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Core Conditioning – Are You Listening to Your Body to Improve Core Strength and Whole-Body Health

Core ConditioningCore conditioning is a multi-faceted jewel that is key to enjoying a healthy life.  On so many different levels we need to be more focused on improving core conditioning.  I’m going out on a limb here and saying that I believe that at least 95% of “issues” related to poor health are a result of a core challenge.

For years I dealt with an abdominal muscle tear that made doing sit-up exercises impossible!  I felt like a hypocrite, spending all day teaching my Pilates clients how to find and use their mid-sections, and mine was so broken I couldn’t even roll over in bed!  But what I learned through the process of recovering from this injury, was how many other muscle groups, besides just the fab 4 abdominal (Transverse, Internal & External Obliques, and Rectus) muscles are necessary for healthy movement.  And I was forced to listen to my body and act accordingly.  You see I had about 10-12 years where flexing my rectus, or doing 1-sided exercises caused me immediate abdominal pain, and prohibited my injury from fully healing.  I had to get creative in finding other muscles to help support movement so I could continue to be active.  I had to make smart exercise choices that allowed me to enjoy full body workouts without causing strain and pain on my abdominal tear.  I had to let go of my ego and be happy that I was able to do something, and not whine about what I wasn’t able to do.  Then I had to do what I could do regularly, listen to my body, and just work at my own pace.  And patience…. lots of patience.

Now I can pretty much do what I want with my abs without fear, pain, or negative repercussions.  But it was a looong time getting back to this point.  Even when I work with clients who have never had an abdominal injury – it can be quite the journey trying to find, feel, and activate the right muscles to maximize healthy movement.

I suppose this is why I so strongly promote improving posture, pelvic floor support, and gaining a better understanding of the fundamentals of functional movement.  Clients regularly comment, “Why didn’t anybody teach this to me sooner…?”  Body mechanics matter to keep your body injury free.  If anything hurts to move, chances are there’s a kink in your functional movement pattern.  Understanding what you’re doing is super-important.  Being able to send the right message to the muscles and feeling the right muscles doing the work will get you the results you want from your efforts.  Not fixing the “kinks,” or ignoring them, only leads to chronic pain and a less active lifestyle.

One of my first Pilates clients 20+ years ago had an impossible time finding, and feeling her abdominal muscles engage.  We worked diligently together, me with my hand on her belly while she worked on core-focused exercises, saying, “Can you feel it?  That’s great!  Yes, that was a good rep.”  And over and over she’d reply, “Can’t feel a thing.”  I could physically see that her body was in good positioning for each exercise, and I could also see and feel the right muscles working.  But she had no self-awareness.

Then one day as she was lying on the Cadillac, she looked up at me and said, “If it seems like I’m not quite all here with you and focused on what we’re doing, it’s because I’m still trying to integrate my multiple personalities!”  And then she shared a little bit more about her personal story.  This was something she’d neglected to share on her health history forms and it completely explained the disconnect with feeling what her body was doing during exercise.

Healing trauma can be from a physical injury, an emotional one, or both.  I was so proud of the fact that she came to Pilates and stuck with it – as uncomfortable as it must have been with someone constantly asking her to pay attention to her center!  She was ready to begin her healing process, and one of the best ways to get in better touch with your body is thru movement.

Another client I had, refused to try any exercise I asked her to do at our very first session.  Because she was unwilling to try, I offered to refund her money and send her on her way, explaining that I couldn’t help her if she didn’t trust me (at least a little bit…).  She was so afraid from getting hurt working with other trainers and therapist. Some had given her exercises, but didn’t help show her how to do them correctly.  Others didn’t help her break things down, and build them up to get to the exercise they wanted her to do, when she was unable to do what they were asking safely.

After our little chat, she decided to participate in our “team effort” of helping her get out of her neck for sit-ups, strengthen her low center to reduce back pain, improve balance, and get stronger to climb stairs without fear of falling.  Everything we did during our training sessions was goal-oriented to her personal health goals.  Once she understood that almost every exercise we did was a stepping-stone to her goal of safely climbing stairs, and that core support was critical for improving this, she was on board, and enthusiastic to try anything I asked her to do.  She gained confidence each time we did an exercise and she did it right, because it didn’t hurt her body.  Any little aches or pains she felt, we were able to quickly fine-tune before they became a problem.  Her confidence grew with each exercise we did, and before long she was gleefully running up and down the stairs.

Not every exercise is for everyone! Knowing what you can do safely and what you should avoid is an important part of self-care.  Knowing why you’re doing exercises, and how to scale them easier, or more challenging can help you work at your own pace. Paying attention to how your body feels and being able to make adjustments “on-the-fly” will ensure that you stay safe and injury-free.

