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Fitness Frequency Gets Results for Better Health

Fitness FrequencyBy ramping up your fitness frequency you can start enjoying the benefits of better whole-body health.

Why should you care about fitness frequency?  As Americans we spend waaaaay to much time sitting on our rumps, slumping with poor posture. This not only affects our strength, flexibility, and physical ability to move, but sitting  – at work, commuting in the car, watching tv, and staring at your computer screen or other digital gadgets – is wearing the body out at a rate that might be affecting your lifespan too!

In a U.S News & World Report article, James Levine, an endocrinologist and researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, addresses this idea of a lack of fitness frequency.  And, while this article was written in 2012, I’m afraid conditions may be worse now than they were 5 years ago.  Are we moving more, taking better care of our health? Or, are we struggling, battling diseases and chronic health challenges caused by inactivity and poor lifestyle choices?

“The human being is designed to move,” says Levine, “you need to move your body. If you stop your body, idle it—which sitting is—it crumbles on every level.” What can result is an increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, and possibly Alzheimer’s disease,says Levine.

Studies show that the average American sits for about eight hours a day. “Sitting is like a disease,” says Edward Phillips, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. “The goal is to avoid prolonged sitting and to add any kind of physical activity to your day.” Any movement you can do, even something as simple as tapping your feet, is a start, says Phillips.

From my perspective as a Pilates expert and functional movement specialist who spends a lot of my time with clients who are challenged with pain and chronic posture-related wear & tear injuries from lack of use and repetitive mis-use, we need fitness frequency executed with the best possible breathing, body alignment, and proper muscle firing patterns or we’re putting more stress on the body and increasing the risk of injury from our workouts.  

There must be a good balance between fitness frequency, intensity, and healthy movement habits to enjoy the best possible health benefits from your efforts.

If you don’t realize that every time you do a squat, you’re rolling out on your feet, or twisting your hips to use one leg a little more than the other… and you do this over and over again (with or without weights for extra resistance) sooner or later your ankles, knee, hips, or back are going to bail out causing pain and potential injury.  But, taking the time to focus on your form and learn how to find and use the right muscles from your feet, through your hips, core, and all the way up to your head, you can do lots of squats to stay fit and injury-free!  This is just one example of using an exercise to benefit your health.

If what you’re doing hurts…it’s probably not something you should continue.  But that doesn’t mean that there is NOTHING you can do safely to keep moving!  You just might not know what you can do; or how to do it correctly. This is when seeking expert advice can make a huge difference in the results you’re getting with your fitness program to be confident that you CAN do more, and more often without risk of getting hurt.

It’s not all about having 6-pack abs, or a body-builder physique…  If you want that, you’re going to really have to work for it.  Fitness frequency, to me, means moving well on a daily basis to keep my body feeling good, staying strong, fit, and flexible so that I can enjoy sports and activities. This also allows me to do what I want, when I want, because my body will let me!  It’s learning to take what I’m doing with my muscles and movements in my fitness workouts and applying them to all my daily life activities. So, when I sit, I’m sitting taller; when I climb stairs, I’m using my glutes and hamstrings more than my knees; when I carry laundry and groceries, I’m using my core; as I’m driving, I can be confident that my shoulders are relaxed instead of wrapped around my ears.  I can easily bend down and pick something up, standing back up without throwing my back out!  My feet don’t hurt so I can walk, jump, and jog.  I practice fitness frequency so that as I continue to age, I’m not getting old – feeling old or forced to acting old because I’ve gotten lazy, or let the little aches and pains I had incapacitate me.

Yes, rest when you’re injured.  Continue to do things that hurt? You will stay hurt!  You might need a mental adjustment to help shift your focus and find things you can do that don’t hurt.  Even if it’s not your “favorite” activity, it’s allowing you to move safely. In the end it’s going to be a good choice to help you up your fitness frequency and improve your whole-body health.

