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Latest "Functional Movement" Posts

Choose to MOVE: What Movement Means for Whole-Body Health

Choose to MOVE your muscles to stay strong, healthy, & fit!Choose to MOVE your muscles to stay strong, healthy, & fit!

As we head into a NEW Year, I’d like to share with you a few thoughts about choosing to MOVE, and what movement means for your whole-body health.  Kicking off a new year, gives us a clean slate, a fresh start, it’s a moment in time when many people get re-energized and re-commit to doing a better job in the coming year of taking care of themselves..  This is a wonderful thing to do.  But it’s not just saying it that matters!  It’s putting your thoughts into ACTION and following through.  Every day we make choices with what we think, what we say, and what we do.  The question becomes, are these three things congruent to move you forward, or causing you to self-sabotage your success?

My wish for you in the coming year, or whenever it is that you stumble across this blog post, is that starting TODAY, you will make a promise to yourself to stay committed, to keeping YOU Healthy!

You can do it!  Just keep taking one small step at a time to move you forward.  Every choice you make is a decision that will be moving you closer to your goals or farther away.  So take a moment and pause before you eat that next cookie, or skip a workout, and ask yourself, “Is this decision serving my highest good, and my desire to achieve my goals?”  If the answer is “YES,” then proceed.  But if it’s “NO,” then perhaps you might want to reconsider the choice you are about to make…

Here’s what the word MOVE means to me:

Muscles Only Value Exercise

Yep, it’s hard to deny this!  The road to a strong, fit, and flexible body is MOVEMENT!  Without it we become incapable of taking care of ourselves, and our physical health on every level becomes compromised.

Movement and exercise not only develops a stronger body, but it improves the health of your heart and lungs, helps to regulate your blood sugars, aids digestion, improves your posture, reduces stress, helps you sleep better, aids concentration, alleviates depression, and so much more…

Having a healthy body with balanced muscle development, will reduce your risk of injury, alleviate aches and pains, and allow you to do what you want, when you want for a healthy and active lifestyle.  If something hurts or you’re injured and you stop moving because of it, that may be the best choice for a bit, but eventually, you’re going to have to get back after it.  (and probably work a little harder to re-balance your muscles to ensure a complete recovery.)  Everybody has dominant and weaker muscles, the problem is we tend to always play to our strengths.  Keep in mind that if you focus on moving some muscles, but don’t adequately work your entire body!  Sooner or later, you can expect to be sitting on the sidelines, or running to the doctor scrambling to get your good health back.

FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT MATTERS! 

  • Learn how to find and fire the right muscles in sequence to ensure that you are really maximizing your MOVEment training time.  This is a great investment in your whole-body health.  Seek the help of a Movement Mentor to help you become more aware of your good and bad habits so you can make every minute of every workout really count.  Find a great Pilates teacher, personal trainer, or functional movement specialist to coach and train you.
  • Learn to listen to what your body needs, and then take action.  This can be the best give you give to yourself.  Do this for you not just every-once-in-a-while, but every day, because you’re WORTH it, and it’s the best way to ensure you keep moving forward for improved whole-body health!
  • Discover how powerful it is to LIVE in a Healthy Body that can MOVE with grace and ease!

As you formulate your wellness plan, and set new goals for the New Year, remember that Muscles Only Value Exercise.  To enjoy optimal whole-body health, and maintain a healthy and active life, you’re going to have to CHOOSE to make exercise, (with a focus on developing healthy movement habits,) a regular part of each and every day!  Make a commitment to yourself to keep MOVING for a lifetime of good health.

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Get your New Year’s health improvement commitment started with Pulse-Power! the Daily Dozen 10-Minute Workout Plan.  Download a copy today, and choose to MOVE.

Posted by Aliesa George in Functional Movement, Health.

Hip Exercises: Tight Hips Aren’t Terrible!

Hip ExercisesI know it seems like blasphemy to talk about hip exercises and say that tight hips aren’t terrible, but let’s take a closer look at this perspective.

Every day in the studio I see clients who are plagued with poor posture and tight hip flexors from sitting all day at work. Let’s face it, gravity is not our friend, slumping posture, a weak core, grippy hip flexors, inner and outer thigh muscles that are out of balance, tight hamstrings and calves, feet and ankles that are both stiff and weak, it’s no wonder that people struggle to achieve healthy, normal functional movement habits.

But I really don’t think that tight hips are terrible. The muscles and ligaments that surround the hip are tight and should be strong for a reason… To keep us upright, and allow us to walk and run, hop, skip, and jump. I’m sorry, but IS stretching really the solution if you’re struggling to climb a flight of stairs, or are challenged to get up out of a chair? NO, it’s a hip extension and STRENGTH issue!

