A Man’s Pilates Journey and a Challenge for you.

It’s been a while since my last Blog.

I am still regularly attending classes, and loving it. 😉 The only week I have missed, was when I was in Spain for a family holiday…the commitment is paying off. I am starting to see the benefits.

I look forward to Wednesday evenings. It is a time where I can focus on my back, my posture, and relax from a busy day. It’s lovely to take part in a class myself and experience how the studio feels as a punter.
Firstly, as I mentioned in my last Blog, my Hamstrings are TIGHT. Jo reminds me of this, and it seems like the exercises are set to “…test James…” – or am I just paranoid? The sign of a good instructor – one who knows her classes well.

The Challenge:

I find that using the Bands are very useful, such a great tool for stretching.
I am going to set myself a challenge in the coming week – stretch each morning, to set me up for the day. Just a few minutes, but it will reduce my back pain, and loosen my muscles.
Will you join me in this challenge? Go on… you know it will make a difference. If you need a band then we have these available in the studio.

Hamstring Stretch
Band Hamstring Stretch

I banter with Jo, but ultimately, I know this is a part of me that I need to work on.
I probably drive more than I should do…definitely sit down more than I should (this is not a time for Priya to comment!), and sit on the wrong types of chairs, using my laptop for writing emails, social media updates, and suchlike…

So again – more walking to do the school-run, sitting square in the chairs, and generally being more active.
Today I was preparing some of the veg beds, so got some Vitamin D, some fresh air, and some exercise. Was only about 30 minutes, but it was 30mins more than the day before, so that is a bonus in my books. 😉

I have found that over the last few months, I have consciously thought about my posture more. And now I am training as a Massage Therapist, it is important I continue my focus on that.

I hear from others over the years, that the classes are ‘hard work’, and I can completely agree with that. What I knew before I started my Pilates Journey, was that the speed of repetition was not the key. It was the way the repetition was done. When I say that, I mean, 20 fast reps could be less beneficial that 10 slow reps. Core Strength is built in keeping the muscles engaged, and working.

I love the relaxation that class gives me and have been surprised by how much work Pilates actually is. That feeling the morning after when my muscles tell me Jo has worked them hard – it’s quite rewarding.

Have a great week, and remember, stretch those Hamstrings. 😉

PS – We sell Bands in the Studio – just ask James or Priya for one.

Sitting Is Killing You?!

Contentious statement huh. It’s certainly an interesting thought.

The clever people at http://www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/sitting-kills/ tell us that people are now sitting for an astonishing average of 9.3 hours a day! I find that fact amazing, I’m not sure I could sit for that long in one day, but then I’ve never been a fan of sitting still for long, ask my husband. He’s always telling me to “just come and sit down”.

So whats the problem with sitting….observational studies suggest that it is linked to obesity and heart disease. This is pretty obvious as being inactive is a known factor in these chronic diseases. The interesting idea from studies is that sitting still is the problem as it slows your metabolism down, so even those who exercise regularly but then sit still for long periods will have a slower metabolism and consequently gain weight.  So sitting needs to be interrupted with periods of activity.

 Part of the problem from a Pilates perspective is that sitting places your body in a position thats just not good for your alignment. The more time you spend sitting, the tighter your hamstrings become.  The tighter your hamstrings, the more they pull the lowest curve out of the spine and tuck the tailbone under. You get lower back pain…..sound familiar?! If so come and see me and we’ll find some exercises to help 🙂

The other issue is all the curves and bends in the body affect your blood flow. Your blood likes to flow freely in a straight line. Sitting in a bent position for a long period of time stops it from being able to do this. And…..you say…..well this leads to blood cells bumping into things and getting damaged, which leads to plaques building up obstructing blood vessels which links us back to heart disease. Ouch.

The answer…either have a standing workstation (lovely idea and great if it works for you but it isn’t going to work for most people) or break up your sitting with lots of activity breaks – make a drink, walk up some stairs, go and chat to someone instead of emailing them…you get the idea. Standing instantly makes your body work harder and puts you in a better alignment, especially if you’ve been to my Pilates sessions and have learnt how to stand 🙂

Fascinating stuff. It certainly means those hours of baby rocking and sling walking combined with my inability to sit still is all good. So all of you sat down reading this…STAND UP!