Why Pilates?

Pilates is system of exercises that focus of strengthening your “powerhouse,” the area of your body above and below the navel that wraps front to back. Pilates was developed by German-born Joseph Pilates, who believed mental and physical health were closely connected, and practicing Pilates has been proven to improve overall wellbeing as well as general fitness.

 

The goal of Pilates is the create a uniformly developed body. These exercises aim to strengthen muscles while improving postural alignment and flexibility. You do not need any special equipment to do Pilates, but there are plenty of pieces of equipment that Joseph Pilates created including Reformer, Cadillac and Chair, which enhance the experience via the resistance of springs. Either just on your Mat or with Equipment, expect the practice to involve slow, precise movements and breath control which strengthen and stabilize your core so you can move efficiently while improving your posture, flexibility, and mobility.

 

Many students find Pilates after an injury or accident post-PT. The movement practices assist in relieving pain because they help create space in the joints where compression may exist while strengthening the whole body. Practicing Pilates on a regular basis provides plenty of well-rounded benefits and anyone, at any age, can get started.

 

Through these controlled and progressive movements, you can totally reshape your body and improve:

  • Balance: Pilates exercises require more thought than other workouts which keeping the mind active and alert such as slow movements of the limbs while maintaining a strong core, so that your balance will quickly improve.

 

  • Flexibility: Pilates lubricates your joints and mobilizes your spine which can prevent problems such as stiff backs, tight hamstrings, bent knees, rounded shoulders, tech neck, and forward head.

 

  • Core strength: Many Pilates movements require you to stabilize your torso while moving your limbs in different directions which will strengthen your core and will streamline your body.

 

  • Mental Health: Pilates makes you stop and think about what you are doing. By focusing the mind, regulating your breathing and making use of internal resistance it is an extremely powerful way to tone the body.

Did you know Joseph Pilates suffered from rickets as a child?

Rickets is a disorder that children suffer that results in weak or soft bones. Symptoms include bowed legs, stunted growth, bone pain, large forehead, and trouble sleeping. The most common cause of rickets is a lack of vitamin D or calcium in a child’s diet. Both are essential for children to develop strong and healthy bones. Vitamin D is also essential for adults in helping fight disease, boost your immune system, reduce depression and assist in weight loss.

Research suggest that Vitamin D may play a role in reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis, decreases your chance of developing heart disease, reduce your likelihood of developing the flu.

Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression.

Your body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in not only rickets but also fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions.

Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. You can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.

Many factors can affect your ability to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D through the sun alone. These factors including your exposure to pollution, using sunscreen, spending time outdoors, and having pigmented skin (the higher the levels of melanin, the less vitamin D absorbed by the skin).

These factors contribute to vitamin D deficiency in an increasing number of people. That’s why it’s important to get some of your vitamin D from sources besides sunlight.

To find out if you have a vitamin D deficiency, you can get a simple blood test.  If you have a deficiency, your doctor may order X-rays to check the strength of your bones.

Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain and other health issues.

If you’re diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency, your doctor will likely recommend you take daily vitamin D supplements. You should also make sure to get vitamin D through sunlight and the foods you eat.

Few foods contain vitamin D naturally. These include:

  • salmon
  • sardines
  • egg yolk
  • shrimp

It can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements can help.

How much do you need?

There has been some controversy over the amount of vitamin D needed for healthy functioning. Recent research indicates that you need more vitamin D than was once thought. Normal blood serum levels range from 50 to 100 micrograms per deciliter. Depending on your blood level, you may need more vitamin D.

Research also shows that consuming 1,000 IU (25 mcg) daily would help 50% of people reach a vitamin D blood level of 33 ng/ml (82.4 nmol/l). Consuming 2,000 IU (50 mcg) daily would help nearly everyone reach a blood level of 33 ng/ml (82.4 nmol/l).

Another analysis of seventeen studies with over 300,000 people looked at the link between vitamin D intake and heart disease. Scientists found that taking 1,000 IU (25 mcg) of vitamin D daily reduced heart disease risk by 10%.

Based on current research, it seems that consuming 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 mcg) of vitamin D daily should be ideal for most people to reach healthy vitamin D blood levels.

However, don’t consume more than 4,000 IU of vitamin D without your doctor’s permission. It exceeds the safe upper limits of intake and is not linked to more health benefits.

For best results, consult with your doctor on what level would be best for you and if you need a Vitamin D supplement.

Anxiety Busters

For real, anxiety has been like a stow away in the back seat for waaaayyyy too long. Busting through the layers that got us to feeling our heart racing, chest tightening and temple veins thumping is definitely a process.

These are my go-to, tried and true techniques to get you through it all.

1 – Deep Breathing

Just take a deep breath in through your nose and blow it out through your mouth. Pretend like the weight of the world is floating off your shoulders and you will instantly feel lighter and lifted. This technique helps lower your heart rate and blood pressure, improve your lymphatic system by detoxifying your body, and helps you focus again.

2 – Meditation

Here’s a quick and easy mediation to help you bust through anxiety, clear your mind and get you back on track to check off your to-do list. Breath in and count one. Breath out and count two. Keep going until you get to 10 and then reverse it, counting backwards to one again. See if you can let go of any other thoughts. If you do wander over into another thought. Start over. Breath deeply. Be kind to yourself and patient and try again.

3 – Movement: Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly. Sit in easy seat or any comfortable seated position or a chair with feet firmly set on the ground. Inhale and lift your arms to the sky. Exhale and allow your hands to rest by your sides. Repeat 10 times. Let go of any other thoughts, worries or cares. Just be in the moment and movement and let everything else fade into the background. Just this simple exercise can reset your nervous system and get you back on track to a stress-free, focused day.

Rest & Reset

Rest…we all need it. And some of us avoid it. But it is another essential element of radiant health and wellbeing that should be the top of our priority list and here’s why…

Rest isn’t about being lazy or avoiding working hard. It’s absolutely necessary for our health and for working at our highest level.

Rest improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure and balances hormone levels. Vacation, in particular, has especially been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, and increase lifespan.

Still not convinced? Check out these additional benefits of rest:

  • better productivity and concentration
  • lower weight gain risk
  • improved calorie regulation
  • greater athletic performance
  • lower risk of heart disease
  • depression prevention

While many of us feel guilty, uncomfortable, or nervous about taking time off, we can’t continue working overtime and de-prioritizing rest. It’s this constant go-go-go attitude that leads to depletion and burnout. Our bodies and minds just can’t go at full throttle anymore.

Prioritizing rest and vacation time before you burn out is critical for doing your best work and living a healthy life.

Restorative Yoga can also help you rest and reset by allowing you to fully release your physical tension, chill your nervous system and refocus your mind to conquer your to-do list.

Restorative Yoga differs from a physically demanding yoga practice in that it is structured to allow you to deeply release and be still. This helps the stiffer, more dense connective tissues relax, the brain to flush the body with synovial fluid and instill sense of deep peace and calm into your nervous system.

You can use props like blankets and blocks to support your body so you can fully let go. Even just 20 minutes of yoga can help you detach from anxiety and stress, rest and rest.

So even if your schedule does not allow you to go on a week-long vacay, you can take a stay-cation on your mat, feel at ease again in your body and your mind.