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!

 

Stand Tall: How To Fix A Hunched Neck?

What has caused a fatty hump that has built up at the back of the neck, and can the hunched neck be fixed?  Also known as ‘Dowager’s Hump’, it is often associated with Osteoporosis in the elderly, but the hunch is not exclusively a symptom of this disease.  The buildup is also commonly referred to as ‘Buffalo Hump’, which is a result of the prominent curving of the middle vertebrae (thoracic vertebrae).

Everyone has a natural curve in this area, called a kyphosis, but when this curve has an extended bend (anything over 40 degrees is severe) it is called hyper kyphosis.  The hyper kyphosis curve maybe exaggerated by fibrous tissue, which is a mound of fat that piles up on top of the curve, leaving the sufferer with a sense of embarrassment and sometimes awful pain.

 

Who Can Get A Hunched Neck?

The image of an old lady with a head scarf and no teeth, springs to mind when thinking about a hunched neck or back.  However, it is not a condition just for the elderly or the cliché fairy tale character.  It is also becoming common amongst young people, hunched over their technical devices.  The natural curve can be exaggerated by some of the following habits:

 

  • Slouching
  • Lifting or carrying heavy weights
  • Text neck (looking down whilst texting)
  • Tech neck (poor posture whilst sitting behind a desk)
  • Leaning the head forward for too long

 

There are a number of health, developmental or genetic reasons that someone may get a hunched neck:

 

  • Osteoporosis, which may cause a crumbling of vertebrates, and a misshapen spine.
  • Hyper extension of the middle neck region
  • Abnormally shaped vertebrae (Scheuermann’s Kyphosis)
  • Abnormal Development of the spine in the womb (congenital kyphosis), where vertebrae may fuse together.
  • Cushing’s Syndrome, a condition where the body has an excessive amount of the hormone cortisol.

 

What Are The Symptoms Of A Hunched Neck?

If a person, usually a woman of postmenopausal age, has Osteoporosis, they may experience significant pain in their back and abdomen.  The back pain is caused by the breakage or weakness in the bones, and the stomach issues are caused by the contortion of the spine pushing the abdomen out of place.  If younger in age, increasing dairy and eating lots of green vegetables on a daily basis, both high in calcium, and will help strengthen the bones.  As age sets in, calcium tablets are often advised by a doctor to help maintain the level of calcium in the body.  In the late 1980’s, studies concluded that taking a daily slow release tablet of sodium fluorideand calcium citrate, helped stop bones from fracturing, which may also control the curve on the upper spine.

Poor posture can also lead to a hunched neck (Hyper Kyphosis) where symptoms may include:

 

  • Stiffness in the back and neck
  • Tiredness
  • Sensitivity of the spine

 

Hyper Kyphosis caused by poor posture, does not usually require drastic treatment.  Pain medication, like ibuprofen or acetaminophenmay be administered, if it affects everyday living.  How hunched neck should be treated, depends on the extent of the curve, age, and how flexible the person is.  The younger the patient, the quicker the issue can be rectified.  Braces have proven helpful in helping to keep the spine straight in younger people, aiding spine straightness until they stop growing (at around 15 years of age).

 

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

Exercises To Fix A ‘Hunched Neck’

There are a number of exercises to help prevent or even reverse a hunched neck. They must be completed every day, with consistency, to benefit and see results.  It is always advisable to visit a health care practitioner before starting any new exercises, when there is a specific target condition to fix.  Examples of recommended movements include:

  • Shoulder rolls. Sit up straight on a chair, making sure legs are uncrossed.  Breath in through the nose, and out through the mouth.  Raise the shoulders on the inhale for the count of 8, pull the shoulders back and down on the exhale, for the count of 8.  Repeat this exercise at least five times, morning and night.
  • Stand up straight against a wall, with the back of the head touching the wall, pull chin in, leave for eight counts then relax. This exercise will help align and straighten the spine.  This particular exercise works well when laying in bed, on the back and pulling the chin in.  Repeat this exercise ten times in the morning and at night.
  • Exercise class. There are a number of exercise classes which concentrate on the core/spine and posture and particularly useful to those with a hunched neck.  Pilates, The Alexander Technique, Yoga and Tai Chi are all beneficial.

