Exercise For Safe Pain Relief

NIH Studies Pain Relief Alternatives

NIH alt pain relief

Fresh Look At Non-Addictive Methods of Pain Relief

NBC News reports that the National Institute of Health, after an extensive review of alternative methods of pain relief including acupuncture, tai chi, massage, meditation, and yoga, has found that those and other procedures can be just as effective as opioids in relieving symptoms.

The study, which looked at 16,000 patients, focused on the role pain relievers play in our daily lives, and whether or not other approaches could deliver relief without the threat addiction poses when using pharmacological remedies.

Researchers examined the three most common pain complaints: arthritic knees, neck, and lower back, and concluded that, in the case of lower back pain, yoga and acupuncture provided substantial relief. Even though Pilates wasn’t mentioned, I’m assuming that had it been included as a part of the study we’d have been well represented as being both safe and effective.

The research also looked at supplements like glucosamine, and found them to be ineffective in achieving any significant change in joint health, let alone pain relief.

This study began as an effort to find a solution to increasingly common opioid addiction as a result of commonly prescribed pain relief medications, and ended up discovering that safe and effective alternatives, including centuries old exercise based on ancient beliefs, can perform as well or better than modern pharmaceuticals.

How Our Muscles Work

An animated guide to muscles

illustration by TabletopWhale.

Understanding Our Bodies – Muscles At Work

When we talk about Pilates Contrology, it’s about the mind-body connection. We want our bodies to react in a certain way at our command. Here’s a fascinating animated look at how that process happens under our skin – good to know when we’re doing The 100! (Clicking on the image above will take you to the illustrator’s portfolio. Clik on the image there to watch the animation.)

Contrology – The Heart of Pilates

Pilates balance chart

Getting the Most Out of Your Pilates Practice

Joseph Pilates developed his breakthrough Contrology fitness concepts nearly a century ago. To explain his revolutionary exercise workouts he diagramed the importance of a physical and mental practice that, when followed, results in superior conditioning.

At YPL, the Classic Practice focuses on achieving the rhythmic harmony that naturally occurs when mental clarity and physical conditioning are in synch. The feeling you experience after powering through a challenging workout is one of accomplishment, control, and exhilaration.

Join me for a class or session and discover how Contrology can dramatically improve your workout experience and level of fitness.

Keep Those Wrists Flexible And Limber

Do These Wrist Exercises For Greater Mobility

You don’t have to be a student of body weight training to get plenty of benefit from these easy to perform wrist exercises. They can be done just about anywhere, anytime, and the results could offer significant gains in your Pilates practice and everyday living.

Our wrists are complex structures comprised of bone, tendon, muscle, and nerves. Keeping them loose and limber while we go about our often repetitive daily activities, often using some form of computer or tablet, is a challenge.

This brief video is a great guide to keeping our wrists healthy and in top notch condition.

This Client Really Gets A Workout!

Ana rides her bike - weather permitting - to every workout

Ana’s Portuguese heritage is right at home as she cycles around the Beaches and mid-Pinellas, doubling up on her Pilates workout benefit by riding to the studio from her Madeira Beach home.

Making The Most of Every Pilates Session

Ana – “Tita” to her friends – is one of my favorite clients. This Lisbon, Portugal, native and former pro basketball player loves our weather and enjoys riding her bike the short distance to the studio from her nearby Madeira Beach home whenever she can.

Ana estimates she rides 20-plus miles daily. Typical trips include the grocery, banking business, and checking her mail at the beach post office, all part of her route around town.

The 2-wheeled commute to her weekly YPL workouts means crossing the intracoastal waterway, with its panoramic post card view of Boca Ciega Bay in front, the Gulf of Mexico behind, and a steady stream of leisure boat traffic passing below the Tom Stuart Causeway bridge draw span.

Ana works out with her friend during a YPL mat class.

Exercise Bonus – A Ride With A View

Not only does Ana add more international flavor to the studio, her Pilates enthusiasm can be contagious. Just ask her workout partner and local friend Vinkica after they teamed up for Classical mat sessions (above). And yes, it is all about the abs! Note the extra challenge holding the ball between the knees.

Although riding bikes for general transportation is much more common in Europe, Ana says she enjoys it here more than when she travels home to Portugal several times a year. She likes that she’s saving gas, helping the environment, and improving her health with this pleasant exercise every time she heads out the door.

While in the U.S. her travels include trips north to Tallahassee to visit her son, currently a business and finance major at Florida State University. Meanwhile her daughter helps run the family’s businesses back home in Portugal.


