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!

 

Health Benefits of Yoga Pilates, and Deep Breathing

Yoga & Pilates have been around forever and knowing the benefits will help you understand why they’re so powerful!

Yoga, Pilates and Meditation are now known across the world, mostly for the extreme health benefits that they bring to the table. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what level fitness you are in; anyone can benefit from both.

More Than 20 Million Across the Globe

Take a Pilates or Yoga class or do Yoga and Pilates exercises in some form or another. This exercise regime is said to give people many physical and mental benefits.

Yoga Mat

Both Yoga and Pilates Make Your body More Flexible and Help Stretch Muscles Giving you Valuable Energy …

Stretching or holding poses overtime and using the reformer on a regular basis not only extends your range of motion, but it makes you more flexible as well. Becoming more flexible will also help you achieve other physical improvements, such as relief from back pain.

 

Yoga Can Improve Your Breathing, and so can Pilates!

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

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

 

Both Can Help to Improve Posture

How many of us struggle with posture?

No matter what you are doing when going about your everyday life, taking Yoga or Pilates reminds to connect your body with your core pull your shoulders down and maintain the good posture.

Focus on posture is vital to your overall health and good posture in your class will change the way you carry yourself outside of class.

Yoga Pants
Yoga Pants

Want to Build Better Balance and Core Strength? Yoga Pilates…

Using a Pilates ball or holding a yoga pose on a matt or a reformer makes you use physical coordination and also helps to build better balance.

“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 improving deep breathing.

 

Overall: Yoga Pilates and even Meditation Make your Body Efficient!

These types of exercises that tone your body, improve your breathing and posture and make you more flexible.

Pilates and Yoga can also help make those at risk for injuries restore muscles, improve body and movement awareness preventing future injuries.

Yoga Pilates and other types of mindful exercises are sweeping the nation and can help you in becoming better, more balanced physically and mentally. Value your body and join Yoga or Pilates today!

Pilates History and Why it Works!

Pilates: A Strength Training Method for Almost a Century

Towards the end of World War I, Joseph Pilates created exercises to strengthen the body and the mind. Almost 100 years later, the success of his method continues to grow, with over 11 million people currently practicing.

The Background Details

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany to a mother who was a naturopath and a father who was a professional gymnast. As a child, he was ill, weak, and frail. Perhaps from using his own inner-determination along with his parents as models, Joseph was able to heal and thrive. He himself grew to become an adept gymnast, as well as a proficient skier.

The family moved to England, where he worked as a circus performer and then a self-defense instructor. But he was eventually placed in an internment camp for “enemy aliens” when the First World War broke out. Joseph worked as an orderly and created special apparatus to help mobilize wounded soldiers. He literally attached springs to hospital beds and designed exercises. His famous piece of equipment, the “Cadillac” was born there.

A Few Years Later…

Joseph immigrated to the United States, and it was on his voyage where he met his third wife, Clara. They were partners in love and business, and in 1926, they opened their first “body-conditioning gym” in New York City.

By then, Joseph had transformed one of his contraptions to help injured dancers. It was called the Universal Reformer, which is now the “Reformer,” one of the best-known apparatus used in Pilates.

Joseph’s method, called “Contrology” incorporated more than just his machines. He integrated three essential principles, which created the base for his exercise philosophy. They were (and still are):

-Breath

-Whole-body health

-Whole-body commitment

 

Mind, Body, and Spirit

Joseph Pilates developed a system of exercises that engaged the whole body through controlled movements. Self-resistance is at the core of the movement—also known as dynamic tension. He defined Contrology as “the comprehensive integration of body, mind, and spirit.”

Each exercise requires complete focus. Traditionally, each movement should involve:

 

  • The breath

  • Concentration

  • Centering

  • Control

  • Precision

  • Flow

 

Many who studied with Joseph in the early days recall him being the mastermind, but Clara was the true teacher. She was the partner who adapted the exercises to best fit the needs of each individual client. That’s a tenant of the method that still exists today.

Another effective approach that continues today with the Pilates method is the “hands on” style used by instructors. That was actually developed by fortunate accident. Since neither Joseph nor Clara spoke English well, they were fairly non-verbal during instruction and guided students’ bodies with their hands.

Media Popularity

Back in New York when the studio first opened, many celebrity dancers visited the gym. They spread word quickly amongst their peers about how Contrology helped them recover from dance injuries. Jerome Robbins and Martha Graham were part of that crew and the buzz got around about this new form of exercise.

Then again, in the 1970s, celebrities touted the benefits of the Pilates Method. (In 1967, Joseph died and his “elders”—those who continued to teach the method—changed the name from Contrology to Pilates.)

Ron Fletcher opened a Pilates studio in Beverly Hills and word spread quickly. Fletcher was identified as an elder, and can be attributed to moving the moves to a mat. He literally took the exercises to a vertical position. No more equipment necessary. Just a mat and a floor.