We will never be able to out-exercise our diet!  And if you are sitting in a chair for 8 hours a day at work, then go home and watch tv for another 2-4 hours, sit for 1.5-3 hours a day for meals, and lie down to sleep for 7-8 hours a night, you’ve spent roughly 18.5 – 23 of the last 24 hours not moving!  Even a 1-hour workout daily can’t completely offset this lack of physical movement. Get up and get moving!

What can you do to up your fitness frequency?

  1. Plan more moments of movement into your daily routine.
    • Stand up, walk, squat, lunge, stretch your arms, legs, and torso, bend in all directions – forward, backwards, twist, and side bend.
    • Start your day with 10-15 minutes of exercise.
  2. Take the stairs whenever possible.
  3. Park your car farther away and walk. When you get home, take a quick 10-15 min walk around the block before you go inside. Walk slow, walk fast, walk, walk, walk…
  4. Set an alarm to get up out of your chair at work and do at least 2-3 minutes of simple standing stretching and movement exercises every hour.
  5. Be conscious of your posture habits. Be sure they are good posture habits!
  6. Find a variety of physical activities and sports you enjoy. Do something daily to improve your cardio, strength, and flexibility! (keep in mind how many hours you’re not moving… be sure you’ve got lots of minutes build into your daily routine to be moving too!)

Unfortunately, younger and younger people are dealing with health issues that used to only challenge an older population.  A big part of this is how much we’re NOT moving.  Get inspired, get off your duff, and plan more minutes of fitness into your every day and weekly wellness routine.  Move it or lose it!  Use more minutes of movement to amp up your fitness frequency, improve your longevity, and help make a positively impact on your whole-body health. 

Posted by administrator in Exercise and Fitness.

Work vs. Force: Optimizing your Efforts for Health Improvement and Exercise

Stop Struggling to Get Benefits from Your Workouts and Reduce the Risk of Injury by Paying Attention to Work vs. Force.  work vs. force

What are Your Movement Habits?

Are you able to efficiently maximize the benefits from your exercise program, or do you tend to force your way through, pushing hard to get it done, whatever the exercise might be? When we exercise it’s called a “workout” because there is effort involved in doing the work necessary to improve cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility.  But how well are you really working out?

Maybe you’re not sure what the difference between work and force is and how it might be affecting your ability to get the health improvement benefits you want from your efforts. I believe the work vs. force dilemma is something relevant for people at all ability levels on the spectrum of health.  If you’re highly fit, strong, and flexible your ability to “push” is greater. Along with this push comes a much higher risk of injury.  It can be easier to override signals the brain sends out – be cautious, rest, don’t push as hard – because you ARE an athlete. You expect your body to do what you tell it to, when you tell it to, because you are always striving to do more.

At the other end of the spectrum are people like me who, for whatever reason, have chronic health challenges, fatigue, inflammation, and injuries that take longer to heal. These folks may have the tendency to sit back and do nothing, waiting until their body feels better.  But this isn’t always the best health improvement strategy either.

Regardless of whether you’re a super-fit athlete, someone who is struggling with chronic health challenges, or somewhere in-between, having a better understanding of work vs. force to connect mind, body, and movements during your workouts can help you harness the energy you need to stay safe, pace yourself appropriately, and ensure that you’re using the right amount of muscle to do the work, without forcing the body past the point of no return leading to injury.

Have you ever done the “push” test with a friend?  Find a buddy and stand facing each other. Place your palms together in front of your chest like a push-up.  Gradually, one of you starts pushing – when this happens, what does the other person automatically do?  Push back, right?  The one who pushes the hardest will force the other person off-balance.  If there is equal force, you will both just stand there pushing hand to hand, going nowhere.  And what if nobody pushes?

When doing a sit-up, do you throw your arms forward to get up and yank on your head with your hands? Or, are you using the muscle work of your abdominals and core to sit up? Do you find  your arms and shoulders to doing most of the work?  Either way, you’re going to get up. However, the question is which of these options is actually working to improve your technique and get the right muscles working to improve core strength.