Pilates For Men? Seriously!

Tony demonstrates excellent Teaser form on the tower apparatus.

Tony is an excellent student determined to wring every possible advantage from his Pilates fitness program. His dedication has certainly paid off as can be seen from his excellent Teaser form.

How Men Benefit From A Pilates Fitness Plan

Unlike running, swimming, weight lifting or many other fitness pursuits where you’re likely to find men working out, Pilates doesn’t immediately come to mind as an option for male physical training. In reality, Pilates is perfect as a solo activity or as the focal point for a broad cross training regimen.

While other exercises are easy to picture, Pilates doesn’t immediately conjure up a physical image. Ha! As we know, when done correctly Pilates thoroughly and completely challenges virtually every single part of the anatomy. And these days you’re seeing more and more Pilates being practiced at the highest levels of professional sports by athletes whose contracts depend on the flexibility and specific strength found in the program.

Balance, Strength, Endurance, Flexibility

Generally speaking, Pilates focuses on building, strengthening, and developing the core. But there’s much more than that, in a progressive training program that at the highest levels approaches the impossible.

Men’s major structural weak points are tight hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders, and chest. Pilates incorporates stretching these areas in both basic and advanced workouts, with exercises designed to loosen and lengthen the muscles and tendons that cause so much trouble for so many men spending too much time at a desk.

At YPL, I don’t train a lot of male clients, for reasons that mostly stem (I think) from unfamiliarity with the routines and an overall impression that it’s mostly just for women. On the other hand, some of the biggest compliments I’ve received have come from that small percentage of men who are exploring the benefits of a full Pilates training schedule.

If you’ve got a man in your life who could use a low-impact fitness program that delivers positive results quickly and safely, encourage him to check out Pilates.

What Is Pilates Controlology?

Advanced Moves Performed On The Reformer

When we talk about Controlology, we’re referring to the connection between the mind and the body. That connection is important whenever we’re performing our Pilates movements, and it’s essential when practicing the advanced moves on our apparatus.

Whether you’re a Pilates professional or a first time beginner, this video from Munich’s Bluebird Pilates Studio is a perfect demonstration of what that connection means and why it’s so critical in our practice. And before anyone asks, no, I don’t teach these exercises at Your Pilates Lifestyle!

I’ve included this clip just for inspiration for your own Pilates practice (but definitely not for comparison purposes!). Whatever level you work at the principles are the same -concentration and control (mind/body connection) being an integral part. Deepen the work by being fully present in each exercise you perform and make it the best that YOU can make it!

 

How To Do The Pilates Pushup

Do You Know The Difference Between Pushups?

Did you know that there’s an actual difference between a regular run-of-the-mill pushup and a Pilates pushup? Well, there is! View this video and take note of the differences. While you’re at it, you might even want to give it a try. (This is a Flash video so you won’t be able to view on an Apple mobile device.)

Eight Ways Pilates Improves Your Life

Pilates is the perfect low impact fitness workout for any bodyEight Pilates Benefits For Everyday Health

This short list of my most popular Facebook posts explains why Pilates is the perfect low impact, all around fitness workout for young and old of both sexes and just about every interest.

Whether you’re a woman dealing with osteoporosis, a professional athlete focused on improving his or her game, a casual runner trying to get the most out of a 5K, or just interested is improving your brain power, there’s something here for anyone who wants to improve their quality of life.

  1. Exercise May Help Knees More Than Glucosamine And Chondroitin This NPR article questions dependence on supplements for joint health.
  2. 6 Ways Pilates Can Improve Your Running I love it when I can show how Pilates may be the best go to all around workout for improving your running routine.
  3. How Your Spine Changes As You Age For women, here’s a look at what you might experience as your spine ages – and tips for prevention.
  4. Pilates For The Professional Athlete Flexibility and stretching are just as important as strength and speed to one NFL player.
  5. Strong Women Make Stronger Women This YouTube video from the International Osteoporosis Foundation offers five ways to decrease the risk of contracting the disease.
  6. Sweat Your Way To A Healthier Brain Is exercise good for the brain? You bet! NPR article proves you can sweat your way to a smarter you.
  7. The Art of Pilates Control This gorgeous video by Munich’s Bluebird Pilates studio is an inspirational example of Pilates control.
  8. Why Pilates Belongs At The Forefront Of American Fitness A well reasoned argument on the low impact benefits of a PIlates fitness routine.