Latest "Exercise and Fitness" Posts
9 Important Questions to Help You Get Started Designing Your Personalized Fitness Plan
For wellness success, each of us need to design our own unique personalized fitness plan. Our plan for weekly workouts needs to be Realistic, Do-Able, Lifestyle-friendly, and ultimately something that we can create, modify, and stick with for a lifetime of good health.
If you are trying to figure out how to make this happen or are struggling to stay consistent with your exercise program, here are 9 important questions to ask yourself in order to design your Personalized Fitness Plan.
9 Tips to Design Your Personalized Fitness Plan:
- What time of the day works best for you to exercise? Morning/Afternoon/Evening
- How many days per week would you ideally like to be exercising?
- How many days per week is it realistic for you to be exercising?
- How long a time-slot can you commit to for your workouts?
(10 min x 3, 20-30 min, 30-45 min, 1 hour, 90 minutes, 2 or more hours)
- What types of activities do you LOVE doing?
(Create a list of health and fitness activities you LOVE)
- Aside from your “workouts” what other recreational activities do you want to incorporate into your week with friends and family? And how often do you want to participate in these activities?
- How many hours of sleep do you need to wake up rested and refreshed?
- What’s the best strategy for you to make healthy food choices?
- What activities help you wind-down, relax, and de-stress? (Meditation, reading, taking a bath, drawing…it can be anything.) Do you know what helps you, and are these things incorporated into your day/week?
Use the answers to these nine important questions as a springboard to design your personalized fitness plan, and be confident that you’re creating a lifestyle-friendly action plan you can easily put in place and stick with to reach your wellness goals.
Bladder Control and Exercise: Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is Not OK! (For Women, or Men)
Do you have a bladder control problem? If you pee when you workout… Don’t just go and buy adult diapers, you need to read this!
An article about women, exercise, and urinary leakage just popped up on my Facebook page. And as a woman, an athlete most of my life, and a mind-body mentor who is in the business of helping BOTH men and women improve functional fitness, and improve healthy movement habits, I felt compelled to comment on this.
Here’s the thing… If you pee during your workouts, you’re not using the muscles of your pelvic floor correctly. And these muscles don’t just affect bladder control during exercise. The pelvic floor is the basement of the spine. It’s the anchor point for you to be able to lift the rest of your torso UP off your hips. In a nutshell, if your pelvic floor isn’t working correctly, you will NEVER have good postural support. This can create, not only urinary incontinence issues, but can also be a huge contributing factor to chronic hip pain, lower back pain, upper back and shoulder pain, and even neck pain.
Correct pelvic floor support is also a stabilizing force in the center for the pelvis, to get both the legs and lumbo-pelvic complex working correctly for gait. (Which means, having a healthy stride to walk and run, hinges on good pelvic floor, and core support!) Your pelvic floor (along with some deep low ab support) is a part of what helps lift your pelvis UP off your legs so you can get the ball of the leg bone to swing freely in the hip socket. And then there’s all sorts of other movement, in multiple-directions, that needs to happen with the hip bones for a truly healthy stride.
This means that learning and doing the RIGHT exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, (on a regular basis) YOU can potentially CORRECT the leakage problem. How’s that sound? Bladder control based on YOUR muscles doing the job they were designed to do.
Would you rather invest in adult diapers for the rest of your natural life, or discover how you, can strengthen your own muscles to stay healthy? (Let’s keep you out of diapers for as long as possible. Doesn’t that sound like a good choice?)
Because there is a ton of bad information out there, and sadly, many fitness professionals are still telling telling people to do Kegel exercises to improve bladder control…
As a public service announcement Please Note:
A KEGEL is NOT going to help you improve what needs to be working correctly at the bottom of your crotch to support bladder control, posture, alignment, and functional firing patterns for movement and exercise. Practicing Kegels might help improve your sex life, but otherwise, ladies, there is no good reason to practice sucking your vaginal muscles up inside your center, or for you men, pretending you just jumped into a cold swimming pool and your testicles are trying to hide up inside. (Men, if you’re reading this, the reality of the situation is urinary incontinence and poor pelvic floor use is every bit an issue for you too.)