To find out more about fixing posture and a hunched neck, please visit www.getthrive.com

 

RESOURCES

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5659804/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4964957/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jbmr.3032

 

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

 

 

Don’t Be A Slouch – How To Fix Poor Posture

Many people have poor posture or it could use some improvement.  It’s something to be aware of, yet many don’t act to change it.  Why should posture be taken seriously and what affect can it have on health?  The American Posture Institute claims recent research shows cognitive development in children, repertory restriction, and negative emotional issues have all been effected by poor posture.

 

Posture Errors

In order to correct poor posture, recognizing the symptoms, is fundamental to the solution.  The following list identifies common mistakes people make, which may lead to incorrect posture:

  • Sticking buttocks out
  • Slouching whilst standing or sitting
  • Text neck – frequently looking down at your phone
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Sticking chin out
  • Standing leaning weight on one side

 

100% Pure Memory Foam Back Cushion
100% Pure Memory Foam Back Cushion

 

 

 

 

 

Give This A Try

Not realizing bad posture is present can result in bad habits which may lead to health problems.  Try the following methods to correct posture habits and if this doesn’t work, then contacting a doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor may be necessary:

  • Sticking buttocks out may cause hyperlordosis which is an over curved lower spine. Sometimes caused by pregnancy or heavy weight around the stomach.  Strengthening the core muscles with Pilates exercises are recommended. (Visit a class to ensure exercises are done correctly).
  • If slouching whilst standing, imagine something connecting the top of the head to the ceiling and pulling upwards. Keep the shoulders parallel to the hips, and down.  Pull in the stomach and keep feet equal amounts apart ensuring the body weight is evenly distributed.  Keeping the head straight and legs straight, will also help body alignment.
  • Hunching over to text or type can lead to a week upper back and stiffness. Exercises to strengthen these weakened muscles, include tucking in your chin to increase neck muscles, Pull-ups and the plank as well as pulling in stomach to regain a natural curve.
  • Rounded shoulders are caused by prolonged bad posture which has led to weakened muscles in the back. Strengthening the core with Pilate exercises is ideal.  Using the rower at the gym or doing the bridge pose will help (Yoga is great for bridge pose exercises).
  • Sticking the chin out maybe a simple as correcting an office chair. Seats in front of computers are frequently too low, leading to a hunch back.  Higher the office chair, elongate the neck, pull shoulder blades back and pull in stomach muscles to regain the natural curve.
  • Leaning weight onto the one side can make a person feel comfortable so a habit is easily made. Unfortunately, this can lead to an imbalance in muscle groups with one side being stronger than the other.  Very common in women who have been carrying toddlers on their hip, or someone carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder.
  • Bridge exercises are great for distributing muscle strength as well as lateral pelvic leg raises.  Lateral pelvic leg raises may be done at home.  An example of this is, lying on the front with forehead resting on hands and legs on the floor.  Lifting one leg up and down, whilst keeping stomach and buttocks tight and not lifting the hip off the floor.  Repeat 12 times then switch legs.

 

It’s Not Too Late

A clinical review in the British Medical Journal, gives examples of how history, body build, accidents, disease, and confidence may all result in posture being changed.  An historical example of this is the tight corsets women wore in the 17th century, which narrowed their natural waste drastically and changed their posture.  A disease which may give poor posture would be Osteoporosis.  Poor nutrition and vitamin deficiency may also have a bad influence on the spine.

What ever the reason for poor posture, it may not be too late to change it.  If, after time, the exercises suggested have little to no improvement on posture, please visit a doctor for further instruction.  Posture is important from a health prospective as well as improving self confidence, so next time when sloughing, sit up straight and correct the posture.

For more articles about posture, exercise, diet, health and wellness, check out GetThrive.com, today!

 

Don't Be A Slouch - How To Fix Poor Posture
Don’t Be A Slouch – How To Fix Poor Posture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESOURCES

Pilate Posture Exercises

Lateral Pelvic tilt exercises

British Medical Journal Clinical Review on Posture

 

Ergonomic Furniture to Improve Posture and Boost Health

Have you ever seen a toddler walking around with bad posture? As we get older or stuck behind a desk, we often develop lousy sitting habits. This affects our body, how we stand, and our ability to move comfortably. Alas, ergonomic furniture may be the key to helping improve your posture and, in turn, boosting your health.

