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.

 

Pre Exercise Rituals

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What do you do to prepare for your workouts? Do you fuel up on a certain type of snack, listen to energizing music, or hydrate with water or an electrolyte drink. Along with having regularly scheduled work outs, also having pre exercise rituals helps to increase exercise adherence. For ballet dancer’s preparing point shoes can be a big part of their pre dance ritual. Check out this video of PNB’s Kaori Nakamura working on her point shoes.

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The Stomach Series

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The Stomach Series is one of my favorite Pilates exercises. It is dynamic, fun, invigorating, and easily modified to suit different strength levels. The exercise involves practicing 5 or more abdominal exercises consecutively. While this exercise does wonders for strengthening all of your abdominal muscles it is also practiced in a very safe position for the vertebral column.

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Advanced Short Spine Variation

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This video is of an advanced variation of a crowd favorite Pilates exercise, Short Spine. I think Pilates practitioners love this exercise because it allows for a deep stretch and elongation of the back muscles. Like many classic Pilates exercises, the movement in this exercise involves vertebral column loading while in flexion. It should be noted that loading in flexion IS NOT the safest position for your spine. Therefore, exercises that involve loading in flexion should not be performed by everyone, and when performed they should be practiced sparingly, cautiously, and with focus. Furthermore, exercises in vertebral column flexion should be balanced with those performed in extension. During your next workout, note how many exercises involve vertebral column loading.

P.S – Please forgive my fly-aways and early 2000s workout attire. This video was made in 2014 and was originally produced for my eyes only so that I could check out my own form from various angles.

The Keys to Health – Diet, Exercise, and Altruism?

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altruism“When Canadian tenth-graders in a recent study began volunteering at an after-school program for children, the high schoolers lost weight and had improved cholesterol profiles compared to their non-volunteering peers. (Even in Canada, teenagers have cholesterol problems.) In the journal JAMA Pediatrics, the researchers concluded, “Adolescents who volunteer to help others also benefit themselves, suggesting a novel way to improve health.”

In another randomized controlled trial at Washington University in St. Louis, older adults who began tutoring children through a program called Experience Corps demonstrated improvements in stamina, memory, and flexibility, as well as levels of depression. When I spoke with Kim last year, he attributed at least part of those gains to the effects of a sense of purpose in life.” (Hamblin, 2015)

Read more here.

Holiday Special! $50 off all Intro Packages!

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Just Breathe!

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whale-just-breathJust breathe! But, how, what does this look like, and why should I do it?

We will go over the how and what in a bit, but let’s start with the why.

Why Breathe? (Aside from the obvious)

Focused, deep breathing has been associated with a multitude of health benefits:

  • reduced stress
  • reduced depression
  • reduced anxiety
  • reduced insomnia
  • enhanced immune system
  • decreased pain

Here is a NYT article that briefly reviews some of the benefits of breathing. My favorite part of this article is at the end where it explains 5 deep breathing techniques that you can easily practice. Also, here is another article from Harvard Health Publications that again briefly reviews the benefits of breathing and provides some tips to incorporate a breathing practice into your daily life.

What does proper breathing look like.

In general, when you inhale (inspiration) your rib cage draws upward and expands three dimensionally. When you exhale (expiration) your ribcage drops and deflates 3 dimensionally. When I say 3 dimensionally, I am referring to the anterior, posterior, and lateral surfaces of your ribcage.

How do I breathe? What muscles are involved?

Did you know that there two different levels of inhaling and exhaling. These levels of breathing are known regular or passive inhaling/exhaling and forced or active inhaling/exhaling. Inhaling and exhaling, both in regular and forced forms require different structural movements and therefore different muscular actions. The following video summarizes these concepts nicely. Note how transversus abdominis facilitates forced expiration and how the neck muscles, sternocleidodmastoid and the scalenes facilitate forced inspiration.

And here is another video the reviews the mechanics of breathing in a more detailed fashion.

Enjoy and breathe on!

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