By 1975, Pilates became well known in the Hollywood circle with such actors as Barbara Streisand, Ali MacGraw, and Candice Bergen. Even Nancy Reagan practiced and spread the good word.

By the 1980s and After…

Pilates studios began springing up everywhere—with machines and without. After a four year lawsuit, in October of 2000, the courts decided that the term Pilates could not be trademarked.

After that, the exercise method no longer belonged to just the elite. Pilates had finally entered the mainstream fitness trend.

Pilates in 2018

Using self-resistance, the movements in Pilates are designed to elongate muscles, improve joint flexibility, decrease risk of injuries, increase core strength, improve balance, shed inches, and realign posture.

There are fundamental exercises in which one should practice before moving forward. The method is called a “practice” for a reason. As you develop strength and increased concentration, you will be able to manage more and more challenging movements, and watch your body sculpt itself naturally.

Pilates benefits the mind and spirit as diligently as it does the body. Some of today’s celebs practicing a form of the method are: Sandra Bullock, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kate Hudson, among many, many others.

You don’t need to be in the spotlight to feel like a star. Pilates is worth checking out if integrated and whole-body health is of interest to you.

 

For more articles on Pilates, check out GetThrive.com

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

 

 

Summer Is Coming – Exercises To Lose That Belly Fat!

Summer is fast approaching and winter’s belly fat is still flopping around the mid section in all its miserable glory.  Feeling the heavier side of wobble is disheartening, especially when reaching for that swimsuit.  Don’t give up, determination, healthy eating and exercise will prevail.

 

YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG

This is where it gets interesting!  Many people have been doing the exercise all wrong.  Workouts have either been sporadic or involve tummy crunches and lunges in desperation to squeeze that fat away.  The crunches are ideal after the pudge starts to slide off, as it will help tone muscle.  However, before concentrating on toning up, there is a crucial kind of exercise to do for at least 30 minutes a day:  high impact.

 

Elevating the heart rate moves oxygen and blood into our muscles, which in turn work more efficiently.  Noticing the difference in your mobility and stamina will happen over a couple of weeks.  Once muscle productivity and stamina increase due to heart rate elevation, fat will start to burn off.

 

NEW AND EXCITING WAYS TO GET RID OF BELLY FAT

The tummy stores the fat, but the key to slimming down is working out the entire body not just the middle.  There are many fun and thrilling exercises that will assist in improving the heart rate and increase muscle mass, as well as a few that will support the high impact moves like yoga or Pilates. (Any form of high impact exercise will require checking with a physician, before undertaking any of the following suggestions)

 

  • The Tracy Anderson Method. Its difficult to stay motivated with the same old run, swim or cycle ride, so try something new, dynamic and that the Hollywood stars are hooked on.  Tracey Anderson, a dancer turned weight loss/fitness trainer, has come up with an exercise routine that will get the heart pumping, whilst concentrating on smaller core muscles to lengthen and give definition. Tracey, TAM, has video streaming classes, which are amazing, motivational, exciting, and well worth the monthly fee.
  • Burn60 is a full body high impact workout lasting 60 minutes. Increasing endurance, speed, and strength, they claim that a person will see a difference in two weeks with an average of 500-900 calories burned each class.  They are currently only based in California, USA but you can stream their workout videos .  Burn60, is fun and will test you to your limit.
  • A combination of music and high impact routines produces Pound. A unique way to combine physical and emotional influence to get a person fit.  The 45-minute class uses a specially designed lightweight drumstick (called Ripstix) as a prop to combine yoga, Pilates, cardio and muscle conditioning to music.  Kirsten Potenza, co-creator of Pound says “its about how your body feels not just about the way it looks”.

 

TYPES OF EXERCISES THAT GET THE BODY MOVING

This is a fun, highly energetic workout that will get hearts dancing, the wobble melting away and the mind happy.

 

  • Pilates is a great way to strengthen core muscles as well as improving posture, strengthening abs and back muscles. Combining posture and high impact exercise is the perfect combination.
  • Trampoline workout. Find that inner child and go jump on a trampoline. This exercise for adults is fun, gets the heart pumping and the muscles jumping into shape. LEKFIT has fabulous online classes, and there is no need to even leave the living room.

 

Adding an exercise which is different, fun and engaging, will elevate the mood, the body, and how the swimsuit fits, minus the rubber ring, before the pool even opens.  To read more on this subject and more, please visit getthrive.com

 

RESOURCES

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/belly-fat/art-20045809

https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/89/4/1043/4596712

 

 

Two Essential Exercises That Workout Everything

With Zumba-robics, yo-pilates, and meditation weight-lift, the options for workouts are incredible—and confusing. How do you do it? What muscles am I working?

There’s actually an alternative to classes and high cost. If you want a full muscle workout, for free, there are two that will fill your bill. Planks and Push-ups.

UGH! These Exercises Are So Annoying!

Don’t complain. Just reap the rewards! Inarguably, the two best exercises that work all large-muscle groups and core are planks and push-ups. They look so simple, but they are not in practice. They use complex groups of muscles and require extreme determination and focus.

