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?

 

 

The Pilates Roll Up

 

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The Pilates roll up works the abdominals but it also works on spinal articulation.  When performed correctly the rollup is more effective on strengthening the abdominals than countless crunches.

As a side note you may have noticed the count or rep range in Pilates is remarkably less than most fitness exercises, except for the Pilates hundred.  You may have wondered why, and I will let Mr Pilates answer this with one of his many quotes ” A few well designed movements properly performed in a balanced sequence are worth more hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.”    The focus in Pilates quality over quantity.

 

joe-1440x900

 

Let’s get back to the Roll up. Personally, I have had a love hate relationship with this exercise when I just started  Pilates, because I was not able to perform the exercise correctly, but through practice and some helpful tips/modifications on my Pilates journey  the roll up has become one of my favorite exercises.  The purpose of this article is to  share some of the  modifications I not only used for myself but ones I use with my clients.

Common “roadblocks” while performing this exercise is 1. weak abdominals 2. a tight low back  3. not recruiting the bum and hamstrings.

The first tip is to keep your knees bent and as you roll up straighten your legs.

2. Place a rolled up towel under your low back and press into the towel as roll up and roll down.

3. Holding light weights 1-2lbs during the exercise will help.

4. Use your hands to help you, this is done by holding the back of your thighs

5. The half roll back is a great way practice.

Instructions for Half Roll Back:  Sit tall and roll back to about the top of your pants, maintaing the C curve, and roll back up, again you can hold the back of your thighs to assist.

6. Remember to press the back of your thighs into the mat and to squeeze your glutes.

7.Place a theraband around your feet and holding the ends in your hands. Use the band to assist the roll up.

Be patient with your self and keep practicing.

Pilates is grace, strength and stability through movement.

Need a little “Oomph”.

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We have all had those days when we are either too tired to workout or lack motivation or just feel blah.   Yes I have those days too but here are a few tips I use when I lack that motivation and just need a little “oomph”.

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1. Get some Vitamin D, that is taking a walk outside whether its in your  neighborhood or at the park. Inevitably the walk turns into a run and hello endorphins.

2. Turn up the music. Whatever will get you moving and dancing, for me its Reggae!

3. Commit to a 10  minute workout and I guarantee you will feel so good after 10 minutes you may want to do more, but if not no worries.

4.  Foam roll and stretch your body. I know for me personally after doing this  I feel so much better that I always end up doing some form of exercise after.

5. Take your pooch for a walk.

6. Go to the mall, whether an indoor mall or an outdoor one, this way you are still active .

Do you have any tips you would like to share when you feel like skipping your workout? Please do so in the comments.

 

Weekend Highlight: Athleta and Barre3

Liz and Allison and Jodie

Hi guys,

This is a slightly different post from the norm. This past weekend I was able to combine two of my favorite things ( other than Pilates:)) and that is going to one of may favorite fitness apparel stores, Athleta and taking a Barre3 class.  Athleta is an awesome fitness apparel store that has three locations here in Houston and they offer different free fitness classes in their stores.

As many of you know I like to change my exercise routine often, cross training is definitely something I promote, go ahead mix up your training routine.

A little background /insight on the workout, from the Barre3 website:

We draw from multiple influences to create innovative classes that focus on length, grace, and a healthy body.

Sadie Lincoln, barre3 founder, works closely with a team of experts including yogis, professional dancers, doctors, and athletes to craft highly efficient workouts. Focusing on a unique combination of dynamic movement and isometric holds, the sequences work strategically to transform the body and develop long term postural benefits. A continuously evolving variety of movements keep the classes challenging, fun, and fresh. Whether you work out in the studio or at home, barre3 fits your life while enhancing it with greater functional strength, higher energy, and a sense of ease.

Barre3

Barre3

 

Athleta and Barre3 partnered up to allow fellow Houstonians to experience a live Barre3 class.    Liz Fitzgerald, the Franchise Development Manager and Master Trainer Allison Beam came down and hosted/taught the classes this weekend, these two ladies were just so very nice and you could see their passion and love for the workout.  Their excitement for upcoming session was contagious!!

 

Franchise Development Manager and Master Trainer

Franchise Development Manager and Master Trainer

Full disclosure, I have taken quite a few in studio Barre3 classes and the workout is phenomenal.   This weekends class did not disappoint, yes I felt the burn and the shaking muscles. The workout is based on isometric holds, which work your muscles to their deepest point, the one inch moves increases your body temperature ( hello sweat!!) and the dynamic moves raises the heart rate.  

Forward fold stretch

Forward fold stretch

 

Twist

Twist

 

If you are not able to experience a live class, (they have a few studios here in Texas), you can order the DVDs from their site or sign up for the online subscription classes.  If you would still like to learn more, connect with them on Facebook .

What was your highlight from the weekend?

Weekly Challenge

A Pilates routine is not complete without the Pilates Hundred.  I like to include the ball in the sessions to keep the lower body still.

 

pilateshundred with ball

Pilates Hundred with a ball

 

Source

Lie on your back with legs in table top position keep your shins parallel and curl up keeping your shoulders away from your ears. Pump your arms inhale for 5 breaths and exhale for 5.

Keep your abs engaged and keep your eyes on your thighs.

Have a great week.