Fight boredom, have a blast challenging your body and improve your Pilates technique with a foam roller. This workout will boost your fitness and help you make the most of your Pilates workouts.
We are only limited by our imagination when it comes to modifying exercises to challenge the body. When I teach Pilates I do not add “toys” to distract from the work, but to enhance the understanding of how to tweak the body and improve Pilates technique.
When using a foam roller, magic circle or any other prop the goal is to find, feel and fine-tune muscle activation for better stabilization or movement so that when you get back to doing the “traditional” exercise without the prop you will be able to do it even better with all the right muscles working!
I thought it would be fun to see how many different ways I could find to use the Foam Roller for the Pilates Mat Roll Up exercise. I have one or two ways I always use it when I teach a Roller-themed Mat class, but was confident that there were probably a lot of other ways it could be used. So I grabbed my roller and a piece of paper and plopped myself down on the mat to play. With about 5 minutes of thought, and about thirty repetitions (it was a nice Ab workout!) I came up with 10 different ways to use the Foam Roller for the Roll Up.
Continue Reading ‘Foam Roller Fitness: 10 Fun Ways to Use a Foam Roller for Your Roll Up Exercise in Pilates Matwork
A Mind Shift to See Your Beautiful True Self
Awareness is such a cool thing! We all know the world is a little warped when it comes to looking at physical beauty. Our perception on beauty and perspective needs a serious mind shift.
Models in magazines are itty-bitty, making us regular-sized gals feel like the curves that we’ve got or the “meat on our bones” makes us ugly and gives us the perception that we’re “fat.” Or worse, that without breast implants, Botox, or other beautifying surgeries to change how we look, we’re not pretty.
Maybe we were teased growing up about our freckles, dimples, color of our hair, how our legs looked….
I can remember in Junior High having to scoot around in the lunchroom because one of the popular boys was always making comments about my butt!
What we see in ourselves and what others see in us is sometimes is quite different. I recently wrote an article about Features vs. Flaws. Take a moment and think about what you see when you look at yourself?
Continue Reading ‘Beauty and Perspective
I’ve always preferred real foods to supplements. But sometimes an extra boost of protein can be helpful.
Shakes and smoothies are great, but if all you are drinking is concentrated fruit juices it’s more of a sugar shot than a healthy meal. And adding a couple of scoops of protein powder to your breads, muffins, or pancakes can be an easy way to pack more protein into an otherwise carb-laden treat.
So how do you find a healthy and tasty protein powder supplement for your shakes and smoothies?
Continue Reading ‘Finding a Healthy AND Tasty Protein Powder Supplement for Your Shakes & Smoothies
One of my favorite things to do to wake up my deep core muscles, improve balance, the brain-body connection and feel the independent movement of my hips and shoulders is to do a quick 5-15 minute foam roller warm-up before a workout.
Whether I’m going to do Pilates equipment work, Pilates Mat work, go out for a walk or run, lift weights, play racquetball…any activity… using a foam roller can be a quick and easy way to ensure you’ve got the right things turned on to support your body and train healthy movement habits.
Continue Reading ’3 Benefits of Using a Foam Roller Warm-Up for Your Workouts
The 3 Bears Strategy for Pacing Your Pilates Workouts
How are exercise speed and healthy movement related? This is an interesting topic of discussion for Pilates training. What’s the best speed for pacing your Pilates workouts? What speed should we be executing the exercises in our workout? Is it good or bad to work slowly? And is it possible that we might be moving too fast to really get the best benefits from what we’re doing?
Based on my training and understanding of healthy movement habits, our ideal goal is that regardless of the pace or speed of our movement, it should be done with the correct amount of control and coordination using the right muscle groups in the correct sequence for biomechanically correct function.
That sounds long and technical, so the short answer is move with the right muscles working and you’ll stay healthy! Move at a pace (either too fast or too slow for you to control and use the right muscles) and there’s a good chance that you will recruit other muscle groups that ideally should not be involved in the work, thus training your brain and body to recruit the wrong parts to do the action.