Is stretching the hips going to help you balance better? NO, it’s improving the strength and support of everything from your feet to your core, and improving the relationship between your pelvis and your legs. For most folks, this means working on body posture, placement of the pelvis and spine, and improving strength of the inner thighs, outer thighs, Hamstrings, Glutes, and Abdominals because they ALL play a major role in improving balance and body control.

I realize that those of you reading this, may not struggle with the challenge of climbing stairs or getting up off the toilet yet, but trust me… sooner or later you likely will be facing these quality of life issues if you’re hips and legs are not strong enough to support you!

What’s the secret to getting the most out of your hip exercises? There is more to improving hip mechanics than stretching your quads and hip flexors. Let’s face it, if your hips are tight, there’s probably a very good reason why, and your daily movement and exercise habits are only continuing to reinforce this compromised support system.

Posted by Aliesa George in Functional Movement, Pilates.

How is Your Spring Fitness Plan Shaping Up?

muscleHow is your spring fitness plan shaping up? What are YOUR favorite spring fitness activities? Do you enjoy getting outside for long walks? Hitting the road or trails on your bike for a ride? Participating in sports like Soccer, Baseball, or Softball? Participating in running races or triathlons? Or maybe having fun gardening, playing golf, or tennis?

Whatever your favorite spring fitness activities are, it’s not too late to focus your Pilates and fitness program for a little extra conditioning to get your body in tip-top shape to prepare you for your favorite spring sports and activities.

Posted by Aliesa George in Functional Movement, Pilates.

Pilates Quote: Functional Movement

Hard work doesn’t always have to be hard…  By training efficient functional movement habits, so that all muscles are properly developed and working harmoniously together, tasks or “work” that once seemed difficult can become effortless.

Are you ready to enjoy a little more pleasure in your life?  Do Pilates, it makes everything better…  but especially your brain-body connection.  Develop your muscles in the right way so that everything you do for work and play can be fun, efficient, and easy.

***Get started on the road to balanced muscle development with a quick posture check.  See where you rate with this quick Posture Quiz to stay strong, fit, flexible, and injury-free.

Posted by Aliesa George in Functional Movement, Quotes.

Pilates Quote: Breathe

Learn to breathe well for better health!  It’s great that the act of breathing is regulated by our autonomic nervous system.  This means that whether we’re paying attention to breathing or not, we continue to inhale and exhale to stay alive.  Our breath brings oxygen to our cells and feeds our brain.  Inhaling lengthens the natural curves of our spine, to help decompress the body, open the joints, and helps free the body for better movement.  Most people breathe to survive.  But to really thrive, it takes conscious effort to reinforce healthy breathing habits.  When you learn to breath well, you will have unlocked a secret key to better health.

Posted by Aliesa George in Breathing, Quotes.

Pilates Exercise Progressions: Use Handstands To Develop Strong Arms & Shoulders

handstandThe 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!

Posted by Aliesa George in Exercise and Fitness, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips, Strength Training.

Merry Fitness! 10 Great Fitness Gift Ideas from Centerworks®

santaAre 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!

Posted by Aliesa George in Exercise and Fitness, Foot Care & Foot Fitness, Goal Setting, Health, Mind-Body Health.

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: Flexibility and Age

Does your flexibility and age match?  You are only as old as you feel… I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “age is just a number.” Joseph Pilates brings some meaning to this adage.  The number of years we’ve been on this planet is not what makes us young or old, but it’s the fitness, flexibility and strength of our bodies that determine our youth and vitality (or lack thereof.)

So how old do YOU feel?  How fit and flexible is your spine?  How easily and naturally can you bend your body forwards, backwards, sideways, and twist?  How often do you ask your body to move and bend in all directions?

If you’re feeling stiff and old, it’s never too late to start moving to improving your health and enhance your vitality.  Keep your spine, hips, and shoulders moving freely so that as you age 60 can be the new 40, and let’s strive to make 90 the new 60!

Promote on the blog:  The Pilates Spine Corrector aka Pilates Arc Barrel is a fabulous training tool for at-home workouts to stretch and strengthen your spine and improve the health of your hips, shoulders, and whole-body.  Don’t have a Pilates Arc Barrel yet?  Get your Arc Barrel now along with the book A Barrel of Fun!  And you’ll have everything you need to improve your fitness for a flexible spine.

Posted by Aliesa George in Flexibility & Stretching, Quotes.

Biking and Low Back Pain – Smart Exercise Choices for a Healthy Spine

bikingQuestion 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.   

Posted by Aliesa George in Back Pain, Exercise and Fitness.