Signs of a Stroke

This  next post is a little different from my usual ones however, I think it is imperative to share.

I am sure we all  know someone that has had a stroke and depending on the severity of it is either going through therapy/rehab or has had therapy/rehab in the past.  Below  are a few signs to note if some one is having a stroke and if so seek medical attention  immediately. This is what I remember from my CPR and First Aid course.

  1. Ask the person to smile. Is one side of their face drooping?
  2.  Ask the person to raise their arms. Does one arm start to lower?
  3. Ask the person to repeat a very simple phrase. Is their speech slurred?
  4. Is there numbness or weakness  on one side of the body.
  5. Is he or she confused or having a difficult time understanding?
  6. Is he or she having a sudden painful headache?
  7. Is it difficult to walk?
  8. Is the person feeling dizzy, or is there a loss of balance?

For more information look  to The National Stroke Association website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hip Modifications in Pilates

 

do pilates

Here are a few modifications that I have used on myself as well as my clients when the hips pop, for example when doing single leg circles in Pilates.

Important point, if your hip hurts then before doing any modifications see your doctor before hand , these modifications are only if the hips are pain free. 

  1. Definitely make your circles smaller.
  2. Sometimes changing the position of your pelvis will eliminate the popping the sound.
  3. Adjust  or change your leg alignment.

Hope this helps.

Pilates for Cyclists

cyclists

The weather is nice and an increasing number of cyclists are out, whether they are riding for fun or riding for a cause or riding in a studio/ gym class.  Cycling is a great low impact form of exercise, however the downfall of cycling it often times leads to imbalances in the body. When cycling, the main focus is on the lower body, as a result  this leads to overly developed quads and calves, tight hamstrings and low back, overworked and tight hip flexors and the bent over or rounded shape of the spine and shoulders leads to poor posture, resulting in  rounded shoulders and thoracic kyphosis,  and  low back pain.

It is recommended  to add cross training to your routine  in order to work different muscles. By doing this you will  strengthen  the areas that are  weak, stretch where you are  tight and  as result balance your  body.  Yep, I am saying it, adding Pilates to your weekly routine will help with your  overall performance.

The focus on the “power house” or “core” in Pilates will allow cyclists to have more “oomph” or power from their lower body to pedal  along with improving flexibility and strength and proper alignment.   Your upper body strength will increase, low back pain will be prevented, improved balance, with the different types of breathing used in Pilates sessions the ability to ride for longer periods of time will improve and as mentioned before any imbalances in the body you may have will be corrected.

I will be sharing a few Pilates exercises  both equipment based and ones performed on the mat for those of you that are not able to make it a studio.

Part One:  Mat Work

Pelvic Curl:

Great for spinal articulation and strengthens the low back.

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Spine Twist: 

Increases spinal rotation and strengthens the core. Great stretch for back .

Spine Twist

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leg Pull Down:

Stretches the Achilles Tendon, strengthens the core, the scapular and lumbopelvic stabilizers, hip flexors, hamstrings and gluteus maximus.

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Shoulder Bridge:

Works the powerhouse and hamstrings, back extensors and glutes.

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Thigh Stretch:

Stretches and strengthens the quadriceps, increases torso stabilization, and strengthens the back.

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Kneeling Side Kicks:

Strengthens the abductors hip flexors, shoulders, lats. Great for hamstring flexibility and stabilizes pelvis.

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Swimming:

Strengthens the back and hip extensors and works the glutes at the same time. Great for pelvic stability.

Side Leg Bananas:

Strengthens the hips and obliques and great for torso stability.

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Single Leg Kick:

Strengthens the hamstrings,back extensors and glutes. Stretches the quads and improves the stability of the shoulders.

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Pilates Pushups:

Strengthens the entire body and improves upper body strength.

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Side Leg Bicycle:

Strengthens  the hips and glutes and improves the stability  of the pelvis and torso.

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Seal:

Great for balance and coordination. Fantastic massage for the spine and just plain fun.

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These are just a few of the Pilates mat exercises that can be included in your daily routine.   Stay tuned for part two , equipment based Pilates exercises in the next few weeks.

 

 

 

 

A Healthy Spine

 

There are two popular quotes from Joseph Pilates that many are familiar with and if you have never seen them or heard anyone say them here they are:

” You are only as young as your spinal column.”

” If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.’

When you really think about it, it makes complete sense. Our bodies/spines are designed to move with freedom not with restrictions.  The exercises in Pilates works all the movements of  the spine to keep it healthy, flexible and strong.

The spine is worked in extension ( backward bending), flexion (forward bend), lateral flexion (side bending), rotation (twisting). By working the spine in all different directions we create a proper balance and maintain proper alignment and posture.

