M.G Healthy Solutions, Logo

Phone Icon (855) 297-2653

Pilates continues to get more & more popular!

Core Conditioning

It has grown to be one of the most well known fitness systems in the nation. Many people like Pilates because it works for all kinds of fitness levels. You don't have to be a hardcore athlete to participate.

It's great for someone who is rehabilitating an injury, for runners, dancers, women who have just had a baby & even those on a beginning fitness level. You can modify the movements to fit your physical ability. Professional athletes are also using some of the exercise movements when recovering from an injury.

Pilates is popular among those looking for relief from back pain. When the core is properly conditioned, the back will be relieved from pressure & the body will be better aligned & will move more effectively. Posture will improve & also the overall stability throughout the entire torso.

The principles of Pilates include flow, breath, centering, precision, concentration & body awareness. Following these principals will ensure you get the most from your workout. Proper movement is emphasized over the number of reps you can do thinking about the muscles to engage & contract in all of the movements.

Pilates focuses on strengthening the core without unnecessary stress put on other parts of the body. A healthy body is achieved when you have a strong core. Every exercise is initiated from the core & with the breath. With a strong core, you can focus on strengthening your entire body & workout movements will become easier.

With regular practice, you will become stronger, healthier & more fit, & able to do most activities with ease. You will notice a leaner, more flexible body with more energy. There are so many benefits to Pilates making it one of the more popular workouts these days.

Pilates Is My Passion!

And what is it? Pilates is a form of exercise, developed by Joseph Pilates, which emphasizes the balanced development of the body through core strength.

* Core strength is the foundation of Pilates exercises. The core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abs and back.

* As you develop your core strength, you develop stability throughout your entire torso. This is one of the ways Pilates helps people overcome back pain. As the trunk is properly stabilized, pressure on the back is relieved and the body is able to move freely and efficiently.

* Getting in shape with Pilates is a path anyone can embark on. All exercises are developed with modifications that can make a workout safe and challenging for a person at any level.

* Six Pilates principles: centering, control, flow, breath, precision and self-control. These 6 Pilates principles are essential for a good Pilates workout. Instead of doing a lot of reps for each exercise, we focus more on quality rather than quantity. Complete coordination of body, mind and spirit is what we strive for.

Will Pilates training or weight training help you to move more efficiently in your daily life?

Change Happens

Consider the movements you do throughout the day. Do you push doors open with 50 to 200 lbs of pressure? Do you press 60 lbs of dog food up into your highest kitchen cabinet? When was the last time you dead-lifted your 150 lb desk to pick up a piece of paper? It's not likely that you do any of these things on a regular basis, if at all.

People need to sit at their desk with good posture and have their spines, arms and shoulders properly supported. They may need to be able to lift, carry and press 5 to 20 lbs (whether it's a child, a dog, or a bag of groceries). They will also need to be able to bend and pick up an item from the floor and engage their core, without putting undue load on the spinal discs.

These activities do not require force in the large muscles; instead they require the deeper, postural muscles to activate and fire on cue. This point is one main reason why Pilates is functional. Another place where Pilates training stands out is in spinal mobility. Activities in daily living require you to flex, extend, twist and bend. A well-balanced Pilates program moves the spine in multiple planes using all of those movements.

Pilates is brilliant because it teaches exercise as movements. It continually challenges the body through an array of movements. Pilates adds variety rather than simply repeating multiple sets of the same exercise. All of this leads to you feeling, functioning and moving more efficiently!

Another Reason To Do Pilates

May is Posture Month

Good posture is something that we need to focus on, remind ourselves of and improve every day! Guess when Mom wanted us to stand up straight and walk with a book on our head, wasn't such a bad idea, huh?!? ;-)

Computers and cell phones are really taking a toll on our posture. I think cell phones are the biggest culprit. People can't go for a walk, take the time for a family meal, etc. without their blasted cell phone in front of their face! And driving...That's a whole 'nother story. Very scary.

Most of us know good posture when we see it, and you notice how good it looks, right?

There are many reasons to attend to your posture. Maybe that will help you to get more  motivated to really work on it!

