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.)

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.

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.

The Physical Art of Pilates Control

Pilates Control by Bluebird Pilates in Munich

This is a great example of Pilates control at its best. Bluebird Pilates in Munich uses a variety of studio equipment to demonstrate the ultimate in controlled Pilates movements.

Obviously, not everyone (or most of us for that matter) will achieve this level of precision and expertise. However, we can all benefit from striving to achieve our own personal best, and keeping this video in mind while performing our own practice is a good place to begin.

I hope that you enjoy watching it as much as I did.

Floor Workouts Are Fitness Fundamentals

mat floor class

Beyond Basics – Advanced Floor Classes

When someone thinks of Pilates, more often than not they’re thinking apparatus – Cadillac, Reformer or Tower usually come to mind, along with the cable shopping equipment demonstrations.

In reality, quite a few of us – myself included – were first introduced to Pilates as a floor exercise done on a skinny mat at the local club.

Not to take anything away from equipment classes, but a Classical floor exercise will challenge even the most ardent Pilates student. Add props like Magic Circles, balls and bands to target additional areas and all of a sudden the basic mat class is transformed into high energy fitness routine that stands on its own.

Finally, while a self-paced home session based on a web site dvd is better than nothing, professional coaching and equipment makes sure you’re achieving the desired results with maximum efficiency.

At YPL, we define floor work as mat and arc routines. Take the challenge and experience the difference.

Fall Into Fitness! September Mat, Arc Sale

Pilates makes you stronger every day!Fall Into Fitness – Floor Exercise Special

Feel that? Fall is definitely in the air! And if you’ve been cruising through the summertime heat and humidity, now’s the time to get back on track with your Pilates fitness schedule.

To help ease the re-entry, YPL is having a 15% off all Mat and Arc classes throughout the month! Enter promo code “floor2013” at checkout and you’ll see big savings on all class and package purchases.

Get Strong! Start Today

Offer good on any single class, class packs, and combo packages. But hurry! Offer ends 9/30!

What Is Pilates?

what is Pilates?

What Is Pilates?

Between boot camps, dance beat workouts, wall climbing and ultra fit weight catching contests, Pilates remains as the only widely recognized fitness method to be named after its founder, thus fitting into that uncommon category of both noun and verb.

But what does “doing Pilates” really mean? Kevin A. Bowen is a co-founder of the Pilates Method Alliance. His definition of Pilates, below, is the best I’ve read.

Stretch, Strengthen And Balance

Developed in the early 1900s by German-born Joseph Pilates, the Pilates exercise method is a program of physical movement designed to stretch, strengthen, and balance the body. In 1926 Joseph and his wife Clara introduced their exercise system, originally called “Contrology”, to New York City.

Pilates exercise focuses on postural symmetry, breath control, abdominal strength, spine, pelvis and shoulder stabilization, muscular flexibility, joint mobility and strengthening through the complete range of motion of all joints. Instead of isolating muscle groups, the whole body is trained, integrating the upper and lower extremities with the trunk.

Practice, Practice, Practice

“Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your mental and subconscious activities.” (Joseph Pilates, 1945)

What I like about Kevin’s definition is that it specifically lists the fully integrated low impact approach to fitness and well-being that separates Pilates from the competition.

NBC News Gives Pilates Shoutout

Pilates Gets National Recognition

Last night NBC News With Brian Williams broadcast a medical report segment by Dr. Nancy Snyderman that called into question how this country defines, diagnoses and treats back pain.

The report points out how common back pain is in our population and the problems that arise because of how it’s currently treated by the medical community. Expensive testing, surgery, and prescription medications are called into question for their effectiveness as well as their expense.

Back Pain Too Often Mistreated By Medical Community

The report correctly points out that most back pain is the result of a weak core – a much more complex region of the body than the infomercials fascination with “abs” – and that readily available physical therapy is often the best treatment for the condition.

Dr. Snyderman specifically mentions Pilates and yoga as healthy, affordable alternatives to the much more common medically prescribed routes handed out by practices and hospitals.

If you or someone you know suffers from back pain in varying degrees, it’s highly likely Pilates can be a very effective part of a treatment plan to properly alleviate the condition.