Imagine you are doing a standing bicep curl exercise. If you lean back with your body to “swing the bar up,” are you working the bicep muscles, strengthening the arms, or are you using momentum (and your lower back) to do the movement?  You’re either working the biceps, or you’re forcing a bar up that’s too heavy for you to lift correctly with the right muscles. Which of these is going to maximize health benefits?

Using the correct muscles to work is important as you move. If you aren’t able to move using the right muscles, how many of the wrong ones will your body recruit to “force” the body to complete the task?  Doing this over and over again, will cause your brain to start to believe “The muscles I’m using right now and the way I’m doing this exercises is the correct way to do it.  Always do it this way.”  Suddenly you’ve created a habit, or movement pattern, that will have you repeatedly reinforcing bad habits.  The body might be able to do it this way for a while, but sooner or later the repetitive wear and tear will take its toll and an injury will occur.

As you work you should actually become more conscious of your movement habits, posture, breathing, body alignment, and how to do the work correctly.  This means your workouts become a continuous improvement program.  The last rep you do should always be your best one.  And if you’re too fatigued to do a good one STOP before you recruit muscles that don’t need to be involved!

A part of why I love Pilates is because the Pilates Method brilliantly helps train the mind-body-movement connection, improves posture and body alignment, can help retrain and rebalance muscle habits, and focuses on low reps so that the last one IS always the best one.  I also believe it’s easier to learn how to “work” with the resistance of a spring.  And of course, with time, everything you can learn through Pilates can transfer to every other sport, physical activity, and exercise you do.

My husband, Ford, is a cyclist;  a consistent work vs. force example.  When you ride a bike, you can either mash down on the pedals (forcing them to turn) or you can “spin” them by using a balance of quads and hamstrings to both push down and pull up on the pedals – creating a work vs. force movement.

When the group of guys my husband rides with meets, they start by deciding as a group what kind of ride they’re going to do that day.  Some days it’s long and fast;  other days they decide on long and slower; other days shorter; or, because they had a hard ride the day or two before, they might do a “recovery” ride.

If you’re really in-tune with your body, there will be days where you can push harder and do more, and days where you need to coast – keep moving, but do less, do lighter, go slower.  This group of cyclists has identified the need to vary their workouts to give themselves the recovery they need to correctly move, or rest, those muscle groups. They understand that you have to put forth effort that is in line with the energy you have to expend rather than forcing the body to do more than it’s capable of that day.  Tomorrow, check-in with your body and perhaps it will be refreshed and ready to work harder.

Regardless of the type of workouts you do, keep in mind the thought of work vs. force.  Remember the saying, “You can’t force a square peg into a round hole!”  Forcing your way through an exercise will not improve your health.  Forcing your body to do a long, hard workout, when it needs an easier “recovery” day won’t help either.

Work efficiently, work effectively, and work smart to optimize your efforts for health improvement during all your fitness workouts.

Posted by administrator in Exercise and Fitness.

Osteoporosis and Exercise: Keeping Your Bones Healthy – Exercise Safety Considerations and Resources

Osteoporosis and ExerciseI have posted several blogs about Osteoporosis and exercise, and seemingly this is a topic that I get questions and comments from readers quite frequently.  Over the years, I have had numerous clients with osteoporosis, and we’ve adjusted their Pilates workout programs to keep them safe based on their Dexa-scan results.  I’m also reaching the age, where I need to be a little more careful with my own bone-density issues.

But with this said, I don’t necessarily consider myself an “osteoporosis expert.”  So when I get specific questions about personal health issues, or osteoporosis and exercise, especially from readers all over the globe who cannot come into the studio and work with me personally, it’s nice to be able to refer people to a professional I trust to help answer questions.

Sherry Betz, PT, GCS, CEEAA, PMA®-CPT is a leader in the field of exercise, Pilates, and osteoporosis.  Her company, Thera Pilates® offers Physical Therapy and Osteoporosis Programs.

American Bone Health is a non-profit organization that provides education, resources, and tools to help you understand bone disease and bone health.

