The Health Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is now known across the world, mostly for the extreme health benefits that it brings to the table. It doesn’t matter what age you are or your fitness level; anyone can benefit from Pilates. It is estimated that over 20 million people around the world take a Pilates class or do Pilates exercises in some form or another. This exercise regime is said to give people many physical and mental benefits.

Get Thrive Yoga Pants
Get Thrive Yoga Pants

Makes You More Flexible

Stretching overtime and using the “Reformer” on a regular basis not only extends your range of motion, but it makes you more flexible as well. This will eventually make your body feel looser and give it the ability to do exercises and activities that you never could before. Becoming more flexible will also help you achieve other physical improvements, such as reducing back pain.

Can Improve Your Breathing

When you are in a Pilates class, careful attention is paid to your breathing patterns. Proper breathing also helps with your blood circulation, which will make you feel fresh, energized, and happy even long after the Pilates class ends.

Deep breathing gives your body a better supply of oxygen, an elemental part of almost all chemical reactions that take place in your body. Oxygen gives you energy. Exhaling rids carbon dioxide, or waste, from your body. Therefore, deep breathing is a great way to cleanse!

Helps to Improve Posture

No matter what you are doing when going about your everyday life, taking Pilates reminds you that you need to pull your stomach in, pull your shoulders back and maintain the good posture that makes it possible to be fit and live healthily.

Not only does perfecting your posture make you look better, but it can also help alleviate shoulder tension and upper back pain. The focus on posture in your Pilates class will change the way you carry yourself outside of class as well.

Ergonomic High-Back Chair
Ergonomic High-Back
Chair

Helps to Build Better Balance and Core Strength

Using a Pilates ball or a Reformer utilizes physical coordination and also helps to build balance. Balance exercises also strengthen core muscles. This is where structuring good posture comes in.

“Active awareness” of your core muscles while performing Pilates balancing exercises helps you maintain your posture. And, because the core contains and controls your diaphragm, this can also improve the deep breathing we discussed earlier.

Overall: Makes Your Body More Efficient

Pilates is the type of exercise that tones your body, improves your breathing and posture, and makes you more flexible. In other words, Pilates allows your body to be more efficient every time you take a class.

Pilates is sweeping the nation and can help you become a better you. Try a class—you’ve got everything to gain!

 

How To Correct Posture With Pilates

The fact is, no one has a perfect posture.  Yes, there are those who benefit from a more aligned spine and therefore a better posture, but everyone has to who work at it, and Pilates provides the perfect mechanisms to do that.  So what is Pilates and how can it help everyone, including athletes?  Pilates is strength, flexibility and control of the body.  To quote Joseph Pilates (Founder of Pilates) “A man is as young as his spinal column”.

 

WHAT IS PILATES?

Joseph Pilates grew up in Dusseldorf, Germany in the 1880s.  He was unfortunately a sickly child who suffered numerous asthma attacks as well as rheumatic fever, which left him with an underdeveloped bone structure as well as distorted limbs.  Joseph refused to let his health situation dictate his physical and mental capabilities, working hard to produce exercises that would correct and strengthen his body.  The first of these exercises is more commonly referred to as mat work, later known as ‘The Art of Contrology.’  Evolving the exercise regime after 1st world war, Joseph worked in a hospital in The Isle of Man, helping the bedridden and wounded by strengthening their bodies and muscles, getting them mobile once again.  Using bedsprings attached to a bedframe helped the wounded move more freely, whilst keeping their muscles toned.  This equipment later developed to what is now referred to as a ‘Cadillac’.

 

HOW POOR POSTURE MAY AFFECT THE BODY

Posture is not just a matter of standing up straight, it may also affect good health.  When organs are not working to their full potential, balance may be disturbed and the spine may incur injuries.  Poor posture is not always down to habit, although repeating certain movement repetitively, can have an effect on the spine’s alignment.  It may be due to the way a spine curves, for example:

  • Lordosis – extended curvature of the lower back, which may cause lower back pain.
  • Abnormal Kyphosis- affecting the dorsal area and commonly referred to as a hunchback, includes back pain, muscle exhaustion and stiffness.
  • Scoliosis – sideward curvature of the spine. Symptoms may include, leaning to one side, ribs sticking out to one side, or uneven shoulders, which may cause clothes not to fit correctly.  Adults often suffer from back pain caused by this affliction. (please note there are several types of scoliosis from genetic to habitual)
  • Swayback – hypermobility beyond normal range gives the appearance of a swayback. This issue may cause chronic back pain.
  • Flatback – lower back loses its natural curvature, which may cause severe back pain.

