Bouncing Into the New Year

By: Lisa Goddard

Last week was our first full week of teaching classes in 2014.  In planning my classes I found myself drawn to the Rebounders. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of trying a Rebounder, think mini-trampoline with a handle.  I was not feeling my best physically last week but the minute I began that up/down motion of the bounce I began to feel good.  Bouncing for as little as 2 minutes can bring a smile to the face.  

Some of you might be imagining the kind of bouncing we get on a full size trampoline. Although that is definitely a rush (and sometimes pretty random and risky), the kind of “good” I was feeling came from a bounce that was a fraction of the height with a whole lot more control. One never needs to feel out of control on the Rebounder, with or without using the handle (called a Stability Bar).  Rebounders come with varying amounts of stretch on the bouncing surface.  Our Rebounders are pretty firm. So how come I can get the same sensation of wellbeing without the big bounce?

It has to do with the up/down motion; the play of gravity with the forces of acceleration and deceleration in the body. According to Albert E. Carter in his book Rebounding Exercise, the interplay of these forces in Rebounding creates a setting where the whole body is strengthening and getting lots of cardio work, therefore improving lung capacity, while protecting lower body and spinal joints from jarring impact.  The cardio work can help with weight loss.  The deep muscle conditioning trains the pelvic floor muscles as well. The compression forces of gravity/anti-gravity on the Rebounder are excellent and safe for building bones.  Rebounders train your balance and develop core muscular stability.  All good stuff right? But all these benefits still don’t explain why I felt so good after such a short time bouncing.

Some of the other great benefits of Rebounding as exercise include the stimulation of the circulatory, neurological, digestive and lymphatic systems in the body.  You can imagine that any cardio exercise improves circulation in the body.  Rebounding creates muscular contractions in the legs that assist in pumping blood back to the heart to improve blood circulation dramatically.  In a micro-nutshell the lymphatic system acts like your body’s central vacuum system, ridding your body of inflammation and toxins. Rebounding stimulates the lymphatic system and this can help you stay healthier. At this time of year aren’t we all looking for ways to stay healthy?

Above all, the activity of bouncing up and down is downright fun!! One’s feet needn’t leave the surface of the Rebounder to stimulate all the great effects in the body so it is great for people who are dealing with illness or are in a deconditioned state. Yet, if we really get active on the Rebounder, it is a phenomenal workout for seasoned athletes too. 

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Rebounding, click here.

At Balanced Motion Pilates and Yoga, you can check out these Classes Featuring Rebounders.  I hope to see you in class soon! 


Body Tone Mondays 9:30-10:30

Sculpt and Tone Tuesdays 12:00-1:00

Cardio Sculpt Thursdays 12:00-1:00

Rebounder Circuit Thursdays 5:15-6:15

 

I invite you to share your experience with Rebounders with us here or in person.  Happy bouncing 🙂

By balancedmotionblog Posted in Pilates

How Pilates Helped Me with Biking Experience

How Pilates Helped Me with Biking Experience-Lisa Goddard

Image

Imagine this…a sunny, warm day…you are in Northern California wine country on a bicycle with friends who are also cycling, feeling the warm breeze on your face as you coast over the “California Roll” (constant rolling hills typical for that region)…smell the Eucalyptus trees, Bay Laurel, Lavender and Anise.  Sounds sweet doesn’t it?

Bicycling has always appealed to me.  It was my major mode of transport until I got my first car in my late twenties. I still love mountain biking quietly in woods or on trails but my enjoyment of this sport was limited for a few years when I was experiencing a lot of lower back pain.  During that phase I found that even a short ride would create pain and stiffness in my hips and lower back.  Then I discovered Pilates and Yoga.

 In conjunction with Physiotherapy, Pilates was a huge reason why my lower back rarely hurts today.  However, when I booked a 6-day Bicycling/Wine Tasting trip in Northern California (through a company called Backroads) with a friend who regularly cycles 60 km in a day, I was a little concerned how my back would hold out.  I trained to the best that my schedule would allow but I knew going in to it that I wasn’t physically prepared for the length of the routes planned on this trip.  Kudos to the Backroads leaders for planning a lot of options for the riders in our group…My friend could get huge mileage and I needn’t if I chose not to…but everyone saw points of interest and visited the wineries. (Thank goodness for the van that picks you up when your body is done!)

On this trip we had stellar scenery, amazing meals, impressive wineries, top notch accommodations and friendly, knowledgeable guides.  I would highly recommend the experience of traveling with Backroads…but six days on a bike (minimum 27 miles) was challenging for under-trained me! The good news was that, although I really appreciated a good massage for my sore legs and butt (that were still sore, incidentally, for two days after we finished riding!  The sitbones took about a week to recover!), my back pain didn’t rear its ugly head once in 180 miles of biking!!  I was relieved and a bit awed! I feel that I have to credit my pain-free back to good form on the bike which largely came from knowing Pilates.  Pilates taught me where I need to activate in my deep powerhouse musculature (and where I need to relax) for ease of movement in the spine, hips and shoulders. The deep internal strength, stability and joint flexibility I have developed from practicing regular Pilates served me well through my six days on the bike.