Here’s a helpful Poster from American Bone Health for improving your bone-healthy habits during everyday activities.  Regardless of whether you have osteoporosis or not, these tips and exercises can benefit your whole-body health! 

Posted by administrator in Osteoporosis.

Improving Plantar Fasciitis requires Paying Attention to a Lot More than Just Your Feet

Plantar Fasciitis Over the years, I can’t even remember how many clients have walked thru my doors complaining of foot pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis.  Some were avid runners, others were nurses or school teachers, they either have jobs that required them to be on their feet all day, or they’ve made such poor footwear and shoe choices that now foot pain and plantar fasciitis were chronic foot pain problem!

I recently read an article by Rick Merriam, “Plantar Fasciitis has very little to do with your Foot.”  This is a good article that is a strong reminder to me of why I’ve always focused on improving strength to affect muscle release, rather than just “stretching.”  Balanced muscle development is required for a healthy body to move efficiently and without pain.

This is also why regardless of whether you’ve got foot pain, knee, pain, hip pain, back pain, or neck and shoulder pain, the first thing to become more aware of are your posture habits to stand, sit, and walk.  If you can’t stand upright and breath with good posture habits, and optimal body support to help lift you UP off your feet, and keep your body in good alignment to move efficiently, it will be impossible to start making changes that will stick, no matter what the issue is you’re dealing with.

Posted by administrator in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems.

3 Great Reasons to Practice Pilates Principles While You Walk

Practice Pilates Principles While You WalkThere are a lot of reasons why I love Pilates, and definitely more than 3 great reasons to practice Pilates principles while you walk.  While walking can be a fitness activity, it’s also a very necessary daily activity.  And HOW you walk can dramatically affect youprir health.  It’s great to think that you’re getting a good workout, but that may not always be the case.  Are you jamming out with your headphones and not paying any attention to what your body is doing?  Or being dragged along at the end of the leash by your very enthusiastic dog? Or because you’re on your feet all day at work, you assume you’re getting in a lot of “steps” and that this is helping improve your health?  How often are you experiencing annoying aches and pains by the end of the day?

I was chatting with a client today, and she said, “My hips always hurt.  They’ve hurt for a very long time.  I just figured that I have to accept it, they’re always going to hurt.”  So I asked, do they hurt more or less since you started Pilates?  “Less” she said.  And then we looked at the skeleton together to discuss how her posture and muscle habits have contributed to her hip pain, and how, by continuing to practice Pilates principles, I believe her hip pain will continue to diminish.  We are not supposed to live with pain!  Pain is a signal from the body that something is not quite right.  Learn to listen, and find the right strategies to take care of it, and chronic challenges can go away.  One of the easiest everyday activities we do is walking.  Learn to walk well to reinforce healthy habits.  Walk without connecting mind and body, or finding, feeling, and using the right muscles for a healthy stride, and you might be increasing the potential risk of injury, or having to deal with chronic aches and pain.

Pilates is more than just a workout.  It’s a fundamental way of approaching how you can use exercise to improve, enhance, and maintain better whole-body health.  I consider Pilates exercises and equipment training the be tools which are used to connect mind, body, and movement, so that what clients learn in the studio they can begin take out the door with them and put into practice throughout the day in their everyday life.  After all, a couple hours of exercise a week, will never completely undo all the bad habits;, slouching, poor posture moments, or muscle imbalances, that folks have developed over time that end up leading to chronic aches, pains, and injuries.  By applying what you Pilates Principles to how you stand, sit at your desk, drive your car, walk, run, bike, swim, golf, dance, vacuum, sit down on the toilet, climb stairs, lift a laundry basket… whatever the activityyour body can be in an everyday state of continuous improvement.  Why not reinforce the awareness of how to find, feel, and use the right muscles to stay healthy all the time, not just during your workouts.

I’m super-stoked about my new book Pilates-Walk: Tips, Techniques, and Exercises for a Healthy Stride, because walking is one of the best fitness activities you can do outside of the studio to put into practice everything you’re focusing on during your Pilates workouts.

Posted by administrator in Pilates, Walking.