 

HOW TO CORRECT POSTURE WITH THE PILATES METHOD

Partaking in Pilates on a regular basis can offer the following benefits: healthy spine, even shoulders and hips and body weight dispersed evenly on both sides of the body.  Initial work consists of a combination of floor work (mat) and the reformer which is a resistance carriage that moves back and forth along a track making the subject work within the apportioned space helping align the spine and strengthening the body.  In some studios selected exercises may be introduced on the Cadillac, a table with springs which enables a person to exercise with the support of springs. The classical Pilates method is good for everyone, including athletes who want to improve their performance.  Pilates will develop their alignment, muscle configuration, endurance, improve flexibility, and help coordination and balance, all aiding the prevention of injuries and potentially improving the body’s longevity.

Whether the class is a group or a private lesson, it is all about technique. Athletes have experienced many benefits from the Pilates methods, some of which include:

 

  • Increased flexibility
  • Muscle efficiency and balance
  • Strength
  • Increased mobile movement
  • Cognitive focus

 

Ficmax Ergonomic High-back Large Size Office Desk Chair
Ficmax Ergonomic High-back Large Size Office Desk Chair

 

Pilates is different from many exercise regimes because it concentrates on a whole body approach, using the core (the spine and surrounding muscles) as the key to strengthen muscles, align posture, and rescue internal organs from damage.  Once the posture and the core start to correct, breathing, circulation, strength and mobility follow.  Classical Pilates has many positive attributes for those who want to improve physical performance, as well as benefit health.  The one thing Pilates possesses that no other method has is the ability to protect the body’s core, whilst pushing expectations and achieving results that a person may have not thought possible, especially those who have notably suffered from poor posture.

Being precise in movement is the key to success, so be sure to research a well established Pilates venue. To read more about the benefits of Pilates in athletes, please follow this link www.stack.com

 

 

RESOURCES

https://www.thebodeswell.com/

Harvard Health

American Family Physician

 

 

Is Work/Life Balance Even Possible?

How do we find the perfect work/life balance?   This is a question we have all asked ourselves but many of us don’t sit down and plan the solution?  If you are an entrepreneur, this is an essential undertaking to keep your family, sanity, and productivity all in check.  How do we manage and achieve it all?  Following some essential steps, it’s possible to navigate a business in a positive direction, while keeping life organized and in a state of equilibrium.

 

TIME MANAGEMENT IS KEY

Managing a business may seem as simple as a business plan, achievable goals, and deadlines, but what happens when there is an entire team to manage?  Tracked communication is a great way to open up conversations amongst a group, in a time efficient manner.  Examples of websites which accomplish this include: www.asana.com , www.trello.com  www.monday.com.  They help specifically project manage either an individual or a team by documenting workload, schedules, and assignments.   Using a tool like these sites allows the team to visualize their work day each morning, so attainable results are achieved by the end of the day.

Staff also now have the advantage of viewing their personal goals and timeframes, while also interacting with the other team members.  Many of these websites have a free version or trial, which makes it easy to explore.  The following points, will not only help in the work place, but with life in general too:

  • Invest in a project management app/website and populate it with weekly/monthly team targets
  • Set realistic daily deadlines, with accomplished tasks ticked off from the previous day. There’s a motivational satisfaction when jobs are crossed off and the team will see results.
  • Management should not overstretch their staff. There are only so many hours in a day.
  • False promises should not be made to clients.
  • Smaller tasks should be outsourced. A Website like peopleperhour.com is a convenient resource.
  • If a deadline looming, switching off email for a period of time can help prevent distractions.
  • Get away from the desk. If high speed wifi is available, almost anywhere can become an office, where work can be accomplished while sipping that latte.

