Pilates and Running Part 2

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These exercises are a continuation from the previous post.

As always check with your doctor before engaging in any exercise activity.

Swan Dive

( This exercise is great for  increasing back extension as well as strengthening the back extensors, hamstrings and gluteals).

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Lie on your stomach, palms on the mat.  Lift your upper body into extension as you press your hands into the mat. Reach the arms forward while rocking your chest towards the mat.

Bring your hands back underneath you and catch your body in the Swan position.

* Remember to keep head, neck and spine in alignment, keep your abs engaged the entire time. *

Side Kick Kneeling

( Great for challenging your balance, torso and pelvis stability, improves hamstring and hip flexors  flexibility, strengthens shoulders and lats and strengthens the hips).

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From a kneeling position,lean over to one side until your hand touches the mat. Extend your leg to the side to hip height. Keep your bottom hip pressed forward so your torso is as straight as possible.

Kick the top leg forward and back, 6-10 times is sufficient and switch sides.

Corkscrew

( Increases spinal rotation, back flexibility,scapular stability and core control.)

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Lying on your back, straighten legs to the ceiling. Tilt your legs to one side,allowing your hips to lift off the floor. Allow your legs to swing  down towards the floor, circle through center and up the opposite side.  Keep your legs together, shoulders anchored, and make smooth even circles in both directions.

Clam Shells

( Strengthens gluteus medius.)

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Lie on your side, heels are in line with the gluteals.  Hips flexed at 45 degrees, knees at 90 degrees.  Abdominals are engaged and your pelvis is neutral.

Keep your ankles and feet glued together as you abduct the top leg, without allowing your hips to roll back. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Thigh Stretch

( Stretches and strengthens quadriceps, core control.)

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Kneeling with your ares extended, parallel , hinge back keep pressing the pelvis forward, leading with the pubic bone.  There should be no movement  in the body only at the knee joint.

I hope you enjoy this little sequence.

Have a great week and stay warm!

 

 

 

Pilates and Running

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Whether you run for fun or you are serious about running marathons, trying to improve your speed or endurance or you are just starting out, including Pilates in your weekly routine will help you to remain injury free and strong.

Here are a few benefits of Pilates for runners:

Pilates stretches and strengthens you at the same time and will use muscles that are not specifically used in running.

Pilates will improve a runner’s overall strength, flexibility, balance and mobility.

Pilates exercises will help keep the pelvis in a  stabilized  level plane therefore allowing the extremities more range of motion and flexibility.

Pilates will improve a runners posture by elongating the spine and strengthening the muscles of the back as well as maintaining proper alignment in the knee ankle and foot.

Your core will be a lot stronger thus helping to relieve the pressure on your joints.

Here are a few Mat exercises to add to your training routine.

 

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Pilates Mat Exercises Part 1

Roll Up

(Rolling up slowly and incrementally helps to lengthen the muscles of the low back, increases the flexibility and articulation of the spine and increases core strength).

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Lie on your back, reach your arms up over your head, keeping the back of your lowest rib on the mat. Inhale, reaching your arms up towards the ceiling,  exhale and lift your head up between your arms, continue the rolling up

and reach towards your feet.  Return to the start position by gently squeezing the buttocks and tuck the tailbone to begin the roll back.

Single Leg Circles

(Great for stretching hamstrings, increasing flexibility and mobility of hips, core control, pelvic stability)

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Lie on your back, straighten your leg towards the ceiling, pointing the foot, maintain the stability of the pelvis. Circle your leg across your body and down and out and away from your body. Repeat circles in each direction, lower leg and repeat on the opposite leg.

Saw

(Increases spinal rotation, stretches mid and upper back, lengthens low back muscles, lengthens the hamstrings, lengthens the quadratus lumborum which lifts the hip,creates balance in pelvis).

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Sit up tall with your legs straight and open, shoulder width apart. Reaching your arms out to the side. Rotate torso to one side, reaching the arm in front towards the little toe of the opposite foot.

Return to the starting position with our evening distributed on the sit bones and repeat the rotation on the opposite side.

Swimming

(Strengthens the back and hip extensors,improves pelvic stability, opens the chest).

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Lie on your stomach with your arms reaching overhead and your legs straight. Lift the right arm and the left leg, switching to the left arm and right leg quickly without rocking your hips from side to side.

A few reminders:

Keep your abdominals engaged, keep your shoulders away from your ears and breathe!

Hope you enjoyed this  post, part 2 posting soon. Let me know if you add these exercises to your routine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude Fridays

We will always have something to be grateful for, no matter how small it may be.