Push-Up Pull-Up: Tips to Improve Upper Body Strength for Push-Ups

Did you know that by practicing the Push-Up Pull-Up phase of your push-up exercises you can improve upper body strength and successfully do a great, get all the way down and back up again push-up?  

(This post with tips to improve your push-up pull-up technique is Part 3 of a four-part article series to help you improve your Push-Up Exercises)

Improve Upper Body Strength for Push-Up ExercisesIf you haven’t read my previous articles in this series, you might want to check those out first; Push-Up Prep and Practice Better Push-Ups.

I was helping a client improve their Push-Ups recently and had a cool A-Ha moment. We were working on improving her upper body strength to maintain a better Push-Up position, working in a full range of motion to lower the body down in one long, strong piece.  We spend almost ALL day using our arms in front of the body. Push-Ups, Bench Press in the weight room, or Chaturanga in Yoga class are all different forms of a Push Up.  I see so many people struggle with good form to get down (and back up) for a good Push-Up.  Who has ever cued you to pay attention to the work that’s happening behind your back — with your arms, shoulders, and upper back to control lower the body down for your Push-Up Exercises?  Let’s talk about the Push-Up Pull-Up phase of this exercise…

It’s funny, I like to do hanging Pull-Ups in a Plank Position for my circuit workouts at the park on the playground equipment.  And when my husband joins me for a workout, he hates this exercise.  It’s difficult to do a hanging Pull-Up because it’s basically a rowing exercise against your body weight (a reverse Push-Up because the back is doing all the work).  On the Pilates Cadillac, we have a version of this exercise too; usually reserved for more experienced “advanced” clients and a slightly easier version standing on the Cadillac (the Spread Eagle).  After 40 plus years of coaching experience and 22 years of teaching Pilates, I have a newfound appreciation of hanging Pull-Ups and the huge benefit they can offer to help you improve your Push-Ups.  Are you ready to take your understanding of Push-Up exercises to the next level?

Not everybody needs to dash out to the park to play on the playground (although if you feel inspired after reading this, go for it!). However, I do want to share with you some things to think about from a technique standpoint for why paying attention to the Pulling/Lowering Phase of your Push-Up exercise is important.

Posted by administrator in Functional Movement, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation May Help Reduce Inflammation, Depression, and More…

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Might Be A Missing Link for Better Health

How in touch are you with your Vagus Nerve? Do you struggle with inflammation, depression, or other chronic health challenges?  Has anybody ever suggested that you do anything specific to support your Vagus Nerve or suggested Vagus Nerve Stimulation?  Do you even have a clue as to what it is, where it is, or what it does?  I know…me neither.  The Vagus Nerve links communication between the head, heart, and digestive tract.  And of course before you go running off willy-nilly seeking the Holy Grail of answers for your health problems on the internet, check with your doctor and get proper medical advice before doing anything!

I saved the link to an article on the Vagus Nerve Inflammation Connection months ago because it interested me. Unfortunately, I am just now getting around to looking at it and realized that the website it’s posted on is no longer being updated, but I’ll go ahead and post the article link (below) that prompted this post.

I’m not much of a research junkie because I get lost in the technical mumbo-jumbo.  However, in my personal struggle to maintain good health, I appreciate insights from every angle.  Western medicine has failed me more times than I can count, and for many of my issues it’s been a struggle of mind over matter since finding a solution has been a nebulous quest.  While it would be great if there were a magic pill, potion, or food that would “fix” it all, our bodies are complex organisms and there are a lot of factors involved in getting everything to function optimally.

Inflammation has been a HUGE struggle for me throughout my life, that along with depression, anxiety, digestive disorders, Optic Neuritis, joint pain, and muscle aches.  I’m hyper-sensitive to foods, chemicals, and smells.  Sometimes I can get away with more, other times I’m over the edge and in-trouble faster than I can blink.  For some reason this past fall and winter were particularly challenging.  My lows have been lower and I fall faster to the pit of despair than I ever have in my life.