 

LIFE BALANCE

Trying to please everyone can be mentally and physically exhausting.  Set limits and don’t be afraid to say no.  It is proven that a work-life balance leads to higher levels of productivity.  It is possible to achieve results without compromising happiness:

  • Carve out time everyday for friends or family, no matter how hectic life is. Happiness at home will project positively on to work place performance.
  • All work and no play can lead to stress and a severe case of dull person syndrome. Switch off the phone and partake in activities like exercise or hobbies.
  • Weekly/monthly responsibilities at home should be shared, if possible, so they do not creep into work hours.
  • Take time to be healthy. Eat right, sleep 6-8 hours, aim for some sort of activity each day, even if it’s just a walk.

We are all trying to succeed within a small space of time, and how we manage that time shapes our success and happiness.  Self discipline and organization are tools that can help achieve that. LIVE TO WORK is so yesterday, the future is WORK TO LIVE. There may be a few hiccups along the way but with determination and focus work-life balance can be accomplished.

 

To learn more about work-life balance, check out GetThrive.com

 

References

www.asana.com

www.trello.com

www.monday.com

www.peopleperhour.com

 

 

Yoga Is A Way To Explore Strength, Peace, And Harmony

The origins of yoga are shrouded in mystery, from its oral teachings to its historical text.  Dating back at least 10,000 years, it was practiced by religions, which may have had a foundation in Hinduism.  So why are we so fascinated by yoga and what makes it extremely popular in today’s society?

Yoga is no fitness fad, it’s a way of life and an outlook that many follow.  It was first introduced to the western world in the 1880s, as historical teachings.   Much later, it was expanded to include physical practice in the 1950s.  From that time to the present, yoga has grown in popularity, with many types of yoga to suit different lifestyles and needs.  Breaking down its methodology gives an overall view of its benefits:  karma yoga (action), to jnana yoga (wisdom).

ACTION

Many turn to yoga looking for physical accomplishment and possibly body transformation.  Soon realizing that yoga is much more than just the physical action.  The practice has many styles, some of which include Iyengar, which focuses on precision and anatomical alignment and Vinyasa, which is a fun form of yoga poses, to rhythmic pattern.  Yin yoga, is also very popular today, focusing on lengthening and conditioning the body, whist calming the mind.  This yoga is great for those who want to master both patience and inner physical strength. Bikram yoga, commonly referred to as hot yoga, was born out of traditional hatha yoga.  This form of action yoga is currently very prevalent with the practice room heated to a balmy 95-108˚F.  The heat is believed to cleanse, focus and warm the body, so strengthening and lengthening the muscles is easier.  Action yoga in general claims many health benefits, some of which include:

 

  • Strengthening of body core and muscles
  • Weight reduction
  • Enriched organ health
  • Increasing spine flexibility
  • Easing arthritis
  • Improving balance
  • Regulating metabolism, while improving digestion

WISDOM

Although yoga combines physical and spiritual strength in all its teachings, wisdom yoga is the mental segment of yoga.  An example is Himalayan yoga, which is based in sacred texts and Vedic knowledge.  To crudely put it, this is a collection of sacred mantras and hymns.  Recited aloud, these mantras/hymns are an ancient comprehension of the scientific makeup of our planet.  Today we could categorize this as philosophy.

 

Osho is a form of wisdom yoga that uses meditation techniques to rid the ego and escape modern day pitfalls of self centeredness and materialism.  Restorative yoga focuses on healing and relaxation.  Many of these practices have been used to develop modern day yoga classes, one of which even includes a laughter class, which focuses on its benefits as a therapeutic release.  Wisdom yoga and its practices, have been used in schools, to calm and focus children’s attention.  In the workplace, wisdom yoga can help center creativity and enlighten thought.  Many of the claimed health benefits for this type of yoga include:

 

  • Stress relief
  • Greater personal energy
  • Focus
  • Happiness
  • Self Confidence
  • Creativity
  • Freedom of inhibition

 

Making time for your own body and mind is crucial, so why not become a “yogi” (a playful term endearing someone who practices yoga).  Whatever the stated health benefits are, yoga is a way to explore strength, peace, and harmony in today’s high pressure society.

“Namaste”.

To read more about yoga, check out GetThrive.com

 

 

Is Your Body Resisting Weight Loss? Use Resistance Training!