The Power of Gravity

If you think about it, it takes energy for us to hold our bodies upright. We’ve got the weight of gravity constantly pushing down on us. It’s almost as if we need to be mindful of how we carry ourselves during all of our waking hours. 

When our posture is good, we don’t have to use as much energy because our bodies function efficiently. Our joints are originally, naturally aligned, allowing our bones to fit together the way our bodies were created. But, when we slump into poor posture, muscles are strained and joints and bones become misaligned. And then, we have to exert more energy to compensate for the inefficiency.

The bottom line is that good posture is essential to our overall health and wellbeing. If ergonomic furniture and bodily awareness can help, perhaps they’re worth a try.

Proper Posture is Queen Sized

When we’re adolescents, adults often remark on our posture. Are they offering suggestions to stand up straight because we would look better? Probably. In addition, however, there are other reasons to practice good posture.

  • keeps our bones and joints in alignment
  • slows down the wear and tear of joint surfaces
  • may deter the onset on arthritis
  • avoids strain on muscles
  • may prevent back, shoulder, and neck aches
  • may prevent unwanted spinal issues
  • allows more oxygen into our lungs
  • aids with proper digestion

Is Furniture in Your Future?

If using ergonomic furniture can help you improve your posture, then place it on your wish list. Sometimes these fancy chairs will cost more than a typical rolling office seat. However, it’s well worth the extra expense—especially if it’s saving money spent on chiropractors, physical therapy, medicines and other pain remedies.

For one, it’s been proven that an ergonomic chair allows you to sit for longer periods with more comfort. It also lets you customize the seat to fit your specific body and its needs. Generally, the armrest support is adjustable, allowing your arms to hang naturally and your shoulders to relax.

You can also adjust the height of the seat. This will let your feet rest flat on the floor. In turn, your hips can remain aligned. When the back of the chair protects your lumbar spine (lower back) and the seat is at optimum height level, you can also help keep your pelvis aligned. (You can test if you’re sitting properly if you can feel your sitz bones when you rock from side to side.)

The Best Seats in The House

For ergonomic furniture, such as a chair, you’ll want one with a high back. It should support your neck, upper-, middle-, and lower-spine. One chair we like is the Ficmax Ergonomic High-Back Chair, especially because it offers a 360-degree swivel, an electric massager, thick armrests, and an adjustable footrest. 

 

 

If you’ve got a decent high-back chair and can’t get another with all the bells and whistles, consider purchasing a comfy lumbar cushion. This will support your lower back and that natural curve, while also promoting proper posture. A good cushion can be used in the seat of your car, your office chair, a wheelchair, and even on an airplane. We recommend checking out the Everlasting Comfort 100% Pure Memory Foam Cushion, especially because it has not one, but two adjustable straps to hold the lumbar pillow in place. 

 

 

 

There are many pieces of ergonomic furniture that you can research these days. A chair and a lumbar pillow are probably your most helpful allies if you just want to get one or two items to start. Your posture plays a large role in your overall health. Utilizing any tools to help keep you sitting and standing up straight will be an investment worthwhile.

For more tips on maintaining and improving your spinal health, as well as the overall health of you and your family, please enjoy Get Thrive!

Sources:

https://www.btod.com/blog/2017/03/23/5-reasons-ergonomic-chairs-will-improve-your-back-pain/

 

 

 

 

Proper Posture Significantly Matters to Your Health ( And How Sitting Matters)

So, you slouch a bit in your chair. Maybe you lean on your elbow while talking on the phone. There are numbers of positions your body can settle in all day. And, all night. Unruly posture may be detrimental to the health of your spine (and entire body!) If you’re not practicing proper posture, you may be in for some real pain.

Back Off! Echoes From The Past…

Everyone had a mom, dad, or grandmother who said, “Stand up straight!”, “Sit up in your seat!”, or “Pull those shoulders back!” As much as we didn’t want to listen, we should have. Many neck, shoulder, and backaches, along with spinal health deterioration, have derived from lousy posture.