“The more you recognize and express gratitude for the things you have, the more things you will have to express gratitude for.” -Zig Zigler

My lemon juicer! You have no idea how this little gizmo makes it so much easier to squeeze the juice out of a lemon so I can have my lemon water daily.  Ahh the little things.

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My endless supply of fresh vegetables.

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Sunrise

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Fresh flowers.

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Balancing on my Balanced Body foam roller for fun.

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What are you grateful for this week? Please share in the comments.

Some exciting things coming up on the blog soon.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The most important thing you can do is do a monthly breast exam and do a mammogram as soon as your doctor recommends it.

As a Post Rehabilitative Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist through The Pink Ribbon Program I am able to develop a specific Pilates exercise program to fulfill the needs of survivors.  Here are a few benefits of this specific Pilates based program:

Note this is a specific exercise protocol form of Pilates training.

Pilates is beneficial to breast cancer survivors as well as those undergoing chemotherapy who would like to regain strength. These are just a few benefits to be gained from this specialized program.

  • improves lymphatic drainage with proper breathing techniques
  • restores overall range of motion, flexibility, strength and endurance
  • restores  postural alignment and balance
  • enhances core strength and endurance
  • improved circulation

As an instructor my goal is to help you get back to your everyday routines.

Here are a few important links:

Breast Cancer.org

Susan G Komen

 

Gratitude Fridays

I thought this would be a fun addition to the blog.   I know we have all heard of having a gratitude journal, where you write down 5 or more things you are grateful for whether you write it everyday or once a week . There really is no rule as to when or how much you want to write or how small or great it is. The simple things brings the greatest joy.

I will share here just a few things I have been grateful for this week,  it will be more pictures than words.

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Coffee ( i am a huge fan)

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Joseph Pilates ( self explanatory)

 

 

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Beautiful Scenery ( gotta love vacations)

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Saw this duck and her babies early one morning at work. How adorable!!

Pilates Breathing

 

 

There are 7 Pilates principles but I will be featuring the first one and that is “Breathing“.  Not only can proper breathing be used to decrease stress, lower our blood pressure  it can also help to facilitate movement and increase out mobility in exercises.

I always teach the following the breathing exercises to my Pilates clients:  Belly Breathing, One lung Breathing, Lateral Breathing and Sniffing Breath.  I will briefly  explain each one and share a few exercises that we use them in. I have also included the purpose/objective of each exercise for those of you that like to know why we perform each one.

Belly Breathing:

Place you hands on to your stomach and take a deep inhale so your belly expands like a balloon, on the exhale draw the abdomen in towards the spine expelling all the air. This type of breathing is used while performing Footwork on the Reformer.  The footwork is a fundamental move used following the warmup exercises before transitioning to the other exercises in the sequence.

Objective of the Footwork:  to strengthen the hip extensors, knees extensors, the feet, to align the foot and leg and to develop pelvic lumbar stabilization.

Footwork

Footwork

Lateral  (intercostal )Breathing:

This is when you breathe into the back and sides of your ribs, without allowing your abdomen to expand.  This type of breathing often used in the Pilates Hundred exercise.

Objective of the Hundred: to strengthen the abdominal muscles and for pelvic lumbar stabilization.

Hundred

Hundred

One Lung Breathing:

This type of breathing is as it sounds, breathing into one one side of your lungs at a time. This  type of breathing is used while performing the Mermaid.

Objective of the Mermaid:  Teaches spinal movement to the side, scapula stabilization, spinal mobility and stretches the quadratus lumborum, internal and external obliques.

Mermaid

Mermaid

Sniffing Breath:

This is when you take really small breaths through your nose and you exhale through pursed lips. This type of breathing is used while performing the Side Leg Series.

Objective of the Side Leg Series:  To learn and develop disassociation at the hips and  to stabilize pelvic lumbar area.

 

Side Leg Series

Side Leg Series

 

Remember to Breathe!

Have a fabulous Friday.

 

 

 

 

It’s Ok To Not Be Perfect!

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Swan on Ladder Barrel

“Remember, too, that ‘Rome was not built in a day,’ and that PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.” -Joseph Pilates

 In our journey to self love and improving our health with both food and exercise please remember  it’s ok to not be perfect!!

In our journey of improving our health through diet and exercise and self love we unknowingly set ourselves up for failure by striving to be perfect in how we eat and or exercise. That is exhausting!! By that I mean do you feel guilty for eating a piece of chocolate? Do you beat yourself up for skipping a workout? How do you speak to yourself for a less than perfect day/meal?  Why should we put our mind and body through that stress or turmoil?

