, almost sheer downhill drops and cliffs that require skill, sharp reflexes and steady nerves.

Before your next ride, whether on one of these amazing trails or overseas, check out Re-Claim our blog on Equipment Cover.

For more information go to www.bestsportsdoctors.com

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5 Mountain Bike Set-Up Tips To Raise Your Game

Maintaining your bike so it is road or trail ready is just as important as insuring it for damage. Here’s #TeamReClaim’s resident mountain bike guru Kenny Kwan with 5 important mountain bike set-up tips for a safe and enjoyable ride.

 

Mountain bike set-up tips

Bike Guru Kenny Kwan

 

1. Brakes

The brakes have got to be responsive but not dead. The last thing you want to do is lock your wheels when braking at high speed.

 

2. Tyre Pressure

You want to have appropriate tyre pressure according to the following factors:

  • Rider’s weight
  • Rider’s skill level
  • Terrain. IE: hard, dusty, loose pebbles, tree roots
  • Weather conditions. IE: wet or dry

 

3. Front Fork and Rear Shock Air Pressure

Again, this depends on key factors like rider’s weight, terrain and weather. It is also determined by the kind of mountain biking you are doing. Both downhill and cross country have different set-ups.

 

4. Correct Transmission Set Up

Can be 3 x 10, 2 x 11 or 1 x 12. It all depends on what event you are riding in.

 

5. Pedals

Flat pedals or clipless pedals to give you better mobility and performance. This may change depending on your level of experience.

Other elements to look out for when setting up your bike include saddle position, carbon wheel set, closed ratchet hubs and ceramic bottom bracket. These are all things that can enhance performance and skill level.

Mountain Bike Set-Up Tips infographic courtesy of SportsCover Direct in the UK.

5 Mountain Bike Set Up TipsInfographic by SportsCover Direct.

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