Before I show you some of the exercises that goes along with each spinal movement, I would like to explain axial extension or lengthening.  All the movements in Pilates focus on lengthening  the spine or creating space, we do not collapse or sink into the movements. We always want to think of lengthening.

Below are a few of the exercises that goes along with the above mentioned movements.

Flexion

Chest Lift, Hundred and The Roll Up.

Pilates Hundred

Pilates Hundred

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rotation

Side Bend Twist, Spine Twist, Criss Cross

Spine Twist

Spine Twist

 

 

 

 

*important to note the rotation comes from the spine not the shoulders or neck*

 

 

Lateral Flexion

Mermaid, Side Bend.

Side Bend

Side Bend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extension

Swan, Swimming, Leg Pull Up, Shoulder Bridge.

Leg Pull Up

Leg Pull Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed this weeks post. Feel free to share.

 

Burning a 100 Calories with Chobani

We have all heard sitting is the new smoking so we are concerned with burning calories through out the day. Adding small spurts of movement in the day adds up to burning off 100 calories or more daily.   Chobani  has a new line of yogurts called Chobani Simply 100 Crunch.   Chobani is encouraging us to live life lighter whether by walking an extra mile daily or eating 100 calories less.

A few ways I like to incorporate exercise into to my daily routine is to play my fav music and dance I do this while cleaning my house as well, yes cleaning is great calorie burner too. I also take a 10-15 minute break and go for a brisk walk.

On days I need a quick snack that won’t derail my healthy plan I grab yogurt. Chobani Simply 100 is the perfect size to grab and go and best of all there is a “crunch” and who doesn’t love a good crunch.

Here are a few ways to burn 100 calories feel free to print and keep.

chobani_100cal_12version (1)

How do you plan to incorporate exercise to your daily routine?

 

 

 

 

Relieve, Release, Relax Your Muscles

Hope everyones day  is going well.     I will be sharing with you some new Massage Balls that I have been using for a few weeks now.  I would like to introduce to you, sFera Massage Balls.

Sfera Balls

There is a lot of information out  on the benefits of not only getting a massage but also  a lot on myofascial release using props such  as a the foam roller the stick and of course balls, go ahead google it.

This set of massage balls comes neatly packed in there own tote bag, which is convenient to travel with. There are 4 balls in the set, 1. large ball 4″ 2. 1 small ball 2.5″ and 3. 2 small spiky balls 2″.

Tote Bag

 

The balls are made from  eco friendly materials that grip and grab the skin ( conforming to which ever part you are rolling out).

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Sfera Balls and Tote Bag

I really like the the large ball for rolling out my quadriceps, my glutes and my hamstrings. I found this ball perfect for really massaging/releasing my hamstrings and much better in my opinion than the foam roller for releasing my “knots” and the ball did not slide out from under my leg.

The small ball is perfect for smaller areas like my calves and the soles of my feet. Great for boosting circulation and stimulating all the nerves in the feet and at the end of a long who does not like a good foot massage?  The spiky balls are designed to be used on your hands as well as feet and if you are brave they can be used on your scalp. Just be aware that spikes are a little hard so you will definitely be getting a deeper massage.

I really like this product and I use it daily.  I highly recommend them, you won’t be disappointed.

Have you ever used massage balls? Which one is your favorite? If you give these a try let me know.

I will be reviewing more products I like in the next few weeks.

 

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review. 

 

Tried and True

In Pilates one exercise builds off another. Its important to “build” from the foundation/basics. Once the foundation has been established, you gradually move on to more complex moves.

Mermaid

However, reviewing and reminding ourselves of these foundational principles/movements from time to time is highly beneficial, not only for students but also instructors. I often revisit these in my own practice.  Never stop learning and improving.  The method is tried and true.

 

 

 

 

A Little History

Happy September!!!

I hope you are all having a fantastic September so far.  I thought I would share an interesting interview/discussion on Memories of Mr Joe Pilates.  Enjoy!

A little extra Pilates history:

Origins of Pilates

Have a great week friends.

Around the Web

 

Thought I would share with you some  interesting articles I have come across from around the web. Grab a cup of “joe” and enjoy.

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This is one of the most basic human postures but many are unable to.  This article goes into the health benefits  of being able to do this:   5 Reasons to Full Squat 

What happens when you Stop Drinking Diet Soda

Signs You Are Not Getting Enough of this Mineral

Strength Training Moves that Double as Cardio

Cerebral palsy Does Not Stop Laura From Teaching Pilates

What are your favorite reads from around the web?