I was reading an exercise forum recently and an instructor was ranting about how she had someone in her class that wasn’t listening or doing any of the exercises the way she wanted them done.  And I thought to myself – Bravo class participant!  You just might be listening to your body and doing what you know it needs.  I always encourage my group training folks to stop when they need to, adjust springs to their ability level, and there are quite a few days when we have moments that everybody in class is doing a slightly different exercise – because it’s the most appropriate exercise for them.

In my opinion, I’d rather have people doing what they know is a better choice for their body – than keeping up with the crowd and getting hurt!

What do you do when you’re in a situation to have to make a choice that might not be the best one for you?  Succumb to peer pressure?  Frightened to be the odd man out?  Feel a-OK asking for an alternate choice? Or move ahead with confidence brilliantly blazing your own trail to make smart choices that you know will benefit your good health?  I hope you’re a trailblazer!  Or at least not too shy to ask for help when you know you need assistance.

My motto is, “When in doubt, leave it out.”

This may not mean leave it out forever…  I’ve learned over the years, with my own body, and working with clients, that what you can’t do safely today, you might be able to do eventually, once you’re brain and body has gone thru the process it needs to better understand what needs to happen, how to get support in the right places, and retrain the dominant/weaker parts of the body to participate appropriately.  Sometimes it’s easy to just forge ahead and take on a new challenge.  And sometimes it’s best to go back to basics, fine-tune things first; then take the next leap forward.

Injuries tend to give us the opportunity to get back to basics.  Do you ever wonder what it would be like if you had enough basics under your belt, (and continually refreshed them) to never end up with an injury?  (This is a dream, and goal I have for my body, and I’d love to help others achieve it too.)  Because I believe it’s possible if we’re in-tune and paying attention to what our bodies tell us, we can act on this information, and be completely in charge of maintaining optimal health.  Every day is an opportunity to pay better attention, and make better choices that enhance wellness, of mind, body, and spirit.

Improve core conditioning by listening to your body to improve core strength and whole-body health?  Exercise choices matter.  The physical connection to your core supports posture and healthy movement.  The emotional connection to your core keeps you grounded and “centered.”  Listening to your gut intuition will keep you safe, boost confidence, and empower you to make smart decisions that affect your good health.

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One of my favorite, “get-to-the-deep-layers-of-support, stability, and better movement activation is by doing the Pulse Power Daily Dozen 10 Minute Workout.  These exercises can really help you zero in on finding and feeling what you need to use to improve core conditioning, and activate better core support for upper and lower body exercises too!  Snag a copy of the Pulse Power ebook at Centerworks.com  Or get the Kindle version in the Amazon store.

Posted by administrator in Uncategorized.

Getting Fit Simply – Online Health Summit

Get FitDon’t Miss The FREE Getting Fit Simply Online Summit!

Discover top secrets to health & fitness and become strong & beautiful from the inside out & have the body you have always wanted by 21 experts in fitness, nutrition and motivation, including wellness success strategies from ME, Aliesa George and Centerworks®!

This Getting Fit Simply health summit, launching August 11th, 2014 is going to be inspiring and Super Informative!  It will give you access to top secrets, tips, and success strategies for fitness, exercise, nutrition, and more. Dispel some old fitness myths and increase your motivation to help jump start and stick with your Healthy, Fit, and Energetic Lifestyle.

The summit has been put together by my friend Isabella Palmgren, who is a fellow Pilates instructor and personal trainer.  She has gathered 21 international exerts in the field of Fitness, Yoga, Pilates, nutrition, wellness, hypnosis, motivation, and more to discuss and share tips on the topic of Getting Fit Simply!

During this online summit, you will get the chance to listen to top experts share their  Wellness tips and secrets, with each expert’s unique understanding of how to become Fit, Healthy and Happy, PLUS as an added bonus, you will get loads of FREE gifts from the experts.

Get ready to glean some great health tips and training tidbits for inspiration and motivation.  This is your invitation to join me and all the other experts as we reveal our TOP SECRETS you need to know to enjoy Wellness Success!

Click www.gettingfitsimply.com NOW to register for the FREE Getting Fit Simply summit.

I hope to see you at the Summit!

Posted by Aliesa George in Health, Motivation, Inspiration & Goal Setting, Uncategorized.

Pilates Quote: Pilates Breathing

How well are you breathing? Have you ever practiced Pilates breathing? A short science lesson. Cells are known as the “building blocks of life.” Sounds like our cells are pretty important. Cells make up our bones, muscles, tissues, ligaments, nerves and all our organs. Cells must have oxygen to survive and do their jobs in our bodies. The only way to get oxygen to each of our 37 trillion cells is to breathe. With such a big job to do, our bodies will function best if our breathing is strong and efficient.

