Category Archives: Pilates

Pilates For A Reason-One of the Many

 

 

I recently took part in the, “Freedom From Fractures” screening event in Birmingham and Northville, Michigan, speaking about bone health and screening participants. If you are over 45, this simple screening (Fore Fracture Risk Calculator) can give you valuable information on how to reduce your risk of having a fracture based on your personal health history.

At my studio, Gentle Pilates, in Novi, MI the number of clients with Osteoporosis is increasing.

Osteoporosis is a disease where bones are weakened and can easily break especially in the hip, spine, and wrist. Bone is considered living tissue. Throughout life, this tissue is broken down in the body and replaced with new bone. For some individuals, the bone continues to break down but is not easily replaced with the new. The inside of a healthy bone looks like a honeycomb. When afflicted with osteoporosis, this honeycomb structure develops larger spaces that indicate loss of bone density and strength.

Osteoporosis is often referred to as a “silent” disease. In the early stage, the individual feels nothing until a bone breaks usually in the hip, spine, or wrist.

I am always asked:  Is  Pilates is safe for those with low bone density? So, here is a quick answer:
The good news is that bone is a living tissue. Just like a muscle, the bone can be strengthened. In many situations, stronger bones can slow and even reverse the effects of osteoporosis.

Pilates helps to teach proper movement and weight-bearing exercises for strengthening the bones and the surrounding muscle, especially around the spine and major joints – hips, knees, shoulders. The muscles that attach along the spine are small muscles, which make up the core that supports the spine. When these small muscles are strengthened through targeted exercise, the result is increased mass and stability to support the spine.

Pilates can also help by creating body awareness. A Pilates professional that has experience with osteoporosis will know how to safely assess and teach proper movement and exercise. After regular practice, this movement becomes natural and can then be leveraged in day-to-day activities outside of the studio. It is also important to learn how to avoid contraindicated movements that can cause injury, such as flexion (roll downs and forward bend), side bending and rotation

Pilates exercises for osteoporosis are safe for people living with the condition. However, not all Pilates classes cater to people with osteoporosis. “Three-quarters of the exercises in traditional Pilates need to be modified for someone with osteoporosis.”   Make sure you are training under the direction of a well trained instructor.

And one quick word about posture:  At Gentle Pilates we evaluate you- your posture, because standing straight with great posture and keeping a neutral spine is the most important safety tip to follow when exercising, especially with osteoporosis.

One of the first things I do as a Pilates instructor is observe a person’s posture. Good posture is the position of the body that puts the least stress on the muscles, joints, and ligaments when sitting, standing, or lying down. The spinal column is the foundation the body supports itself on. When you look at it from the side, you can see that there are three main curves in it.

The neck (cervical) region and lower back (lumbar) region of the spine have inward curves. The mid-back (thoracic) region has an outward curve. These curves have a normal angle, which is the neutral position of the spine. Maintaining this neutral position puts the least stress on the back and neck.

If you slouch while sitting or standing, you lose the normal inward curve in your lower back. You also increase the curving in the mid-back and neck area. Doing so puts undue stress on the whole spine, because it over-stretches some muscles while tightening others. Also, your head isn’t resting on top of your body then. This forward head position fatigues the neck muscles, leading to increased tension and pain. In good sitting or standing posture the head and upper body are balanced on top of the lower back and pelvis, maintaining the normal curves of the spine. This minimizes the stress on the muscles, ligaments, and spinal discs.

Maintaining good posture requires you to be aware of what good posture is and how it feels. Also, you need the strength and (more importantly) the flexibility to achieve the proper position.

If you are interested in taking part in the simple screening (Fore Fracture Risk Calculator)or more information on achieving stronger and health bones, please contact me.  I look forward to helping you achieve your goals.

If you are interested in attending one of our buff Bone Classes or Gentle Pilates class, contact us.

 

 

 

New classes in October (schedule and registration coming soon)
We offer private sessions and group classes.

Gentle Pilates Mat Class

 Buff Bones  Class
This is a great class for those wanting to improve their bone density and create stronger bones.  A great class!

Yoga For Osteoporosis

The class will be held at: 23915 Forest Park, Novi MI  48374

PILATES BASED EXERCISE FOR FIBROMYALGIA: MULTIPLE CASE REPORT

human body

PILATES-BASED EXERCISE FOR FIBROMYALGIA; MULTIPLE CASE REPORT

AUTHORS; Ostalecki,S. Ph.D.; Gentle Pilates, Novi, MI, USA.
Tamler, M. MD; William Beaumont Hospital. Royal Oak, MI, USA.

 

SUBJECTS: 15 subjects (3 Male, 12 Female); mean age 55 years, age range 50-65.

MATERIAL/METHODS: Inclusion criteria: Community dwelling adults with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Subjects volunteered to participate in 2x per week 50-minute mat class for 4 months taught by a PMA/Polestar certified instructor.

Subjects received the following pre-tests and post-test at 6 weeks and then at the conclusion of the study.

Fibromyalgia (FM) Impact Questionnaire (FIQR)

Assessing: Function, Symptoms, and Overall Life Activities

Universal Pain Assessment Tool

Assessing: Weekly Pain levels

Functional Tests

Heel raise test, Goal Post, ½ squat, Spine Extension (prone), core strength (supine)

KEY WORDS: Pilates based mat exercise, Gentle Pilates, Pain, Fibromyalgia

FUNDING: None

Results: All of the subjects completed the study, even though less than half of patients in our study were provided recommendations to initiate an exercise program as part of their treatment plan.

