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Finding the Best Workouts for Your Personality Type

best workoutsHello there! Quick question! How many times did you skip your workout this week? Twice? Thrice? We have all been there. Paying for an annual gym membership and visiting the gym once in a blue moon. Most people think fitness is a one-fit for all. If you are someone who thinks the same, keep reading!

The best way to make the most of your workout routine is to identify the workout that matches your personality type.  Let’s take a look at various personality types and the workout that suits each of them.

The Control Freak

Control freaks are very precise, calculative, organized and punctual. They are looking for a perfect workout session where they can sweat it out. The best types of workouts that will suit this personality type are full body intense workouts. Barre workout which is a combination of Yoga, Pilates and Ballet is one good example. This workout is very specific and tough. It delivers a very precise and controlled exercise experience. If you are a control freak, try your hand at Barre and feel the grace of Ballet along with the intensity of Pilates.  

The Lazy Bug

A lot of us fall into this category. We snooze the alarm at least three times before we finally get out of bed. If you are someone who can relate to this, work out with a friend who is a fitness freak. You can even try your hand at group workout activities. There are many exciting group workouts like Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Cardio kickboxing, and Group cycling which are very engaging.

Go for fun workout sessions and boot camps which have a high-energy atmosphere and great music. If none of this seems to work, choose a personal trainer or Pilates teacher who will never let you skip a workout.  Having the encouragement of a motivational instructor can also help you do better.

The Competitor

Some people just love competition. They live for challenges and thrive for competitive workout regimes. Winning and achieving the goal matters the most to them. Crossfit is the ultimate workout for those who are looking for a challenge. It is extremely tough and pushes your limits. The excessive number of repetitions in the limited amount of time is not an easy thing to do. Crossfit also has a big workout community where you can share your results and set higher goals for the next workout regime.

High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is also an excellent choice for people who are looking to challenge themselves with some tough workouts.  Both the competitor and the control freak will enjoy High-Intensity Interval Training workouts.

The Adventure Lover

Adventure lovers are always looking for something new and get easily bored with stale workout routines. They want flexibility and are always looking for a room to experiment with new things. Workout routines which involve a lot of variety and creativity are the best choice for them.  A 5-minute intense workout on different machines is good to start with. Power Yoga is another workout which involves a lot of poses in different degrees which are challenging at the same time very interesting. Zumba dance and  Aerobics are also for adventure lovers who are looking for something exciting and fun.  But even more than indoor workouts, the adventure lover is going to want to be outdoors. Activities like running, biking, hiking,  or obstacle racing and triathlon training can provide both a change of scenery for your workouts, and the variety needed to stay engaged.

The Night Owl

The most common reason people skip a workout is that they have to wake up early. Good news to all of you night owls out there! There is no hard and fast rule that you should work out only in the mornings. If you are someone who finds it easy to stay up late but don’t like waking up early here’s a tip: workout when you want to!  Find a time that fits your schedule.  Lots of health clubs are open 24 hours these days, and even with minimal equipment, there is lots you can do at-home in your living room for cardio, strength training, HIIT, and even Pilates Matwork, and Yoga.

Regardless of your personality type, what’s important is that you find fitness activities that you enjoy and want to incorporate into your weekly workout routine. Whether you’re at the gym, a Crossfit box, Pilates or Yoga studio, Barre or Boxing club, at-home in your living room, or enjoying the great outdoors, finding the best workouts for your personality type can help you stick with your fitness plan.

In fact, night workouts have a lot of benefits. To begin with, you don’t have to fight the crowd, and you may have the gym all to yourself. This leaves you with many options to exercise. You can let out all the frustration from a tough day and have calmer mornings. Night workouts are the best way to de-stress. All the sweat you break can help you sleep better at nights as well.

The Early Riser

The lucky lot are here! People who find it easy to beat the alarm, have a lot of time for everything. Nothing can beat a dawn-breaking sweat session. Since you are up early, you have ample time to complete your workout. You can schedule your week with specific routines for each day. Monday can be abs, Tuesday for arms and so on. Getting a personal trainer can make your workout session all the more effective.

There are many personality tests online which you can take to identify your type and begin with the workout routine that will suit you.  To all the lazy bugs out there, the most important thing to remember while working out is to keep it consistent. If you are a control freak make sure you give your body the appropriate rest. Stay fit! Stay happy!


Guest post for Centerworks® by Edgar James.

Edgar James is a prolific fitness writer and editor for Garagegymplanner.com. He writes in-depth fitness equipment reviews for home gym owners and motivates others with his personal experiences. A true naturalist and outdoors-man, Edgar loves hiking through forests and reconnecting with nature.