Women don’t generally associate weight loss with weight lifting, but resistance training will help shed the pounds. Along with slimming down, using weights can provide other health benefits too.

Resistance Training is not training yourself to resist eating that piece of cake. (Although you can lose weight that way, too.) Lifting weights, using machines, or even using your own body weight are all part of the resistance movement. Losing weight will happen, but there are several other health advantages as well. Here are 9 solid reasons to start strength training today.

1) Burn Calories. Bunches will burn as you create lean muscle mass. Your body will use calories more efficiently. For hours after you train, your body will continue to burn calories, even if you’re sitting.

2) Increase Metabolism. During and after weight training, you consume extra oxygen. When your body uses more oxygen, it burns more calories. This requirement for more fuel (calories) forces your metabolism to increase to feed your muscles. The advantage to an increased metabolic rate is that it burns fat faster.

3) Strengthen Your Heart. Resistance training can lower blood pressure for up to 12 hours after each workout. Those who lift weights lower their risk of developing heart disease because: it reduces waist size and lowers triglycerides and glucose levels.

4) Sculpt Your Bod. Cardio can help you lose the puff, but it won’t necessarily add shape to your muscles. Using weights will help you create definition in different muscles. Say goodbye to upper-arm flap. Say hello to a tight booty.

5) Save Your Bones. Muscles and bone mass begin deteriorating as we age. Resistance training prolongs the inevitable and aids in keeping your bones and muscles strong. Your risk of osteoporosis also becomes decreased.

6) Improve Your Sleep. Weight training helps you fall asleep more easily because your stress is reduced. The quality of sleep is also improved and deeper. You may even sleep through the entire night without waking once.

7) Improve Your Balance. Resistance training strengthens your muscles and your core. Good balance is predicated on strength. Better balance, less falls and possible injuries.

8) Your Clothes Will Fit Better. Muscle weighs more than fat. But fat takes up more room. You might weigh more, but you will appear thinner because of your lean muscles.

9) Improve Your Memory. Older adults who practice resistance training appear to have improved memory and cognitive function. Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks?

The thought of resistance training may frighten or intimidate you. You will not get bulky. You won’t hurt yourself (unless you overdo it.) It may be the key that unlocks the weight-loss door for you.

Ask a trainer for assistance or watch a video when it comes to weights. Using your own body as a weight you can do pushups, squats, and planks. Try it for a while and watch your body and mind transform. For other ways to improve your health with workouts, check out www.GetThrive.com

 

Running from Cancer, Did You Know that you can Significantly Reduce Your Risk of Getting 13 Types of Cancer?

Are you getting at least an hour each day of physical activity? How about 30 minutes of moderate-level activity five days a week? Or at least 20 minutes of intense workout three days a week? If yes, congratulations! If no, then you are not meeting the recommended minimum weekly exercise requirements—just like more than half of the American population.

Exercise boasts results such as: mood improvement, weight loss, hormone balancing, increased metabolism, clear skin, lower blood pressure, and the positive list goes on. But now, researchers have discovered that the more often you exercise, the less likely you are to develop 13 different types of cancer.

The National Cancer Institute conducted a study over the course of approximately 11 years. Researchers focused on 1.4 million participants, how much they exercised, and whether they had been stricken with some form of cancer over the duration of the study.

JAMA Internal Medicine recently published the findings: over 186,000 cases of 26 different types of cancer had evolved. Here’s the good news—the people who exercised more frequently had a lower risk of getting 13 of those recorded cancers from the study.

The greatest reduction of risk (in those who worked out a good amount of time and with moderate intensity) was in esophageal cancer. A person who exercises regularly has a 42% less chance of getting it than someone who doesn’t exercise enough.

Other types of cancer where the risk was lessened was: liver, lung, kidney, colon, bladder, and seven others—including breast cancer, which had a 10% reduction risk.

The study also concluded that even taking yoga classes or walking quickly counted as forms of exercise. As mentioned, the researchers remained focused on physical activity as a possible deterrent to certain forms of cancer. Whether the participants smoked, drank, or engaged in unhealthy eating habits were not factors regarded in this particular trial.

