Tag 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

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?

Movement & Exercise: Best Management Tools for Fibromyalgia

“There are many reasons why people develop Fibromyalgia, but no one really knows. But we do know physical exercise as a management tool for this very debilitating condition, is key to controlling ones pain.” 

 

Let’s face the facts. Despite over four decades of the so-called “exercise revolution” in the United States, the traditional model for getting people more physically active (i.e., a structured exercise program) has been only marginally effective. In fact, recent reports from the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that approximately 70 percent of American adults are not physically active on a regular basis, and 25 percent of the adult population engage in no structured physical activity at all. To understand why people sometimes lack the motivation for regular physical activity, one must first acknowledge a simple yet important fact: exercise is time consuming. Therefore, structured exercise may extend the day or compete with other valued interests and responsibilities of daily life.

Fibromyalgia patients face an additional challenge–the initial increase in pain and stiffness immediately after exercising. Consequently, many mistakenly believe that exercise actually worsens their condition. In fact, 83 percent of patients who have FM do not engage in regular aerobic exercise, and most of those tested have below average fitness levels. Some sobering reports also suggest that many individuals with FM have aerobic fitness levels of healthy individuals who are twice their age!  Yikes!!

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A Call To Action: Start Pilates Gradually – But Start!

If you’re doing no exercise at the present time, start by exercising at a mild-to-moderate intensity for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, 3 or more times per week. That may not sound like much – but if you go from doing nothing to doing this amount of exercise, and gradually increase the intensity, frequency, and duration of activity, you’ll improve your health more than a person who goes from running 30 miles per week to running 40 miles a week.

How could this be? Recent pioneering research has shown that people who don’t exercise at all (we refer to them as the least active, least fit – or the bottom 20 percent) have the greatest risk of developing cardiovascular problems and other chronic diseases. If you get out of this “high risk” category by doing even a modest amount of exercise each week, you’ll substantially decrease your risk for a heart attack or stroke and increase you quality of life.

How does Pilates fit into this discussion? How does Pilates follow the principle of inertia? A body at rest tends to remain at rest and a body in motion tends to remain in motion. Pilates is movement; movement is life.  It is a practice of moving, breathing, becoming stronger and more mobile!

Continue reading A Call To Action: Start Pilates Gradually – But Start!

Fibromyalgia Management Tool: Pilates

“There are many reasons why people develop Fibromyalgia, but no one really knows. But we do know physical exercise as a management tool for this very debilitating condition, is key to controlling ones pain.”  

We, myself included, all know what fibromyalgia is, and finding one treatment to alleviate all of the many symptoms isn’t always possible. Sometimes finding ANY treatment that helps seems impossible.

There was a study on the effects of Pilates training on people with fibromyalgia syndrome in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. December 2009. Vol. 90. No. 12. Pp. 1983-1988.  The results of this study may help some people with this condition. Fifty (50) women diagnosed with fibromyalgia participated in an exercise program three times a week for 12 weeks. The women were divided into two separate exercise groups. One group was instructed and supervised in doing a Pilates program. The instructor was a certified Pilates trainer. The second (control) group did a home program of relaxation and stretching for the same 12-week time period. The participants ranged in age from 24 to 63 years old. Except for the fibromyalgia diagnosis, these women were in good health without evidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, or other significant health problems.

Continue reading Fibromyalgia Management Tool: Pilates