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.

 

Weekly Challenges

This weeks challenge is two fold. I am including an exercise as well as a nutrition goal, as you know nutrition and exercise goes hand in hand.

Pilates Spine Twist:

Spine Twist

Spine Twist

The Spine Twist increases spinal rotation and it strengthens the core.

Setup: Sit up with your legs straight ( bend the knees slightly if you have tight hamstrings),inner thighs zipped together. Reach your arms to shoulder height, inhale and rotate your torso to the right, pulsing twice with a sniffing breath.  your inner thighs should remained zipped and your flexed feet should not move during the exercise.   A great way to practice this move is sit facing a wall and keep your glued to the wall as you rotate.

Exhale return to the starting position and rotate to the left.

Perform this exercise 8-10 times.

Nutrition challenge:

Instead of your usual lettuce, kale or spinach rotation, why not try a new vegetable powerhouse. Venture out of your comfort zone and maybe add one, two or more of the following to your diet.  I have included links to recipes on how to prepare each if you need some ideas.

Escarole

Bok Choy

Endive

Watercress

Swiss Chard

Collard Greens

Turnip Greens

Radicchio

If you have a favorite way to prepare your vegetables please share.

Feel free to share and comment. Have a great week.

Something extra:

Here is a free E-book for a limited time only written by Dr Graham Cox and Nell Mead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Challenges

The weekly challenges/exercises I normally post on Facebook will now be posted here on the blog.  This week we will be performing the Bridge.  The goal is 2 sets of 10 repetitions. Perform this exercise slow and controlled and as always breathe.

The Bridge not only works your gluteus muscles and your hamstrings but it is also a great core and spinal stabilizer.

 

 

bridge

 

Source

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip distance apart and your arms by your side, palms down.
  2. Inhale to prepare
  3. Exhale, keeping your torso in one flat piece, press your feet into the mat and squeeze your butt as you lift your hips up and off the mat. Your body should make a straight line from your shoulder to your knee (There should be no pressure on your neck).
  4. Inhale here holding the Bridge position for 10-20 seconds.
  5. Exhale and lower to the mat.
  6. Repeat

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Have a great week everyone.