Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Side Lunge Challenge

If I were a fear-based marketer, I would start this blog post in the following way

“Strength generally remains relatively high until 50 years of age when decreases of about 10% per year begin to result in a loss of function and independence;”

Source: The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 330รข€“338.

So if you are approaching 50 the decline is inevitable unless you do Pilates!!!!!

Luckily for you I have a pet peeve about statistics taken out of context and then distributed to instill  fear, so instead we shall start the blog post like this:

The Pilates Studio announces The Side Lunge Challenge

The Pilates Side Lunge on the Chair is one of the most challenging leg exercises in the Pilates Repertoire.  It builds leg strength and function! AND it is hard!  It will make you sweat and it will make you happy!

This past Sunday when we were doing the teacher’s circuit (that moment in time when the teachers at The Pilates Studio make sure they work out too) Christopher LaFleche did the side lunge with no hands.  We all got a great kick out of it because previously he had vividly described the fateful moment in his teacher’s exam where his examiner yelled across the room “No hands!”  So vivid was his description in fact, we decided we needed to send a video of Chris’ very much improved Side Lunge to his examiner.  She of course loved it! 

Little did we know that the Side Lunge Challenge would develop from this brief moment in a very ordinary teacher’s circuit!

Why let people know about the magic of movement through fear when you can have a contest instead? Do you remember our balance challenge?  Well this is going to be just as good!  If you can do a Side Lunge on the chair with no hands, show us!  You can post a video to our facebook page! You can come to the studio and we will take a video for you!  You’ll get your name on the mirror!!!!!

How many people can we get to do the side lunge with no hands?  This question actually sent me to the chair to make sure that I could do the side lunge with no hands.  We pride ourselves in the pilates world to practice what we preach.  How am I to expect everyone to do a side lunge with no hands if I can’t myself.   

Phew I can do it, but there is certainly room for improvement…Let the games begin!

Katrina Hawley, C.M.A, PMA-CPT
Director of Instruction at The Pilates Studio

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keep your Fascia Young

The other day I was working with a young man, who came to me with intense pain in his lower leg.  His gastocnemius (calf muscle) seemed to spasm after walking for a ½ hour.  After watching his gait and then looking at the structure of his feet, I surmised that while walking he wasn’t articulating through his feet, and thus the gastrocnemius was working too hard.  As I was watching him walk I was already lining up the exercises in my head that I thought might relieve his pain and change the movement pattern.  The intention was to add lift to the plantar fascia.  I knew that the exercises would relieve his pain over time, but something unexpected happened. 

This young man (seventeen years old) did the exercises with me once, and then when I looked at his posture again, his arch had lifted before my very eyes.  A half an hour of foot exercise changed the appearance of his foot.  I was flabbergasted.  I had never seen so much change so quickly. If I had a better poker face I would have acted like I knew exactly what was going to happen.  “Of course I knew that, because I am that good.”  But alas I am often too amazed at the magic in the world to not express curiosity.  And I was definitely curious.  Why did the fascial structure of his feet change so fast?

Just a few moments later it hit me.  This kid was seventeen years old.  His fascia was vibrant and young.  His body had not suffered the years and years of dehydration, and immobility.  He was not dependent on coffee yet.   He hadn’t partied hard through his twenties.  His fascia was hydrated and healthy so all he needed was a little bit of movement. 

This session led me selfishly to the Internet.  How do I keep my fascia young?  I was looking for the magic bullet, the fountain of youth.  I was searching for seventeen-year-old fascia…

I found many ideas…The internet is abuzz with ways to keep your fascia healthy…But of all the blogposts that I read only two things seemed like the thread to healthy fascia.  Move and hydrate.  Neither of these things by themselves will work as magically as the combination of the two.  Luckily, my job is movement.  I move all of the time.  I move in varied planes of motion I squat, I twist, I flex, I extend.  My body is moving…But that isn’t enough…

I need to drink water as much as I move.  This leads me to The Pilates Studio’s water challenge; at The Pilates Studio we are trying to consume 3 Liters of water a day.   Of course as has happened many times before, I texted my business partner that I was going to try and drink 3 liters of water a day and of course she was thinking the same thing and she sent me this picture.  And now at the studio we’ve tried the basil strawberry infused water as well as the lemon mint infused water. 

This sent me to the internet again in search of benefits of infused water…Once again the internet is abuzz with ideas (which makes me feel like I’m a little late to the game, but better late than never)  Infusing water is about hydration!  But there are other benefits to this stuff. 

First of all dehydration can lead to things like

·      Fatigue (seriously I’ve skipped coffee three mornings this week, and if you know me you know that that is definitely something)
·      Headaches
·      Muscle cramps  (When people talk to me about muscle cramps as if I am working them too hard.  The first thing I ask, “How much water have you had today?”)
·      Joint pain
·      Digestive problems

So why not try strawberry basil water

Proper hydration aids in
·      Nutrient transfer
·      Organ function
·      Temperature regulation (according to one website especially in the winter)  What!!!  I might be warm this coming winter!
·      Fascial health and thus pain reduction

Now lots of benefits of infused water are out there, but I did not find many studies referenced but one was quite interesting.

Lemon infused water has been shown to improve

Ph control
Kidney health
Immune system boost
Cancer fighting antioxidants

Why not stop by the studio to try our lemon mint water?  If we keep moving and keep hydrated maybe it won’t be such a mystery when the arch of a foot gently lifts before my very eyes!