Humans were not made for sitting. Our ancestors where active and on their feet hunting, gathering and playing… The trouble with our 21st century life is we have become addicted to sitting we sit at work from 9 to 5 we get in and sit down with a nice cup of tea before standing briefly to make dinner before then sitting again to eat. I know isn’t quite like this and a lot of people make a real effort to exercise.
The trouble with sitting is it causes our abdominals to weaken, muscles in the back of your legs to shorten, your spine to slump and your shoulders to round forward. This can lead to lower back ache, and neck and shoulder pain. Doesn’t sound great does it!
Now, we all must sit for periods of the day there is no escaping that, try and think about your posture as you sit. Think about engaging your core pulling your belly button towards your spine, dropping your shoulder blades almost as if they were melting down your back and imagining you have a piece of string from the top of your head to the ceiling that is pulling you up making your spine longer.
Improving your core, back and hip strength will help you sit more comfortably and decrease the pressure you put on your spine. Pilates is the ideal exercise program to promote good posture and a well-balanced body.
Functional strength is the strength we need in our daily lives to live. To be able to pick up our kids, shopping, go cycling or running we need a balance between strength and flexibility. Pilates exercises build functional strength, by creating a balance between strength and flexibility you do not compromise your body alignment and therefore posture. Often heavy weight training can mean a shortening of your muscles which compromises your flexibility and posture.
Squats and lunges are great examples of functional strength training exercises. These integrated exercises use lots of muscles, whereas isolated exercises, such as leg extensions, do not.
Why do you need functional strength?
Here’s a scary stat: your muscle mass and strength will decrease 30 to 50% between the ages of 30 and 80. So start using those muscles if you want to do at 80 what you can do at 30!
Doing resistance exercises and movements that help you become stronger, more flexible and agile means you are better equipped to handle day-to-day tasks as well as helping you be less injury prone.
Functional fitness incorporates muscle groups across the whole body it is beneficial to nearly everyone no matter what your fitness goal is. It builds lean muscle and can help you lose weight if that’s your intention. Right up to high performance athletes functional strength training brings a well rounded training session to your otherwise highly targeted weekly routine.
I am going to post some good functional strength training exercises on my youtube channel that you can do in your house and garden.
Following the Government’s latest response to Covid-19, it is with great sadness, I must advise that all Pilates classes are suspended from next Monday 23rd March. I hope to run the next three days worth of classes but please get in touch if you are not attending so I can check numbers.
Don’t panic though! I have a new timetable of online classes that you can join from the comfort of your own home. Yes, it will be different, but the alternative is losing the hard work and dedication you have put into making your body stronger, more flexible and fitter.
I know what I would choose.
We also all know that sitting at home on our bums is not good for us, so I invite you to join me online, live from Monday 23rd March. I will be running two live online classes a day from my private Beyond the Studio Live group.
Don’t have a Facebook account? I have created an online tutorial on how to set up a super secure Facebook page so you can join in! Please let me know if you have any questions or queries on this. I can also email workouts as an alternative should you wish! Click here to watch the video
To avoid confusion, I am going to freeze everyone’s ‘real’ class payments from Monday 23rd March, so your ‘virtual classes and real classes are not linked.
I have come up with two packages, please let me know by email if you would like to sign up to either of these.
2 live classes a day – one morning one evening – timetable coming tomorrow.
Exercises you can do whilst out walking
Weekly Pilates challenges
Positive lifestyle tips
One filmed class a week
Outdoor classes (providing this is allowed from April, should we still be in this situation)
Weekly roll call and accountability to keep us all motivated and exercising
Outdoor celebration, Pilates picnic in the park once we can celebrate the beginning of our new ‘real’ classes restarting
Package one is £28 a month (That’s £1 a day, 50p a class, should you embrace all of them! :))
Package two you will get all the above plus:
One to one postural assessment and plan for helping you improve your posture
Send me videos of you doing a class and I will give feedback and correction
One to one virtual class once a week via skype
24/7 what’s app support
First ‘real’ class back is free
Package two is £40 a month
I know how important these classes are for us all and can only hope – optimistically! (along with the rest of the country) that we return to normality soon. Until then I am doing my best to keep us all active and healthy.
I hope you will join me, and we can embrace this new adventure together!
I am here if you need to talk through anything and keen to help you get online and join my classes and stay connected during the next few months. In times like these we really need our community, my wish is that we take our ‘real’ class spirit online!
Try my new Pilates at home wake up and mobilise routine. Only 10 minutes long try waking up, getting out of bed and following this simple Pilates workout to help energise your body, mobilise your joints and strengthen your muscles.
I have come up with a simple Pilates energising routine to try once you get out of bed, it’s only 10 minutes long so shouldn’t be hard to fit into your morning routine.
Sleep. We all need it! Sometimes it’s hard to switch off and shut down our busy minds and get enough restful sleep.
Your body has a natural time-keeping clock known as your circadian rhythm. It affects your brain, body and hormones, helping you stay awake and telling your body when it’s time to sleep. So adding in bright light from your phone or TV just before bed tells your body it’s still time to be awake and therefore affecting your ability to sleep.
Natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as nighttime sleep quality and duration, try getting a sun clock like the Lumi for a better way to wake up in the morning.
Learning to have some down time just before you go to sleep can help you to relax and get ready for sleep. I have come up with a simple Pilates stretch routine you can try just before bed. Let me know how you get on over on my facebook page.
If you want to be a ‘better’ cyclist you just put in ‘more miles’ right? Although to a certain extent yes, there are significant benefits to come out of ‘off bike’ training such as Pilates. Having a strong core can make it easier for you to climb and move around the bike. But many of us neglect our core muscles in favour of a few extra hours on the bike. A strong core can help revolutionise your cycling technique whether you prefer skinny or fat tyre antics.
So, what is Pilates? Pilates focuses on the ‘inner core’ of our bodies, developing strength from the innermost structures and works outwards. Rather than working our bodies through muscle isolation, Pilates focuses on posture, strength, mobility and flexibility from head to toe, moving the body in complete flowing movements, not isolated parts.
Why is Pilates good for cyclists? Besides the recognised benefits of taking time out to focus on you in a calming and relaxing environment, it can actually improve your cycling form, efficiency and power.
Develops a strong core and back for stable upper body
Builds cycling specific strength and muscle control
Increases flexibility and helps relieve tightness in cycling specific muscles
Reduces pain and discomfort from long stints in the saddle by building strength and stability in your muscles
Breath work helps to speed up recovery time as well as building focus and mental stillness needed for tackling trail features
Helps prevent and avoid injuries by creating an all-round more functional moving pattern
Increases balance by working on muscle control, this transfers to the bike, when you’re moving around the bike
Here is a little video on how to work your legs and core using Pilates principles.
To join a Pilates class near you and start feeling the benefits click here.