It’s scary, but I’m also talking about it because I know I’m not alone. I am also sick of people saying; “It’s just a choice!” “Choose to feel better.”  “Choose to think positively.” “Choose to be happy.”

You, my friend (or psychologist), obviously have never spent a day in my body where the norm is to wake up every morning trying to fight off the feelings of wanting to be 6 feet under.  TRUST ME, nobody would willingly want to spend their life feeling like crap – physically, mentally, or emotionally.  These are reasons why I’ve always exercised.  Physical activity is my “drug of choice”  because I really can’t take medications.  Most of the time I feel better when I am physically active.  But sometimes even that doesn’t help.

Posted by administrator in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems, Mind-Body Health.

Practice Better Push-Ups

5 Movement Training Tips to Maximize Healthy Movement Habits

(This post is Part 2 of a four-part article series to help you improve your Push-Ups)

Do you struggle to find and use the right muscles to do the work on Push-Ups? 

Push-Ups aren’t easy, especially for us gals due to the weight distribution in our bodies.  But that doesn’t mean doing them is an impossible dream!  Men naturally have more upper body strength and typically not a lot of “junk in the trunk.” This makes Push-Ups easier for them because there is not as much mass in the hips to have to move up and down.  Men tend to have wider shoulders and narrower hips. Men also tend to be stronger from where the movement is initiated (Chest, Upper Back, and Shoulders). However, that strength is both a blessing and a curse because stronger, tighter shoulders can easily get pulled out of position while moving up and down on your arms.  Women tend to have less upper body strength, narrower shoulders, and wider hips.  We have more weight to hold up that is farther away from the pivot point of a Push-Up.  Regardless of whether you’re male or female, we ALL need good arm and shoulder mechanics for both our fitness and daily life activities because without the right muscles working, one bad rep during your push-ups can quickly lead to a shoulder injury, rotator cuff problems, or chronic neck and back pain.

Every body CAN do Push-Ups.  Paying close attention to what muscles you’re using and how you’re moving matters if you want all the benefits possible from your hard efforts practicing Push-Ups.

If you haven’t read my article with tips on Push-Up Prep, you might want check this out first to help you practice getting into a good starting position.  Finding and maintaining a good position is the first step in being able to practice a better Push-Up.

Here are 5 Movement Training Tips to Help You Practice Better Push-Up Exercises

  1. Strive to “Un-grip” your Pecs and keep the Ribcage lifted with the Serratus Muscles along the sides of the body.
    • If you are sagging and pinching your shoulder blades together to start your Push-Up, your body is out of alignment right from the start. Not everybody talks about the Serratus muscle – it’s a much-needed muscle to strengthen and use for a great Push-Up.
    • If you “grip” your Pecs, it’s impossible to lower your whole body down. Instead, the head and hips will drop first and your shoulders will be the last thing to hit the ground.
  1. Find and Use your Multifidi Muscles! They are the magic bullet for helping to stabilize the spine position while moving your Push-Up down and up.
  1. Keep Your Weight in LOW Center throughout the exercise (avoid shifting your body weight forward onto your hands and arms; keep your weight back over your heels and hips) 
  1. “Tighter is Lighter” If you relax any of the pieces of the body that you organized in your setup, it will be more difficult to execute good Push-Ups. People tend to relax the Glutes, Inner Thighs, and Low Abs when they pull the shoulder blades down to lengthen the upper back. Or, when they release the arms to lower the body, they relax the whole body! The strong support below is what the top of the body is lengthening away from to move on your Push-Ups. 
  1. BREATHE
    • Inhaling lengthens the spine and helps maintain your plank line while you lower the body to the mat.
    • Exhaling helps gather more low core support while you lift UP away from the floor.

These five healthy movement habit training tips might sound simple (or overwhelming) depending on how many of these muscles you are familiar with using during your workouts.  Ultimately, it’s about connecting mind, body, and movement.  Being able to find and use not just the big muscles in the body, but some of the smaller muscle groups that help support and stabilize a good position, will help you improve your range of motion and body mechanics to maximize the benefits of practicing your Push-Ups.