I have to admit that I loved Northern California and I will return for sure…next time though I may have fewer days cycling and add in a bit more relaxing…those convertible cars looked pretty enticing!

Please click here if you want to learn more about the Pilates we offer at Balanced Motion and click here if you want to learn more about Backroads.

My Journey THROUGH the Pain

As a teen and young adult I was often in pain. I had quite a few horse accidents and a car accident but nothing in particular was injured badly. A few fractured bones in my lower spine and some whiplash was the worst of it. These injuries did not explain all of my pain though, and most of the time no one, my regular doctor included, believed that I was in any pain at all. Even though my doctor didn’t believe me she tried to help by sending me to specialists. I saw neurologists that pretty much put me on harsh drugs and kicked me out the door, a rheumatologist who said nothing was wrong and to come back when I was an adult and I went to a sports medicine clinic where they lost my file multiple times and gave up on me because the exercises that they had me doing were making things worse. I also received multiple bone scans (pretty neat tests) that revealed minor Ankylosing Spondylitis, but they told me nothing about it or what to do for it. Still, all of these doctors couldn’t explain the actual pain I was in or take it away.

To clarify how I felt back then:

  • stiffness in my joints – especially upon waking up
  • muscle tenderness and pain
  • migraines and headaches
  • fatigue, weakness
  • trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep
  •  low back pain – sharp stabbing pains as well as a constant aches
  •  IBS
  • Poor circulation
  •  Loss of feeling in legs – pins and needles as well
  •  Constant ache in my body and random sharp pains

Wow, that’s a lot now that I see it typed out. All of this started when I was around 13 and continued until recently. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia when I was 24. I was glad to have an answer, however this diagnosis is not something I truly believe.

Now here is the best part of my journey:

I’m all better!! Well I still have some issues but not nearly as many as I had before.

Before what? you ask…. Before PILATES, YOGA, and PROPER NUTRITION!!

Let me explain

YOGA & PILATES – well this is where everything really changed!! Once I was taught how my body really works and how to use my core muscles properly by my Pilates Instructor here at Balanced Motion, I could already see a difference. For my body the Pilates classes were too much so I started slow with Yoga. I used the knowledge about my core muscles in my Yoga classes, which for me was the best thing. I have been doing Yoga as much as possible for the past two years now and WOW!!! My body is completely different. Don’t get me wrong, I still have some joint problems and I adjust for those when doing Yoga. You would be amazed at what proper breathing and posture can do for your body. I would not be the person I am today or the person I will be a year from now or 5 years from now without Pilates and Yoga…Thank you Sherry Morton-Jibb and Lisa Goddard!

NUTRITION – now for the hard part! I LOVE FOOD, I love the taste, texture, smell…everything. Food, especially sugary food is my addiction…and addictions are hard to quit. My sister is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist so of course her voice is always in my head when I’m eating crappy food (which I still do from time to time…I refuse to give some things up). But she has helped me alter my eating habits for the better. Once you learn about what certain foods do to your body, especially in excess, you’ll be amazed. Once I cut out red meat (causes inflammation), limited my dairy (also an inflammatory food) and wheat and of course reduced my sugar intake drastically I physically, emotionally, and spiritually felt different…better…new!

I must admit this is hard and I slip up from time to time and don’t take the time for myself that everyone requires to stay healthy and sane in this world but I do what I can and I am determined to do better.

Yoga and proper, real food have changed my life and got me through the pain I was in, and will continue to change how I feel physically, emotionally and spiritually.

By: Liz Cowell

PILATES: The Ideal Cross-Training Practice for Dancers and Skaters

PILATES: The Ideal Cross-Training Practice for Dancers and Skaters

By Lisa Goddard BA, BScOT, Certified Pilates Instructor, Co-owner of Balanced Motion Pilates and Yoga

So here we are into September. For many school-aged dancers and skaters, this month heralds getting back into regular lessons. Many people don’t realize that Pilates is a great cross training tool for dancing and skating. It is wonderful for increasing stability and flexibility for your best form on the ice or stage.

It is natural that a growing body will experience some tightness in fascia and muscles while bones lengthen.  Cross-training with Pilates is a great way to keep an active youngster or teenager injury free.  In addition, Pilates is excellent Post-Physiotherapy rehabilitation when returning to dance or skating following an injury.

Pilates trains your body to develop long, lean, muscles, stretched fascia, mobile yet stable joints, and a better sense of how to move using your core. All of this helps with the meticulous postural alignment, exceptional dynamic balance skills and coordination that is required of dancers and skaters.

So, all you dancers and skaters. Think about adding a Pilates lesson or class to your cross-training program.

In Pilates you will get:
1. Flat, firm abs without doing strenuous sit-ups or crunches
2. Defined, steel buns
3. Lean, sculpted legs and thighs as well as strong ankles
4.Toned and trimmed arms without heavy weights or mind-numbing repetitions
5. Dramatic improvement in posture, poise, and flexibility
6. More balance in the body to reduce the risk of injury
7. Increased stamina and endurance through proper breathing techniques

Aren’t these all things dancers and skaters want to improve, maintain or gain?