The Centers for Disease Control want to remind the public that although 150 minutes of exercise per week may sound like a lot, it’s closely equivalent to the amount of time spent watching a movie or an evening of television. And, the upside is that workout time can be spread throughout the week (as long as some vigorous movement occurs at least three times or more.) Move with energy, stay healthy.

 

Try This Exercise and Slow Down Aging

Just about any type of physical movement has the potential to slow down the aging process. A new study, however, has pinpointed one exercise, in particular, that can reverse signs of aging in the brain. Get ready to get your groove on because DANCING has now been recognized as the most effective activity for delaying dementia and other symptoms associated with an aging brain.

Exercise as Brain Nourishment

Telomeres are tiny, protective, end-caps on our DNA strands. As we age (and our cells age), telomeres shrink, shorten, and eventually fray; this is when our physical and mental health declines. Additionally, poor lifestyle circumstances like smoking, obesity, insomnia, chronic stress, and lack of exercise can speed up the disintegration of telomeres.

Conversely, physical activity positively affects our cells and their structure. In fact, research has shown that elite athletes have longer telomeres than other people their own age who do not exercise. Also, older women who participate in moderate exercise or habitually walk daily were found to have longer telomeres.

The longer the telomere, the more protection your DNA has during the process of cell division and replication. So basically, exercise can help keep your DNA healthy and be at less risk for damage. Otherwise, over time, especially without physical activity, your brain cells will not reproduce the way they once did, and neurological health can suffer.

Time to Put on Your Dancing Shoes

A study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The research pointed to the importance of physical activity, especially among the elderly. In fact, the scientists found that if you haven’t already been regularly exercising by age 40, now would be the best time to start.

Those adults within the range of 40 and 65 were the key demographic to beginning and maintaining daily exercise. Doing so, showed a reversal of shrinking telomeres in later stages of life. Just think: Physical movement (especially dancing) can help reverse the aging process!

 

Dancing to Remember

The recent research was conducted by several renowned professors, two of whom shared a Nobel Prize “for the discovery of the molecular nature of telomeres.” These folks understand the nature of aging, especially when it comes to brain activity and health. For the study, the subjects participated either in dance or a controlled sports group, (which consisted of weight, endurance, and flexibility training.)

Both groups benefited from their selected activity. The group that danced, however, showed greater improvement in memory, balance, and the ability to learn. The hippocampus area of the brain actually increased. In general, that part of the brain is significantly susceptible to decline with age. Again, both dancers and the sports group benefitted, but the dancing routine proved to be more beneficial than cycling, running, or other repetitive activities.

One of the aspects that helped with boosting memory was learning choreography. The dancers needed to memorize certain movements. Even if it was simple, it made a difference. With each new step, arm movement, and rhythm, the brain functioned at a higher level. Balance also showed to be significantly improved.

The research stressed that it didn’t matter what genre of music, what types of steps, or even if you felt silly or inadequate—the bottom line was that dancing proved to delay the shortening of telomeres and can delay (or even reverse) the aging process. Looks like it’s time to boogie down!

Sources:

https://curiousmindmagazine.com/neuroscientists-finally-revealed-number-one-exercise-slowing-aging-process/?ref=iyqx0

https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/10/28/does-exercise-slow-the-aging-process/

 

 

Could You Be Suffering from Adrenal Fatigue?

Have you been feeling chronically tired, achy, weak, and apathetic? Perhaps your depressive feelings are a result of a particular hormonal imbalance. It may be possible that you are experiencing adrenal fatigue.

I Never Heard of Adrenal Fatigue!

There are several reasons why many of us have only recently begun to suspect adrenal fatigue as the culprit for our low stamina and lack of overall well-being. (It is also known as hypoadrenia). The primary reason is that adrenal insufficiency is not commonly recognized as a medical diagnosis. Another is that some physicians may be treating just one symptom as opposed to treating the entire body as a collection of systems that needs re-balancing.

What are the Adrenals?

The adrenals (also known as the suprarenals) are endocrine glands. They are found above the kidneys. Adrenal glands produce hormones, which include: adrenaline, aldosterone, and cortisol. They work in conjunction with the hypothalmus and pituitary gland to help regulate countless body processes including: mood, digestion, the immune system, and energy levels.