Post test at 6 weeks showed improvements in the following areas: level of pain, 2 points, level of energy, 2 points, level of stiffness, 6 points, level of depression, 6 points, balance, 3 points, heel raise: increase in reps from 2 to 5. Pain levels fluctuated which is typical of FM patients, but assessment was in the 4-6 ranges as opposed to the starting range 9-10. The most significant changes were seen in pain levels, depression and ease of movement. At the onset of the study participants moved slowly and had difficulty getting down to the floor, and up.

 Conclusion: Gentle Pilates group exercise, mat based program, appears to improve physical function well being, balance and also decrease pain. A small percentage of the participants reported they have reduced pain medications. The comradery of the group was important; and gave support to the group as a whole, which contributed to the high attendance, at each class. The program will now continue at a low fee for Fibromyalgia patients; and it is recommended to include home-based physical activity as an exercise intervention for individuals with fibromyalgia. It is also important to offer phone or in person contact so Fibromyalgia participants could receive feedback/support, on their home-based activities

Also, a randomized controlled trial is recommended to compare the use of Pilate equipment (reformer, Cadillac, chair & spine corrector) with a mat based (Gentle Pilates) program.

 

Fibromyalgia Exercise Prescriptions–But What About the Side Effects?

Fibromyalgia exercise prescriptions should be individualized based on your initial functional capacity, severity of pain and fatigue, and tolerance to the problems that activity causes you. A general rule is to do less than you think can be accomplished. Success is a powerful reinforcement and increases the likelihood of maintaining an exercise program.

Inactive persons with FM should begin at a low intensity that is comfortable and pleasant, performing just 5 to 10 minutes of exercise, 3 or more times per week (daily when possible). Recognize that you may have some tolerable short-term increases in pain and fatigue. High intensity, stop-and-go activities and sporadic workouts should be avoided, since overloading sensitive muscle tissues may result in a ‘flare up’ of FM symptoms.

Participate in a variety of activities to avoid repeatedly stressing the same muscles and joints. If you exercise at an appropriate intensity, frequency, and duration, the symptoms caused by the physical activity should resolve within the first few weeks of exercise.

This diagram below provides a graphic representation of a proposed dose-response curve for exercise.

Continue reading Fibromyalgia Exercise Prescriptions–But What About the Side Effects?

Living With Fibromyalgia–You Are Not Alone!

As much as we have come to expect, or at least hope, for medicine to find the answers to our health challenges in a single pill or treatment, fibromyalgia may be too complex for a simple solution. The help we seek will come from many sources, including the resources of the body itself. Tapping into our innate healing potential takes motivation, will power and knowledge, but the results can be more than worth the effort… I would like to share some of the thoughts, other fibromyalgia patients shared.

I used to NEVER exercise, but I started going to physical therapy and was forced to exercise a little every day. It has greatly helped the pain and achy hurt of fibro for me. From 30 minutes or even 5 or 10 minutes a day greatly helps. I’m nowhere near physically fit, but whatever I can do I do to try to live a normal life again.

I stay one step ahead of Fibromyalgia with exercise. Prior to fibro, I was a gym-rat (between age 24-35). I was someone who was a card carrying member of the local World Gym in Waterford, MI, and I went religiously. I was in great shape physically, had healthy numbers, and also had great stamina.  Since fibro, my whole life has slowed down considerably, and I have become slightly deconditioned. My whole body is not free of pain and fatigue, however, exercise and correct diet has allowed me to maintain better health overall. My cholesterol levels have gone down, my blood pressure has been reduced to a safer level, consistently, and I have more energy overall. Exercise has reduced my pain, fatigue, headaches, stiffness and my mood is much better. Overall I am in a much better place because of my daily exercise.

Continue reading Living With Fibromyalgia–You Are Not Alone!

Have you Looked at Your Posture Today?

One of the first things I do as a Pilates instructor is observe a person’s posture. Good posture is the position of the body that puts the least stress on the muscles, joints, and ligaments when sitting, standing, or lying down. The spinal column is the foundation the body supports itself on. When you look at it from the side, you can see that there are three main curves in it.

The neck (cervical) region and lower back (lumbar) region of the spine have inward curves. The mid-back (thoracic) region has an outward curve. These curves have a normal angle, which is the neutral position of the spine. Maintaining this neutral position puts the least stress on the back and neck.

If you slouch while sitting or standing, you lose the normal inward curve in your lower back. You also increase the curving in the mid-back and neck area. Doing so puts undue stress on the whole spine, because it over-stretches some muscles while tightening others. Also, your head isn’t resting on top of your body then. This forward head position fatigues the neck muscles, leading to increased tension and pain. In good sitting or standing posture the head and upper body are balanced on top of the lower back and pelvis, maintaining the normal curves of the spine. This minimizes the stress on the muscles, ligaments, and spinal discs.

Maintaining good posture requires you to be aware of what good posture is and how it feels. Also, you need the strength and (more importantly) the flexibility to achieve the proper position.

Continue reading Have you Looked at Your Posture Today?