Benefits of Good Posture

* Pain relief throughout the body including back and neck pain, hip pain and leg and foot pain

* Allows us to move more efficiently

* Improves muscle function

* Increases range of motion

* Creates a trimmer appearance

* Takes pressure off of compressed organs

* Improves circulation

* Radiates an attitude of confidence

* Allows you to breathe deeply and fully

Check Your Posture

Hopefully, you understand that having good posture was not just your Mom's wish, but it really is important!!

All Pilates exercises will help you develop your core strength, so hopefully it is a part of your workout routine!

Love Pilates

* One of the most exciting aspects of Pilates is that anyone can do it, and everyone can achieve amazing results! Because there's no bouncing, jarring or stress to your body, Pilates offers the ideal form of exercise for people who, because of joint pain or muscle weakness, shy away from exercise.

It's also convenient. You don't need any heavy, expensive equipment, and you can do Pilates anywhere, anytime. Some of the routines take less than 10 minutes, making Pilates the perfect form of exercise for anyone who finds there's not enough time in the day for exercise. You have 10 minutes to strengthen your abs and back, don't you? You'll start to see and feel results in as few as 10 sessions.

Every Pilates movement- when done correctly - starts in your core, stays in your core and ends in your core. A strong core:

>>> Allows a gymnast to hold a headstand and a yogi to hold a headstand

>>> Allows the martial artist to kick through a board and a dancer to leap into the air

>>> Creates power in your midsection and shrinks middle-aged spread, helping you to accomplish goals you never before dreamed possible.

* That's why it's so important that you learn how to move from your core before you attempt any Pilates routine.

If you lose the core emphasis, you lose many of the benefits of Pilates.

Woman Doing Pilates

Hamstring Stretches

Can Tight Hamstrings Contribute To Lower Back Pain?

Yes, absolutely!

The hamstrings run through the back of each thigh. Tightness in this muscle group limits motion in the pelvis which can increase stress across the low back and inhibit correct posture. Stretching the hamstrings can gradually lengthen them and reduce the stress felt in the lower back.

Hamstring stretching should include applying pressure to lengthen the hamstring muscle using a foam roller for 30 to 45 seconds at a time, one to two times each day. You might want to do this in the morning after you have been up and moving for awhile, and before you go to bed.

It's also a good idea to stretch with a resistance band or just a towel. Lay face up on your back with one leg extended straight up in the air. Place the resistance band or hold a towel with both hands under the foot and hold the leg extended for 20 to 30 seconds. Do that a couple times. We always take the time to stretch the hamstrings in Pilates. Just breathe and visualize those hamstrings getting longer!

The hammies will lengthen over time, decreasing stress on the lower back.

A Pilates Body

A true Pilates body starts deep inside with the body's systems of breath and circulation. You need to learn to breathe properly - so important!

Full breathing feeds and stimulates the circulatory system, which is a body cleansing process that detoxifies the blood and refreshes the cells. This is the root of the vitality we need to enjoy life and exercise.

In a Pilates body, a strong and flexible spine is of paramount importance. Pilates exercises are designed to make sure the spine is well-supported by the core muscles. They are designed to strengthen, lengthen and articulate the spine, which is part of why Pilates is famous for helping people with back pain.

Pilates Single Leg

How a body moves, not just in the studio or gym, but in daily life, is the most important aspect of Pilates training. Joseph Pilates wanted to provide a method of training that would allow the body to do what is asked of it with grace, ease and efficiency. A body that has to be strong and flexible as well as centered and balanced.

The ideal Pilates body has strength without the build, uniform muscular development and is also a natural result of training at a level of harmony and efficiency.

Then of course there is the flat ab muscles that Pilates promotes. They are the result of a system of exercise that emphasizes core strength and flexibility with grace in movement. The abs are strengthened and also trained to work together properly.

And a key component of Pilates is how we are always consciously integrating the body and mind, which in turn rejuvenates the spirit and helps a person to really enjoy life!

© 2017 Oath (UK) Limited. All Rights Reserved

Lower Back Pain

Are your core muscles weak? 

When you hear anyone refer to your core, you no doubt think of your abs - or at least someone else's enviable 6 pack, don't you?