Don’t leave your cells struggling for air. Deep breathing, breathing that fills your lungs to their fullest is important for a healthy and happy body. Pilates breathing fills the lungs from the bottom up, with powerful, deep, posterior-lateral breaths that expand the ribcage for maximum space for maximum oxygen to feed your body and your brain.

**** Try some deep Pilates Breathing with this short Pilates Breathing video.

Posted by Aliesa George in Uncategorized.

Pilates Quote: Joseph Pilates

How sad and true is this quote from the book Your Health written by Joseph Pilates in 1934! The human body is an amazing machine…but we are so focused on our gadgets, computers, tv’s and toys, that many people are deeply out of sync with themselves – physically, mentally, and spiritually.  How sick must we become, before taking care becomes a priority and we take the time to pay better attention to the marvelous machine that we are living in – the human body, and super-computer that is our brain!

Posted by Aliesa George in Uncategorized.

Pilates Quote: Pilates Mat Exercises

Pilates Mat exercises (or any other form of physical activity) can be an excellent way to refresh the body and relax the mind.  Adequate rest and getting a good night’s sleep is one of the key components to whole-body health.

But for many people, falling asleep, and/or staying asleep can be a challenge…  Racing thoughts, worries, thinking about all the things you need to do, or should have gotten accomplished today, or no matter what, you have got to get done tomorrow…  Insomnia will not rejuvenate the body, mind, or spirit, but exercise can!

If you ever find yourself lying in bed wide awake wishing you could sleep, and wondering how the heck you’re going to stay awake at work tomorrow, roll yourself out of bed and onto a mat and MOVE.  Even a short 10-15 minutes of Pilates Matwork just might be enough to calm the mind, center your body, and release and relax nervous energy so you can crawl back in bed and get a good night’s sleep.

Pilates Mat exercises à Moving Meditation à Relaxation (for a restful night’s sleep.)

Sweet Dreams!

Posted by Aliesa George in Pilates, Quotes, Uncategorized.

Pilates Quote: Accomplishments

Accomplishments. Goals. Life Purpose. Calling. Legacy…  Are you on your path to make an impact and achieve your dreams, desires, and destiny?

The most important part of the equation to keep you heading in the right direction is YOUR HEALTH!  Whether you’re goal is to be the next Nobel Prize winner, or the world’s best Mom, it takes a strong, healthy body, and the brain power to stay focused to keep you on the path of continuous improvement.  Take positive action daily to reach your potential and be proud to show the world your accomplishments.

Posted by Aliesa George in Quotes, Uncategorized.

Pilates Quote: Physical Fitness

Everyone is bustling about with holiday shopping.  There’s one thing that should be on everyone’s list, but can’t be purchased with a credit or debit card.  No matter how much we want physical fitness we can’t get there with wishes or wallets.  It’s discipline, consistency, dedication, and hard work that must be invested in yourself in order to become fit, flexible and enjoy fantastic health.

What effort are you making to prioritize your time and ensure you’re eating right and exercising to take care of your personal well-being and physical fitness? What is getting in the way?  How can you eliminate some of the “extras” in order to put taking care of your health at the top of your priority list?

Share and care about friends and family.  Show them how very special they are to you.  Shop, and enjoy the Holidays, but don’t put your health on hold and wait to “get back on track” in the New Year.  It is not selfish to make time to take care of YOU!

Physical fitness takes effort, YOUR Effort!  And guess what…You are worth the effort.

Give the gift of good health to yourself this Season.
Have a HEALTHY and Happy Holiday!

Posted by Aliesa George in Exercise and Fitness, Motivation, Inspiration & Goal Setting, Quotes, Uncategorized.

Pilates Quote: Physical Fitness is Key to Happiness

What makes you happy? What hobbies do you enjoy? Who do you like “running around” with? Most likely your favorite activities require you to be physically active in one way or another.  Whether it’s playing tennis, chasing grandkids, hiking, swimming, jogging, or jumping in puddles, you need to have physical fitness to be able to enjoy life and do the things that make your heart smile.

It takes a bit of work every day to stay strong, fit, and flexible enough to be able to do all the fitness and daily-life activities you love.  So next time you’re struggling through your Pilates Hundreds, slogging through mile 3 of your run, or feel like you can’t lift that weight one more time, remember you’re not working out for a workout, you’re doing it to have the strength and stamina to do the fun things in life that make your soul sing, bring you joy, and keep you happy!

Whole-Body Health and Happiness Starts with Physical Fitness!

Posted by Aliesa George in Quotes, Rejuvination, Uncategorized.