*****

Don’t miss the next post in my How To Improve Your Push-Up Exercises, article series.  Subscribe now to the Centerworks Wellness Success eNews to get article updates, and more…

Posted by administrator in Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Push-Up Exercise Prep: Improve Your Push-Up Exercises with a Great Starting Position

6 Simple Training Tips To Get Into a Good Starting Position

(This post is Part 1 of a four-part article series to help you improve your Push-Up Exercises)

push-up prep

How easy are Push-Up exercises for you?  A piece of cake; easy to pump out 5, 10, 25+ reps without breaking form, no problem. Or, do you struggle thru, finding yourself dreading the exercise and wondering what you can do (besides more frequent practice) in hopes that at some point you’ll hit the tipping point and magically your push-up exercises will get easier?

Push-Ups done well are NOT just a Pec Exercise.  In my opinion, the chest muscles are the least important muscle group for the execution of successful push-up exercises.  I’ve been polling my studio clients lately to see what goals and exercises they’d like to focus on improving in the coming months. Improving upper body strength has come up numerous times for both my male and female clients.  And, while I’ve spent a good amount of time helping them perfect their push-ups, there always seems to be another little piece of the puzzle; a piece that’s important for improving movement technique and maximizing the health benefits of this fabulous upper body strengthening exercise.

In this 4-part series, I will provide some training tips for you to consider in order to improve how you move for your Push-Up exercises.  I think you’ll see noticeable improvements quickly, once you start paying attention to the little details; which will ultimately help you to improve your Push-Up Exercises.

My favorite Push-Up, the one I ultimately challenge you to practice, is the Pilates version.  There are a million variations of Push-Up exercises you can play with – from hand placement, to leg placement, to angles of work, to where the arms are tracking while they bend and straighten.  For a Pilates Push-Up exercise, the upper arms stay close to the body as you move up and down.  If you’re in a Yoga class doing your Sun Salutations, this movement is similar to lowering the body for Chaturanga Dandasana.

Done well, Push-Up Exercises are an awesome upper body (and whole-body) strengthening exercise!  Done poorly, Push-Up exercises can potentially be a quick way to strain your low back and injure a shoulder.  A Push-Up is the body weight version of both a Bench Press and Rowing exercise in the weight room. If your body mechanics aren’t working efficiently for one version, there is a good chance that you’re continuing to reinforce your bad habits anywhere else you’re practicing a similar movement.  Are you ready to fine-tune your focus and pay attention to how you’re executing your Push-Up exercises?

Posted by administrator in Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

A Healthy Life Gives You the Freedom to Celebrate Your Independence

Healthy LifeAre you living a healthy life?

I love having clients that depend on me to help them improve how they move.  Linking together the pieces in the puzzle, we all must sort out to get our brains and bodies functioning as well as possible.

But ultimately, it’s not about being co-dependent and always relying on someone else to ensure you enjoy a healthy life.  Let’s face it, the 2-3 hours a week you’re in the studio with me is nothing compared to the other 165 hours in your week that you’re out there on your own.  What are you doing with your time?  How wisely are you making decisions and choices that enhance your healthy life? What else are you doing to stay active, healthy, and develop strength, flexibility, balance, and body control?  What other aspects of health need to be focused on to maintain your healthy life?  How are your hormones, digestive system, heart & circulation, eyes and ears, respiratory system, skin, and mental health? So many things matter to give you the freedom to be independent and enjoy a healthy life.

I’ve had a few super-fit athletes for clients, but more the norm are everyday folks; with everyday aches and pains, or chronically health-challenged people (that I can totally relate to from my own personal health challenges – mentally and physically!).  And if you’ve got “issues in your tissues” I think you have a better appreciation for being healthy and independent.  There’s a little more urgency in the need to keep working to find a solution.  Motivation can bounce up and down – eager to do something positive one minute, and frustrated that changes aren’t happening quick enough the next. 

Posted by administrator in Health.

 

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