Remember your body hears everything your mind says. Think positive thoughts.

Believe me I understand all these feelings but as Mr Pilates has reminded us in  the above quote “Rome was not built in a day”. We need to be patient with ourselves and most of all not to give up!

Be happy with yourself for all the positive changes you make on daily basis, yes why not  congratulate yourself, give yourself a “pat on the back”. Changing/working on our health is a continuous process, we are all trying to do our best.

Keep making healthy choices, move your body daily, it can be running, dancing, Pilates, walking whatever you enjoy, whether it is 10 minutes, 30 minutes an hour.

Personally, the more I focus on nourishing my body with good clean food,  honoring  and listening to my body when it needs rest, being kind and gentle with myself the easier this journey becomes.

Let’s stay positive in our thoughts and thank our bodies for all it has accomplished.  And BE HAPPY!!

Feel free to leave a comment to keep this discussion going.

 

 

Link Love And An App

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Here are a few interesting articles I have been reading, hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Heard of Fascia? Learn more about it here to keep your body healthy.

If you are trying to green here are a few tips from Martha Stewart.

The Gut Brain Connection. This article states that the brain has a direct effect on the gut.  Read more about it here.

 

We have all heard of journaling you meals for the day/week. In the past we would have a notebook where we would write out what we we ate and drank or snacked on through out the day.  Then came the era of apps! First one that comes to mind is MyFitnessPal, which is a calorie counting app among many others. There is nothing wrong with either formats of food journaling.

But I would like to share with you another app that I use as well as my clients. It is called TwoGrand.   This app allows you to take photos of your meals, ( and really who does not like to pictures of their food), separating them by breakfast,lunch and dinner as well as by snack and drinks.  You can even post your exercise/workout for the day if you so desire.  There is no calorie counting involved but you are given a “play by play” of how you are eating/drinking for the day/week.  This is a great way to see where you may need to improve on. As the saying goes a “picture is worth a thousand words”.   You can also follow people and see how they eat and get some really good recipes in the process. The app has a section where you are asked a series of questions regarding your food choices etc and by answering these questions you are able to personalize the list of people to follow with similar goals or  food choices like you.

You can read more about the app here.  I really like there Nutrition Philosophy. This resonated with me because this is how I feel as well, there is no one size fits all “diet”. What may work for me food wise may not work for everyone else.

Have you read any interesting articles? Have you used a food tracking app before? 

Up on the blog tomorrow: Featuring a Pilates Principle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Your Brain Fit

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Source

We have all heard about the many benefits of having a regular exercise routine and yes as a fitness professional I “preach” about all the health benefits of exercise.  But we often neglect to mention how important it is to keep our minds active as well.  In fact, 2 new studies suggest that a habit of regular exercise and staying mentally active may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are a few ways to keep our brains healthy and functioning well:  1 Learning a foreign language, which stimulates the areas of the brain that process reading, speaking etc  2. Playing chess, and my personal favorite  Sudoku, ( I have 3 Sudoku books, I cannot get enough) crossword puzzles are also great. 3. Socializing with friends is also a great way to maintain out brain health. 4. Playing memory 5. Learn a new skill  and 6. there are countless books on brain teasers, in fact just walking through Barnes and Noble I saw 10 of these types of books.

These are a just a few ways to keep our brains healthy and if you would like to learn more about Brain Health here are a few online resources you can look into:

Pilates and the Mind Body Connection

10 Ways To Keep Your Mind Sharp

Using the Brain May Ward Off Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s Association

 

Stay healthy!!

 

A Pilates Poem

I came across this poem a few years ago and fell in love with it.  This is truly how the method makes you feel.

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TRULY ALIGNED-AN ODE TO PILATES TEACHERS

 

Before- A disconnected being with wobbly, unfocused ways.

I sauntered life’s course like a subway train.

With tunnel vision, I had no map- only jerky stops and careless slouching.

Finally- A teacher took me by the hand and refined my awareness like grains of sand.

She said stop that habit and listen to me -there is a whole new way for you to be.

Then piece-by-piece, she stacked me up and I drank in wisdom from the Pilates cup.

Moving about with elegant control, I learned to feel the center of my soul.

Now- I live each movement with my breath, and stretch the boundaries of my existence.

I perceive no limits with my body or my mind

For I am now- Truly Aligned.

Author: Unknown.