 While the ab muscles are a vital component to your core, and the ones that get most attention, other muscles make up this area of the body as well.  The muscles of your  lower back, gluts and even hips play a role in core strength Any weakness in these muscles can bring about a number of problems and issues. 

Some indications that your core muscles are weak: 

*  Poor posture 

Poor posture is often an indication of a weak core.The muscles that make up your abdomen and lower back help to stabilize your pelvis and spine, keeping your upper back and shoulders in a neutral position. If these muscle lack strength, esp when it comes to the erector spinae, a group of muscles that run along your spine, you're far more apt to slouch. 

 *  Lower back pain 

 Lower back pain is another good indicator of weakness in your core muscles.  When your core isn't as strong or balanced as it should be, the curvature of your lumbar spine can change. Even the slightest difference can place undue pressure on the vertebrae, discs or articulate facets that make up your spine, as well as the muscles, tendons and ligaments that surround it, making you much more prone to injury.

*  Do you experience weakness

 In your arms & legs when throwing a ball or a punch?  I know...we don't throw too many punches on a daily basis, but maybe in a kickboxing class. The muscles of your core stabilize your spine and pelvis which you already know. It's this stability that helps transfer the strength needed to rapidly contract the muscles for more powerful movements.    

 Throwing a ball, hitting a golf ball or tennis ball or tossing a medicine ball require strength in your core muscles. Developing core strength will help you gain more power in your upper and lower body and will most likely also improve your golf and/or tennis game!

  *  Can you hollow your stomach?

 Another potential sign of weak core muscles is the instability to hollow your stomach. Test yourself. Take a natural breath, and, as you exhale, pull your bellybutton in toward your spine. Hold for a count of 10, then release. If you were unable to sustain the hold for the entire count, this is a good indication of a weak core.

So if you have any of these issues, you will know that you need to spend more time on getting your core muscles stronger,
which is absolutely doable!

Don't forget these muscles...

Although the gluteus maximus - the largest of the glut/butt muscles located in the center of the glutes - appears to get the most attention (think running, squats, jumping, lunges), the often overlooked, smaller glut medius is a key to toning & strengthening your lower body.

Not only will strengthening the glut medius create definition in the butt & improved strength in the less prominent muscle, but it may also help reduce back pain & improve function & stability in the hips & knees.

Targeting the glut medius will result in a more balanced & mobile lower body!

This muscle group is responsible for hip abduction & external & internal rotation of the hip.

Studies show that for many this hip muscle is underactive & weak, which can alter hip, knee & lower back function & is associated with lower back pain.

The medius is activated through exercises that abduct 1 leg at a time, which means the movement of the leg away from the body.

The following 3 moves require no equipment & can be done easily in your home to target & build strength in your booty!!

Come on...Get shakin' your booty!

To increase the challenge of each rep, you can add a resistance band, a resistance tube, a leg weight or even the cable machine strap.

Sidelying Hip Abduction
Sidelying Hip Abduction
Standing Hip Abduction
Standing Hip Abduction
Glut Bridge Hip Abduction
Glut Bridge Hip Abduction

Planks...we love 'em & we hate 'em

Elbow Plank

A core classic, planks target the entire body in 1 move!

While there are several variations, the traditional full plank & the elbow or forearm plank are the go to favorites - after all, you can do them anywhere!

But, what is the difference between the two?

The traditional full plank is the starting position for all other variations.

It is not quite as challenging as the forearm plank, but is a great option for those just starting or those looking to perfect their form.

* In addition to your core, the full plank also uses your body weight to sculpt your shoulders & arms.
* The forearm plank offers more of a challenge because it recruits more of your core muscles to do the work. To maximize this move, be sure your shoulders are stacked over your elbows & your body is in a straight line.

When choosing an ab exercise, you really can't go wrong with planks.
* They are a functional movement that train the abs in a way that supports the spine for day-to-day activities.

I encourage you to experiment & challenge yourself to several variations & you will definitely see a difference in your core strength!

Hold your planks until you break proper form, aiming for at least a 1 minute hold.

We do a lot of core strengthening ex & movements in our Pilates classes.

Attending them on a regular basis will definitely get results!!