Posted by administrator in Uncategorized.

Take the 2017 Centerworks Holiday Health CHALLENGE

Centerworks Holiday Health ChallengeWhat better way to get your Holiday’s off to a good start than to add just one more thing to the “To-Do” list, and commit to the Centerworks Holiday Health Challenge!  I know you’re laughing right now, but I’m serious…

This is the time of the year that everything else seems to take priority – parties, shopping, time with friends and family, big meals, baking cookies, eating, eating, and more eating… with a promise to yourself that your New Year’s resolution will be to take more time for you, ramp up your workouts, and get back on track with healthy habits starting “next year.”

Sure body weight can fluctuate and it might only be 1 extra pound, or up to 5 or 10 pounds…  You know your typical November and December Holiday eating and activity patterns.

One study has shown that the extra weight you put on between Haloween and Christmas can take more than 5 months to lose.  Do you really want to spend almost half the year trying to shed the extra “present” you gave yourself.  Or would you prefer to present yourself with a healthy jump-start on that promise to take better care of your body inside and out?

It’s not so much about what you eat, we all know that you’ll never out-exrcise your diet.  But what’s more important is how much you’re MOVING your body, managing your stress, making smart healthier choices with holiday treats, and managing portion sizes.

Let’s make this your best Holiday Season ever!  Give YOURSELF the Gift of Good Health.

Here’s the Centerworks Holiday Health Challenge
Ready… 4,3,2,1, GO… 

  • 4 Days a week (minimum)
  • 30 minutes of Cardio
  • 20 Minutes of Strength & Conditioning
  • 10 Minutes of Stretching

Workout a minimum of 4 Days a week from NOW until the NEW Year!  You pick the days you’re going to do the work, and the activities you enjoy.  And if you get carried away and do a 45 min walk/jog instead of 30 min – SWEET! You’ve just given yourself a bonus fifteen minute health boost!  (But, here’s the catch, your extra minutes do not carry over for you to “skip out” on another day’s workout.)

Cardio Workouts
Options include but are not limited to:
(Any activity that gets your heart-rate up and blood pumping!)

  • Walk
  • Run
  • Bike
  • Swim
  • Row
  • Jump Rope
  • Climb Stairs
  • Elliptical
  • Aerobics
  • Dance
  • Hike
  • Ski
  • Skate
  • Any other Aerobic activities you enjoy!

Strength & Conditioning
(Any activity/exercise that is working your muscles to develop better muscle tone, and strength.)

  • Pilates
  • Weight Lifting
  • Calesthetics
  • Foam Roller / Fit Ball
  • Pulse-Power Daily Dozen
  • CrossFit
  • TRX
  • Any other Strength and Conditioning exercises you enjoy!

Stretching & Flexibility 
(Any activity/exercise that is focused on improving range of movement and flexibility from your head to your toes.)

Your Workouts for this challenge do NOT have to be completed in one continuous hour. It is perfectly ok, to break it up throughout your day.  Only have 15 minutes?  Go for a WALK and you’ve got half of your cardio completed for the day!  Squeeze in another 15 minutes of Cardio plus your 20 minutes Strength and 10 minutes of Stretching exercises before the sun goes down. JUST strive to get everything done that you’ve committed to with this challenge, to take care of YOU before your head hits the pillow.  OH and if you’re bursting with extra energy and nothing else to do…feel free to do MORE than 4 days of workouts a week, but at a bare minimum this challenge is to get you to commit 4 of the 168 hours you’ve got each week to take care of your mind and body through the Holidays.

Are you Ready to commit to the Centerworks Holiday Health Challenge?
I hope you’ll join me.

Start at any time.  There is no cost, and no catch, to participate in this Centerworks Challenge… Use the at-home training tools you have now.  Get outside, Hit the gym, count your Pilates and Yoga workouts, (or while you’re shopping for everybody else,  treat yourself to a new training resource from Centerworks that you know you’ll benefit from now and in the year to come!)  Just be sure you’re being consistent to meet the requirements of this challenge, because after all, the person that is going to benefit the most from this Holiday Health Challenges is YOU!

Download your Centerworks Holiday Health Challenge Workout tracker now.

Posted by administrator in Health.

Thanksgiving and the Art of Being Thankful

Sharing the Gift of Gratitude with the Ones You Love

Being Thankful

Are you being thankful and living every day to its fullest?