And AUUUUGH even worse, NEVER stop peeing in the middle of your stream, to practice strengthening your pelvic floor. Best way to end up with a bladder infection! Pee full stream from start to finish into the toilet people. Practice pelvic floor strengthening exercises any other time of the day.
When you know and understand what you’re doing for proper pelvic floor contractions, this muscle support should be used throughout your day, and on every single fitness exercise you do! It will be easy to accomplish sometimes, and very difficult on other exercises. But not learning how to use your pelvic floor muscles correctly is a crime, because it’s not that difficult to learn, and practice will help these muscles get stronger to better support bladder control, posture, and gait.
Remember, the right balance of strength and flexibility with every muscle group = good health and a body that functions normally, in all situations.
Recently, I started seeing a Physical Therapist for my own personal pelvic issues. And while my post-menopausal pelvic floor issues were not related to bladder control and SUI, I can say with confidence that in my opinion, every women over 40, (or if you’ve had children, perhaps after each pregnancy,) would be well-served to see a PT that specializes in this area. Issues down in our “nether region” are not something that we spend a lot of time talking about with friends, family, or our physician. And whether its pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, or something else… these issues are NOT “normal.” You shouldn’t have to just grin and bear it, believing that you’re just getting older and there is nothing you can do to fix it. I complained for almost 10 years to my OB/GYN before he finally suggested I try Physical Therapy! TEN YEARS!!! Nobody in their right mind should wait that long to address a chronic problem. Speak up, and be the squeaky wheel until somebody takes you seriously enough, you’ve tried multiple solutions, and you’ve gotten the positive results you’re after. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! (Please don’t lose hope, or stop trying to improve your health, until after you’ve taken your last dying breath!)
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles! For each and every part of our body we are challenged with dominant and weaker muscle groups, and when things are out of balance – injuries result. With every muscle we’re faced with a “use it or lose it” dilemma. So if you don’t even know it exists, much less how to use it properly, doesn’t it make sense that it’s going to get weaker?
The first real sign you’re going to notice for a weak pelvic floor just might be when you start leaking! Before then, why even bother with it. Well if you don’t have bladder control problems yet, how about being PRO-ACTIVE to find and keep the right muscles working in the basement to support your body and your bladder. Reduce your risk for hip and back injuries, SI joint issues, and urinary incontinence by strengthening your weak or imbalanced pelvic floor muscles. It’s never too late to learn a new trick! You just need somebody to teach you the secret of strengthening your Pelvic Floor for better bladder control.
Discover the Secret to Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor… Check out my eCourse: How to Effectively Engage the Pelvic Floor to Help Strengthen the Core
How to Effectively Engage the Pelvic Floor to Help Strengthen the Core
And here’s a link to the article by Katherine Martinko that inspired this post:
Women, you’re not supposed to leak while exercising! Ignore what CrossFit says
The upper body strength benefits of incorporating handstands into your weekly workouts are huge. In daily life we don’t typically spend much time upside down on our hands. But, being upside-down is great for developing balance, body awareness and control, and improving arm and shoulder strength. Plus being in a handstand position has some great benefits for a healthy spine. In a handstand, you’re countering the effects of gravity to lengthening the spine in a completely different way!
Continue Reading ‘Pilates Exercise Progressions: Use Handstands To Develop Strong Arms & Shoulders
Are you still out shopping and looking for great fitness gift ideas for the health enthusiasts in your life?
What could be better than wellness solutions for better mind-body health from your head to your toes.
These are perfect fitness gifts for Pilates students, Runners, Walkers, Athletes, Dancers, and regular everyday folks who are inspired to improve their health and fitness at home, at the gym, or on the road. Check out these easy to use, products, books, and resources from the whole-body health experts at Centerworks® and give the gift of good health for the Holidays!
Continue Reading ‘Merry Fitness! 10 Great Fitness Gift Ideas from Centerworks®
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!
