The Axial Spine and Adrenal Medulla Connection

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Scientist are discovering connections between the muscles and nerves that control the axial spine and the adrenal medulla. In other words, they are discovering that there is a neural connection between the core muscles and one’s ability to feel or handle stress. Perhaps standing up tall can actually make you feel more confident and less susceptible to stress?

“The Pitt team didn’t think the primary motor cortex would control the adrenal medulla at all. But there are a whole lot of neurons there that do. And when you look at where those neurons are located, most are in the axial muscle part of that cortex.” (Hamblin, 2016).             Read more here.

Bridging Then and Now

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Vintage Mat Class

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Here is a look at an original Pilates Mat Class taught by the one and only Joseph Pilates. This video and is both interesting and funn(y) to watch. Both beginning and advanced Pilates students will recognize some of the exercises taught in this video. The well seasoned Pilates practitioner will notice some modern kinesiology and biomechanics inspired adaptions absent from this video. For example, JP provides a cardio warm up in which he bounces on the balls of his feet while in plantar flexion. Nope. Don’t do it. 🙂

One Approach to Build a Habit and Why Exercise Should Never be Self Torture

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“If you hate the monotony of running on the treadmill, but drag yourself to the cardio room daily, believing self-torture will eventually become a habit—that’s not heroic; it’s bad design.” (MacLallen, 2017)

So many people initiate health goals by putting themselves on severe diets or exercise regimens believing that in order to see change in their bodies and health they MUST SUFFER. The truth is this approach often leads to failure and long term healthy habits are built gradually. Along with a slow and steady approach one should seek habits that bring themselves pleasure. If you don’t like running, as is my case, explore different cardiovascular activities that you enjoy until you find one that is enjoyable. For me this is anything dance related and cardio kickboxing classes. Also, build your exercise routine gradually. Maybe start with blocking out 2 days of exercise per week for 1 month, then add one extra day per month over the next few months; this will give yourself time to adjust physically and mentally.

A Stanford psychologist and researchers has developed a helpful 3-step method to establish habits:

Fogg Method

  1. What is your desired outcome?
  2. Identify some easily achievable “tiny habits”.
  3. Identify and implement trigger for “tiny habit”.

Read more about Fogg and his approach here.

Why do you exercise?

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Why do you exercise? Among some of the most common reasons are weight loss, stress reduction, and increased social connectedness. These are certainly excellent reason to exercise, however this New York Times article highlights some exciting reasons found in the most current research. A few of the exercise benefits listed are:

  • Significantly reduced risk of premature death
  • Reduced medical care expenses related to heart disease
  • Reduced cancer risk
  • Increased neurogenesis

These are just some of the benefits discussed, if you want to read more, check out the article yourself!

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3 of My Favorite Arm Exercies

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Shave the Head, Forward Reach, and Boxing with Rotation are 3 of my favorite arm exercises. They are nothing new or terribly innovative, but they are dynamic and they feel great. Shave and Forward reach are especially great because they really challenge your back extensors and Boxing will provided a surprisingly good workout for your quadriceps and gluteals. The finger flip I incorporate during Forward Reach is not a component of the classical choreography, but rather hints at my early gymnastics background, muscle memory ya’ know.

Trapeze Table Origination

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The Importance of Strength Training and Protein

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This is a great article that goes over the importance of a well balanced diet and exercise routine. So many of us get stuck into eating limited food groups, i.e. limiting our mineral and vitamin intake. The same goes with exercise, I often notice people who just do cardio or just do strength training when both forms are important to complete health. This article reviews one of the key benefits of strength training, increased resting metabolic rate. Also, it reports on a study of a high protein diet. It’s important to note that this high protein diet was not high in protein because it was low in carbohydrates. I’ve mentioned this in previous articles, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains are a necessary component to cardiovascular health. Rather than a low carbohydrate, high protein diet, the diet was low in fat and high protein.

Vintage Pilates Video

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Hitting the Wall and How to Push Through

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screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-7-49-05-am“There’s good evidence that saying motivational things to yourself can benefit your running, cycling or swimming performance,” McCormick said. “Planning what to do if you encounter various problems can also be very valuable.”

At times all of us find ourselves hitting the wall while exercising. It feels like you just can’t go on, you just can’t focus, or you can’t stop thinking about what’s for dinner.

This NYT article, while directed towards distance athletes, provides some good tips on pushing through the wall that can be applied to any form of exercise. Do note that optimal long-term performance requires self awareness which involves interfacing these visualization techniques with listening to and honoring your body’s limits. Finding this line is no easy task, but is very rewarding in the long run as it allows you to push yourself towards your goals without increasing risk of injury.

 

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