This has been another challenging year when I find being thankful difficult. And yet, I’ve been given great opportunities to see the power of grace, gratitude, and thankfulness in action.  With the world seemingly in chaos with natural disasters, fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, the threats of nuclear war, an absurd government, as much “fake” news as actual information… We have all this craziness surrounding our everyday lives, and then there is life.  I am reminded this year, more than ever, how precious life really is.

My step-son has been battling lung cancer for the past year and a half.  As I write this, we are not sure how much time he has left.  By the time this posts he might still be here, or he might be gone.  But what I’ve seen unfold in what just might be the last few weeks of his life has been amazing!  You see, my step-son Logan believes in miracles.  He has fought through it all without complaint.  I’ve never heard a “why me?”  or even a second of sniveling because he hurts, feels like crap, can barely breathe, has difficulty speaking, chemo has kicked his butt twice… There have been surgeries, stem-cell therapy. They’ve tried almost everything!  Up until a week or two ago he was still going to the gym, playing golf, and even continued to play ice and roller hockey with his buddies.  Can you imagine playing hockey and sprinting up and down the ice post-chemo with only one working lung?  Now, as tumors have spread from his lung to his spine causing pain and paralysis, he’s still putting on a smile. He has more energy than the rest of us and eagerly and graciously wants to see and speak with everyone that is stopping by to show their support.  At any given moment, there are at least 10-40 friends and close family at the hospital – all packed into his room swapping stories, sharing laughs, and cherishing every minute we have to be together.  This is the art of being thankful in action.

I am thankful to have been gifted the opportunity to have Logan as a step-son.  I am filled with gratitude to see the army of “earth angels” that are surrounding him to show their support, love, and compassion.  Logan’s presence is a gift to us, and our presence is a gift to him.  The energy exchange is palpable.  And while there is sadness, it is still being overpowered by pure joy.

Why am I sharing this personal story?  Because it’s the best example I have right now of being thankful.  Sure, we give lip service to this idea on a regular basis.  But why wait until push comes to shove to live in gratitude and be filled with thankfulness?  Can you imagine what it would be like if this concept was a part of our actual being?  It is for some people.  Like Logan.  Every day is a miracle, and he exudes thankfulness from every fiber of his being.  And it’s reciprocated ten-fold by his close friends, their wives, mothers, and fathers. In fact, everyone who knows him.

We shouldn’t wait for big, life altering experiences to be thankful.  There is a lot of power in embracing the gift of gratitude for the little things in life, too.  A wet kiss from your puppy, watching a butterfly, the sun on your face, wind in your hair, listening to the birds sing, children on a playground, music, art, good food, friends, a restful night’s sleep, a funny joke, the purr of your cat, listening to a thunderstorm, learning something new…

My clients have expressed thanks over the years for things that Pilates has helped them achieve to enjoy a better quality of life: being able to get up off the toilet, being able to bend over and tie their shoes, the ability to balance on one leg to put their pants on, being able to more easily turn their head to check for cars for a lane change, walking without foot pain, using their arms without shoulder pain, being able to take a deep breath, being able to walk up and down stairs without fear of falling… and the list goes on.  None of these are earth-shattering challenges. But, to live and enjoy a healthy life, it’s the little things that sometimes make the biggest difference; we shouldn’t wait until we’ve lost it all to appreciate and be thankful for what we have.

Give yourself the gift of gratitude and appreciate how the power of being thankful for what you can do, the health you do have, and the support that surrounds you impacts your well-being. The mindset of being thankful can help carry you forward with grace and gratitude.

This Thanksgiving I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to people in your life that you are thankful for.  Perhaps you’re already close and see each other often.  Don’t take your time together for granted – tell them how special they are and how thankful you are that they are a part of your life.  Perhaps you have people in your life that you rarely see or visit with, but in some way, they have made a huge impact on your life.  Reach out.  Thinking about someone is nice, but sharing your heartfelt appreciation with them is better.  Maybe it’s just a note, phone call, text message, or email.  Create a quick video to send them to share your thoughts. Or maybe you are fortunate enough to get together for an old-fashioned face-to-face chat.  Cherish your friends, be grateful for your family, and give thanks for your mentors.

We’re on this planet together, let’s show each other how much we care.

I challenge you to reach out to 5 people who have made a positive impact on your life and share with them your gratitude for their love and support.  Let them know the role they’ve played and how important they are to you.  Put into practice the art of being thankful. It’s a beautiful thing.

Ready, Set, Go forth and Give the Gift of Thankfulness.

*****

(Logan Vinopal,  7-11-1988 to 10-28-2017)

Posted by administrator in Mind-Body Health, Motivation, Inspiration & Goal Setting.

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 Exercise and Fitness, 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.

 

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