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.

 

Listen…To Your Body

LISTEN………….

I always tell my clients and myself to ‘listen to your body”.  Many times we wait until we are injured and either not able to workout or we have to scale our exercise sessions a lot.

When we are in our 20’s and  early 30’s we  are able to push our bodies to its limits and without our bodies giving us any “back talk” or push back. Basically our bodies did as it was told so to speak. But as you get older you realize you cannot workout the same way you did in earlier years, yes your body has a voice and its talking to you.   Sometimes it whispers to you with a little twinge or minor ache here and there, basically a warning that says “slow down, take it easy, I need a day off, be kind and gentle to me .” Sometimes we may listen and cut back but other times we are so focused on getting our workout in and wanting that intense sweat we “power/ push through it until an injury has derailed us and knocked us on your butt.

 

I am a firm believer in cross training and you can do this by incorporating  flexibility training in your weekly routines, for example Pilates is a fantastic method of exercise to add to your routine, it not only stretches you but it also strengthens you and more importantly it will keep your core strong and your spine flexible. As Joseph Pilates said ” You are only as young as your spine is flexible”.

 

Other ways to cross train is by adding cycling, swimming, dancing, hiking, hula hooping Barre exercises adding weight training if you are not already do this.

 

The other aspect of honoring and listening to our bodies is to feed it wholesome, nourishing food. Including lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats in our daily diets and always hydrate, drink your water.

Let us love, respect, nourish, mindfully care for and move our bodies so we are able to continue this journey of movement into our  80’s and 90’s.

 

Have you been listening?

 

Extras from around the web:

 

Feeling Compressed?

The Importance Of Staying Fit and Healthy,Thriving and Finding Balance

Eat less,Exercise More isn’t The Answer For Weightloss.

Mediterranean Vegan Kale Salad

 

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