Question about Biking and Low Back Pain:
“I am looking for some pointers on using a spin bike. I am challenged with low back pain, use clip in shoes, and am very conscious of heels straight in line from toes, but need butt and back positions. Thanks for any help you can offer.” Dana
Answer from Aliesa:
In my opinion, spin class and biking is perhaps not the most ideal exercise choice if dealing with low back pain.
If you look at most bikers, the low spine is rounded with the pelvis and hips tucked under, creating a prime opportunity for discs to translate out of place to the back. You sit in this position for an hour or more, and when you get off the bike it may be difficult to stand up straight! Add to this the fact that the head and neck are cranked into extension to see where you’re going, and you’ve got flexion through most of the spine, and hyper-extension in the neck. A healthy spine can put in lots of miles in this position, but if you have low back pain, SI joint problems, or neck and shoulder pain, this body position for cycling may only make things worse.
Continue Reading ‘Biking and Low Back Pain – Smart Exercise Choices for a Healthy Spine
A fellow Pilates Teacher forwarded me an article from Greg Lehman, BKin, MSc, DC, MScPT entitled The mechanical case against foam rolling your IT Band. It can not lengthen and it is NOT tight. She wanted to know what I thought about the article…
The article is an interesting read with some pretty strong opinions on why we should STOP using a foam roller to “stretch” or “loosen” tight IT bands.
I have to admit that I am one who occasionally will use a foam roller massage on my IT bands, as well as the rest of my body. I don’t do it all the time, but do enjoy the sense of release/relief I feel when I’m finished. Sometimes it’s a little painful, and sometimes I don’t feel much of anything at all. I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about rolling on my IT bands as a stretching exercises, as much as a way to release tight muscles and fascia along the sides of my thighs. But I don’t ever just roll the sides of my legs, I use the foam roller for my whole body – back, quads, hamstrings, outer thighs, calves… I believe it’s important to work and stretch everything for a healthy system, and sometimes a little foam roller massage feels great after a long, hard workout.
Continue Reading ‘Is Using a Foam Roller on Your IT Bands Helping or Hurting You?
Why is physical fitness important to you? What’s the point of exercise? Are you thinking it’s just “to lose weight” or “to get a toned, hot body?” Well, those are great side-effects to exercise, but the real reason we should be toiling away in the gym or sweating it out at the Pilates Studio is to keep our bodies strong and flexible enough to do our everyday life activities with ease.
If you have ever been injured and found it impossible to walk, roll over in bed, or get up and down off the toilet then you realize and appreciate the importance of maintaining your good health. Taking the time to improve your physical fitness to be fit and healthy is not just to look good, but to feel good, mind, body, and soul – to have the ability to enjoy your work AND free-time as Joe would say, “with spontaneous zest and pleasure!”
Have you ever experienced hip pain or low back pain? Most people at some point in their lives have dealt with one or both of these debilitating problems. Our sedentary lifestyle and poor movement habits have led to grippy overworked hip flexors, weak abs, and generally speaking imbalances with the strength and flexibility of the lumbo-pelvic complex (our hips, legs, pelvis, and low back.)
Continue Reading ‘Low Back Pain: The Sexy Cat Exercise for Healthy Hips and a Happy Back
Get a Stronger Core, Improve Body Awareness and Enjoy Better Support for a Healthy Back and Better Body Mechanics with the Foam Roller Fitness 1 Knee to Chest Core Challenge Exercise
Foam roller exercises are excellent opportunities to improve body awareness and activate the deep muscles throughout the core (Abdominals and Back) that provide stability and support for good posture and healthy movement.
The foam roller is a fun and useful fitness tool that can be used as a warm-up, workout and cool-down! It’s easy to adjust the challenge by making small adjustments to your alignment and technique so you can work at a pace that’s appropriate for you. This how-to exercise video is an excerpt from the Foam Roller Fitness Core Challenge Workout Virtual Training Program.
Continue Reading ‘Tips To Use Foam Roller Exercises To Improve Your Health and Fitness