Symptoms of Adrenal Insufficiency

Nothing in this article suggests that you should self-diagnose. In fact, for some of the symptoms listed below, you may want your healthcare provider to run blood tests to rule out more serious ailments. For those who believe adrenal fatigue exists (and can be treated), here are some of the symptoms a person may experience:

  • fatigue
  • unexplained weight loss, or, conversely, storing extra fat
  • low blood pressure
  • joint aches
  • muscle weakness
  • low stamina
  • decreased tolerance to cold
  • depression or apathy
  • lowered resistance to infection
  • a thyroid condition (ie. hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s)

What’s Happened to My Adrenals?

This may not be your situation, but for some, their adrenal glands cannot keep pace with the chronic production and influx of coritsol and adrenaline. These particular hormones are stimulated by fight-or-flight states of being; this basically means ongoing, heightened stress. The adrenals can’t make enough hormones to keep you feeling good and strong when your body is in an almost constant “fight”, “fear”, or “anxiety” mode.

Many holistic physicians believe that all humans experience hypoadrenia at one point in their lives or another. Any conditions that continuously place strain and high stress on an individual can cause adrenal fatigue over time. Excessive stress, nutritional depletion, chemical or metal toxicity, irresolvable financial pressure, etc. are some of the major factors that lend to adrenal weakening.

Additionally, some situations that increase risk from suffering from adrenal fatigue can be:

  • caretaking of an elderly or incapacitated family member
  • new parents who also work outside the home
  • students in college or post-graduate school
  • those in constant fear of physical or emotional abuse

How Can I Found Out if I Have Adrenal Fatigue?

Straight-up, run-of-the-mill blood tests aren’t often sensitive enough to detect small declines in adrenal function. (Large declines are noticeable medically, and your doctor can address other causes and treatments for such hormonal discrepancies.)

One simple test a physician can perform is called the Ragland Sign. For this test, the healthcare provider takes your blood pressure while you are relaxed, lying down. Then, shortly after, you get up suddenly, and the doctor takes your blood pressure right away, again. The numbers should go up. If they don’t, it could be a sign of weak adrenals—especially if you instantly feel weak, dizzy, or shaky upon jumping up. This is, of course, a crude test, but it’s a start toward deducing and identifying…

Something you can try at home in preparation for your doctor visit is another rudimentary test. Take a salad fork and gently run the spikes up the inside of your forearm. Within about 10 seconds, you will see little red streaks (lines). If you do not, it is possible your adrenals are weak. Please do not dig the fork deeper into your arm if you don’t see desired results the first time.

Ways to Reverse Your Adrenal Fatigue

Whether your physician recognizes or identifies your symptoms as caused by adrenal overexertion, you can always treat yourself in safe, healthy ways. The key will be diet, lifestyle, and gentle detoxification.

Again, please never self-diagnose from Wikipedia, an alternate medical Internet source, or even this article. The aim here is to inform and increase awareness. If you’re not feeling what you know to be your best health, there’s no reason why you can’t take several safe steps to improve your overall wellbeing—regardless of any diagnosis. Here are some tips:

  • Reduce or discard caffeine consumption. Stimulants damage the adrenal glands.
  • Sugar is a stimulant and erodes adrenal function. Try to eliminate it.
  • Alcohol is your adrenals’ enemy. Reduce or eliminate intake.
  • Believe it or not, anger and raging (inside or outside your body and mind) are stimulants. Practice mind and body techniques such as yoga and meditation.
  • Add coconut and olive oils to your diet
  • Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B12
  • Load up on green, leafy veggies and other nutrient-dense foods
  • Get at least 8 hours sleep per night—at least

Whether your doctor accepts or discards adrenal fatigue as a cause for your symptoms, you can still always boost your health by boosting your adrenals.  As mentioned, your adrenals are part of your endocrine system. Check in to see if you are treating all your organs and other bodily systems properly with best health practices. For tips and up-to-date info on these and other health topics, please peruse other articles here on GetThrive!

Sources:

https://draxe.com/3-steps-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothalamic%E2%80%93pituitary%E2%80%93adrenal_axis

www.drlwilson.com/articles/adrenal_burnout.htm

https://draxe.com/adrenal-fatigue-diet/