Continue Reading ‘Exercise Speed: Pilates Training – The Value of Pacing Your Pilates Workouts
Perspective: How We Look and Feel About Our Body – Men vs. Women
This cartoon came across my Facebook stream last week, and while it’s good for a laugh, it also gets right to the point. This man and women quickly demonstrate the differences between the male and female perspective when it comes to what we think and feel about our bodies. While this mind-body mindset to evaluate our features and flaws might not ring true for everybody. I suspect that for the majority this cartoon does a good job of showing where we stand if we took a physical self-appreciation survey.
Continue Reading ‘Features & Flaws: The Mind-Body Mindset
The muscles of our feet are designed somewhat like springs. If our arches are strong and working well, there is a spring effect that we can work with to be “light on our feet,” improve balance, and more easily transfer our weight from leg to leg to propel our bodies forward through space to walk and run. Our “springs” also work when we jump UP to move vertically if we’re playing sports like basketball, volley ball, dance, or gymnastics.
The image of Tigger in Winnie the Poo just popped into my mind!
How great does it feel to have a smile on your face, and a little “spring” in your step. As kids, we run, jump, hop, skip and play! But as we get older it seems these normal physical activities seem to fade and become distant memories of things we used to do, but aren’t in our vocabulary any longer. Too many hours sitting behind a desk, poor shoe choices and lack of time spent maintaining the strength and flexibility of our feet, ankles, calves, hamstrings and perhaps whole-body.
Continue Reading ‘Put a little “Spring” in Your Step to Strengthen Your Feet
I find it so interesting how the Universe gifts us with new opportunities to learn and grow… Since writing the recent series of articles on mobilizing the ribcage, I’ve had the privilege to start working with not one, but TWO new clients who have Harrington Rods.
For those of you reading this article who are unfamiliar with the term, historically this rod has been surgically implanted along the spinal column to treat scoliosis. Once you’re spine has been “shored up” with a rod, there is no longer movement at those vertebrae. For these clients everything that is needed to maintain normal “healthy” movement of the spine and ribs becomes moot. All the great benefits of Pilates posterior lateral breathing for elongation of the spine to maintain healthy posture has to be re-thought and re-taught because try as you might, the ribcage and spine won’t be moving. That doesn’t mean the muscles along the spine aren’t active – we still need to maintain good strength and support. But everything becomes quite different from a cuing, exercise selection and exercise safety standpoint.
Continue Reading ‘Exercise Safety in Pilates Class and Beyond
Getting to the Root of the Problem for Better Whole-Body Health
Have you ever experienced pain somewhere in your body not from an accident or a hard work out, but over time a little ache here, a bigger pain there. It’s nothing big enough to “worry” about or to make any changes in your lifestyle or exercise program, and then… one day, suddenly it seems you’re incapacitated and unable to keep up the facade that nothing is wrong.
It’s time to face the fact that there really is something going on that you need to pay attention to, find a solution for and take action to change so you can get your good health back.
I received this question from Wendy about toes and leg pain and thought there might be other folks out there who would be interested in my response.
Continue Reading ‘Toes and Leg Pain – Is It Connected?
Most of the time when we breathe the air goes in, the air comes out, and we’re not even conscious of how much of our lungs we are using or even which lung we tend to use more.
If you have scoliosis, asthma or other physical/health challenges that have contributed to limited lung and rib movement, or a muscle imbalance through the upper back, these conditions can create tension, stress and changes in your posture. Becoming more conscious of your lungs and practicing one lung breathing can be a great exercise for you to improve posture and reduce stress, tension or pain.
But even if you DON’T have any health challenges, there’s a really great chance that you have one lung that is stronger, or more dominant than the other, and you might not even realize it! While it might not be a big deal now… Over time, you may accumulate new aches and pains because other muscles in your torso (core, back and shoulders) respond to the breathing imbalance creating a domino effect that can leave you wondering why you now hurt even though you never had an “injury.”
Our posture and muscle habits for balanced body development will only get better if we take action and train the body. Good breathing habits both stretch AND strengthen our system for better posture and better health.
Here are 3 Easy One Lung Breathing Exercises You Can Practice to Strengthen Your Lungs as You Improve Balance, Posture and Health
Continue Reading ‘One Lung Breathing: Creating Balance for Better Breathing and Posture Habits to Look Good and Feel Great!