Here’s the low-down. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to make corrections. Proper posture requires attention. Ideally, you want to place the least strain on supporting muscles and ligaments. In order to achieve that, you’ll need to be aware of how you walk, stand, sit, and even sleep.

Alright, Already! What Could Go Wrong?

It’s possible you aren’t feeling the effects of your poor posture, yet. But, you will. And if you have already, you can attest to the pain and discomfort. Aside from feeling awful, you could be causing damage to your body.

Here are some consequences that can be attributed to not practicing proper posture:

  • Slouching can cause digestion problems. When you’re hunched over, your internal organs struggle for space. For example, your intestines may not have enough room to digest properly. This can cause gas, cramps, and constipation. If you need relief from tummy issues for now, here is a great digestive supplement (with enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotics.)

 

  • Even worse, lack of proper posture may inhibit your system to process food efficiently. Thus, you may not be getting all the nutrition you need. Additionally, it may also have an effect on your metabolism. Check this out if you’re looking to boost your metabolism with a safe, natural supplement.

  • Crossing your legs in your chair can effect your circulation. Don’t be surprised if you start developing those pesky spider veins. And aside from that, crossing legs creates a strain on your lower back.
Without Proper Posture…
  • Ever heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Aside from repetitive motion, bad posture can contribute to this development. Keep in mind, the nerves in your neck and upper back are linked to muscles in your wrists and hands. In the meanwhile, here’s some fingerless, compression gloves (so you can keep working) that have copper and help warm to heal and relieve pain.
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    Compression copper fingerless gloves

 

  • Without practicing proper posture, don’t be surprised if you fatigue easily. Your body uses energy to keep it upright. The poorer your posture, the harder your spine and muscles work to combat gravity. After a few hours, there’s no surprise why your body feels tired and achy.

 

  • Without proper posture, you risk developing lordosis. This condition is also sometimes called “swayback.” Basically, your upper and middle back flexes in too much and your lower back protrudes out to compensate. Your spine starts curving too far inward, which can cause damage to your spine and create massive discomfort. Sometimes, it can hurt so badly that you can’t even move.
    Lumbar back support with pad

    We recommend a back support with a lumbar pad. You can use it walking, sitting at work, driving, wherever and whenever you need a reminder to retrain your posture.

 Proper Posture Particulars: 101

Naturally, our bodies have been created to optimize efficiency. If we’re practicing proper posture, realistically, we’re utilizing very few muscle contractions. Standing or sitting upright should create good-quality, spinal alignment. Our joints and bones should fit together with ease.

When we’re lazy and don’t think about how to carry ourselves, we can cause health problems without even knowing it. Here are a couple of simple tips to maintain proper posture:

  • When seated, keep your feet flat on the floor. Do not cross your legs. Your shoulders should be over your hips and your chin aligned over your chest. Taking deep breaths should feel easy.

 

  • When standing, keep your weight equally distributed. Avoid leaning on one leg more than the other.

 

  • When sleeping on your back, use a pillow to support your neck (not your head.) Also, place a pillow under your knees for lower back comfort.

 

  • When sleeping on your side, use a pillow that can support both your head and neck. Utilize another pillow, placing it in between the knees. If there’s too much space between your waist and the mattress, place another pillow there for lumbar support.

 

Unfortunately, we don’t always heed the advice of our elders—or even experts. Especially about proper posture. But, when it comes to spinal health, we shouldn’t really ignore the guidance.  If you’ve ever experienced back pain, you get this.

Just keep in mind: How you sit, stand, or sleep effects your posture. Hence, your overall health. Using your mind and body is the key. And, if you need help, you can always get assistance from gloves, a back support, a positioning pillow, and even supplements.

 

Check out GetThrive! for more insights on spinal health, nutrition, stress management, and a gamut of other trendy topics.

 

Sources:

https://www.mayfieldclinic.com/PE-POSTURE.htm

https://www.verywell.com/what-is-posture-297193

https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/s/swayback-lordosis.html

https://www.alliedtravelcareers.com/blog/8-negative-effects-of-bad-posture/