But that’s part of why they are so transformative!

Pushing Forward

Push-ups, done correctly, strengthen major muscle groups in your arms, back, and core. Aside from nicely toning your shoulders, push-ups invigorate and strengthen your elbows and wrists. You can do them with your legs straight back or with legs bent up while you rest on your knees.

In either position, remember to keep your back flat and your rear-end low. This will engage your core muscles, which in turn strengthens your abdominals. Probably the most beneficial aspect of push-ups is that it is a weight-bearing exercise.

As we age, it’s imperative that we embark on weight-bearing types of exercises to keep our bones strong. As our balancing abilities decrease, we’re more prone to falling or tripping. It’s the falls that can break bones when they are brittle and/or fragile. Practicing push-ups, even just a few each day, can decrease your risk of injury as your body matures.

Walking the Plank

Try not to see practicing planks as a punishment from pirates. It’s actually an exercise gift to your entire muscular system. The most beneficial aspect of doing planks is that they promote a stronger core.

We want a strong core for several reasons (besides just looking good in tight clothing or a bathing suit.) Your abdominal muscles help you support your spine. Core strength allows you to maintain proper posture comfortably, without slouching. It also lends to more fluid movement and flexibility.

People who plank tend to have less back, shoulder, and neck pain.

Whether you plank with your hands on the ground and your arms straight, or you’re on your elbows, or you’re on your side, you will be toning your arms and legs. When your back is flat, and you’re in the proper plank position, you are also working your gluteus maximus (your butt muscles.)

Pushing and Planking

Both exercises increase your heart rate. Working several muscles simultaneously will increase your metabolism and may get you to break a sweat. These are designed as strength-training exercises that should not cause any injury to your body.

Additionally, they will keep you fit, strong, and help promote weight loss (from your raised basic metabolic rate.) You’ll burn more calories than doing traditional sit-ups and still get tight abs. Get pushing and planking—but no need to overdo it. A set or two a couple of times a day, and you’ll see and feel terrific results.

Check out GetThrive.com for other fitness and health tips for you and your family.

Sources:

http://www.curejoy.com/content/benefits-of-doing-planks/

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18811/5-reasons-to-do-push-ups-everyday.html

Look Younger Longer—Exercise Your Face!

Want to look younger for as long as possible? Exercising your face may be a good alternative to plastic surgery and injections.

The Fountain of Truth

The truth is that we all grow old—some with more grace than others. We live in a society where image and youthful physical attributes are held in the highest regard. It’s a shame we’re made to feel inferior (and ashamed) if we age naturally the way nature intended. The battle is then fought with weapons such as scalpels, lasers, and needles. Returning, however, is a more peaceful trend. It’s the penchant of exercising facial muscles (along with creams, etc.) to maintain a semblance of a younger appearance.

Days of Yore

Before the introduction of plastic surgery to “lift” skin, women implemented other rituals to keep their faces intact. As we age, our skin’s elasticity declines. Collagen production starts to decrease after the age of 25. The late fitness guru, Jack LaLanne, introduced a facial “workout” on his TV show in the 1950’s.

LaLanne claimed that because muscles were out of shape, your skin became wrinkly and loose. He compared it to any other muscles in the body. Hence, he introduced his version of facial exercises. There were many starlets and other public figures in the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s who subscribed to funny-face-making to engage “unused” muscles. That was before surgery became commonplace.

The 21st Century

Nowadays, those who choose not to (or can’t afford to) go under the knife or laser, practice facial contortions. Some beauty experts have coined the movements as face yoga or face Pilates. It’s old hat with a new brim.

Here are a few samples of how the exercises work:

Remove laugh lines. Toning cheek muscles are the focus. Inhale and fill your mouth and cheeks with as much air possible. Look like a sax player. Hold it… then release. Repeat six times.

Tighten jawline and neck. Sit upright and tilt your head back. Look straight up. Now press your tongue, hard, into the roof of your mouth. Weird, huh? The muscles in your neck should contract like a lizard. Bring your chin down. Repeat process six times.

Reduce lip lines. The theory is that if you tighten those muscles, they’ll be less inclined to shrivel. Blow air kisses ten times. Then place your finger on your lips and kiss six times again, keeping the rest of the face relaxed.

Reduce crow’s feet. As LaLanne suggested in his video, so do beauty gurus of today. If you want to reduce lines around the eyes, practice this: open your eyes wide as if you’ve just been surprised. Hold that pose for 10 seconds. Relax.  Repeat a couple of times and feel free to do it anytime during the day (as long as no one’s watching.)

There are other benign exercises for cheeks, jowls, and even hanging earlobes—all available on the Internet. The success of  “face exercising” has not been proven—nor has it been discounted. The only thing we can satisfactorily say is that it’s a device striving to maintain a youthful appearance without being invasive. A Happy face to you!

For other fun articles on beauty and health practices, check in at www.GetThrive.com