If you want to find out more about cross-training for dancing and skating at Balanced Motion Pilates and Yoga click here. We might just have the service for.

Osteoporosis and Pilates

By Lisa Goddard B.A. B.ScOT, Certified Pilates Instructor

We hear a lot about Osteoporosis (and Osteopenia) these days.  Both of these disorders involve bones and are commonly associated with aging.  Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder where bone strength is compromised leading to greater risk of bone breakage.  Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones”.  Osteopenia, the precursor condition, means “thin bones”.  Osteoporosis is a “silent” disease because often there are no symptoms until fracture occurs.

Although Osteoporosis can affect men (1 in 8 Canadian men over age 50), most Osteoporosis sufferers are post-menopausal women (1 in 4 Canadian women over age 50) for a few reasons.  Women have bones that are naturally smaller, lose calcium in their bones when breastfeeding and often don’t consume enough dietary calcium.  Osteoporosis is often called “a paediatric disease with geriatric consequences” because poor nutrition and lack of physical activity in childhood can hinder optimal development of strong bones.

So how can you reduce your risk for Osteoporosis?  Many lifestyle choices can help to prevent the onset as well as reduce the severity of Osteoporosis once diagnosed. Firstly, get proper nutrition, especially sufficient Calcium and Vitamin D, and strive for a healthy body weight.  In addition, exercise is considered to be fundamental at any age to minimize bone loss since bones respond to mechanical stresses (such as gravity, muscle contractions, impact with the ground, vibration etc.) by becoming stronger.  These “stresses” can be deliberately activated by exercise.  The skeleton experiences these stresses as challenges to its structure and forms new bone to be able to withstand the challenges exercise provides.  It is a fact that astronauts lose bone density in space due to weightlessness.  Similarly, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to bone loss due to lack of “stress” put on the bones.  Research confirms that an active lifestyle increases bone density and reduces the risk of fracture.

In Osteoporosis prevention or management, you want exercise that will improve postural stability, balance, muscle strength and range of motion for joints. Although bones and muscles take longer to become stronger as we age, they never lose their ability to do so. The best exercises to promote bone formation are weight-bearing endurance activities that involve some impact and resistance.  Pilates exercises offer all of the above while staying mindful of correct spinal alignment and safety.  Pilates standing (or weight bearing ) exercise on the mat uses hand weights, weighted balls, resistance bands and Magic Circles to increase muscle strength in lower and upper body.  The straps and springs of the Reformer achieve the same result with endless variation.

Pilates excels at a special level of benefit for Osteoporosis:  core control.  Strong core muscles are important for spinal/pelvic control, posture and balance. Very fragile Osteoporosis clients need core strength to brace against a cough or sneeze which can result in a sudden forward bend causing a spinal fracture.  Also, Pilates can help prevent falls since Pilates exercises develop body awareness, concentration and focus.  Finally, many exercises in Pilates train functional movements that are related to daily activities.  So, you can feel stronger, more independent and often more calm and confident.

Pilates could be your clear link to stronger bones and a healthier, happier you.

 

By balancedmotionblog Posted in Pilates

Posture & Pilates

The quality of your posture can make a big difference.

Good Posture can;   make you look and feel younger, stronger, and more confident; help improve your breathing, advance your sports performance, decrease your risk of in jury and improve your biomechanical efficiency.

Good Posture also improves muscle function, increases range of motion, improves circulation and takes pressure off of compressed organs. Our posture is often affected by our lifestyle: if we sit a lot and lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle we never take the opportunity to work those deep postural muscles that are the foundation or building blocks of good posture. Even if we are fairly athletic we still need to pay attention to those building blocks of good posture.

One of the new buzz words in the last few years has been the word “Core” and how working the Core can help build better posture. The “Core” muscles also referred to as the “Powerhouse” consist of the abdominal muscles, back and pelvic floor muscles. Exercising these muscles properly allows the shoulders to relax the neck and head to move freely, and relieves stress on the hips, legs, and feet.

So how does Pilates improve your posture? The foundation of Pilates is based on Core strength as well as providing stability and mobility for our joints. The Core is the center of the body and every movement should start in the Core and flow outwards towards the limbs. Pilates focuses on total body alignment by balancing the strength in all postural muscles. The exercises focus on the quality of the exercise as opposed to the quantity. When we look at the quality we can really determine where the movement is coming from in the body and work to engage the core more, thereby increasing the quality of those building blocks resulting in better posture.

Pilates can be done on the mat or on machines, such as the Reformer. Reformers use springs and a moving carriage to add resistance to the exercises therefore increasing the strength of the muscles as well as lengthening them to better support the spine. Pilates can be practiced at any age and any fitness level. To create change in our posture we have to be consistent with Pilates, even one class a week will help create a lengthened more supported you.

Sherry Morton-Jibb
PTS, RYT, FIS, NWS,
Certified Pilates Instructor/Registered Yoga Teache
r

By balancedmotionblog Posted in Pilates