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.)

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.

How Stress Might Affect You

Stress Affects Everyone Differently

We all live with stress in our daily lives – sometimes more, sometimes less. Do you know what that means in terms of your physical well being?

The American Institute of Stress looks at just some of the changes that occur when you’re under stress and their effects on the body. All the more reason to exercise and breathe deeply to calm the mind and body.

Here's how everyday stress can affect your body.

American Institute of Stress

Pilates Can Help Your Golf Game – Really!

Just think about it. Golfers always favor one side of the body when approaching the ball and taking their swing (I assume you’re no different), which leads to a consistently lopsided game. Do you hold your breath? Lose your concentration? What is your body alignment?

All of these things are addressed in the Pilates Method which focuses on concentration, centering, core strength, posture, alignment, breath, flexibility (including rotational flexibility) and a uniformly developed body.

Stability in the pelvic and shoulder girdles translates into better balance.

A strong core coupled with stability and increased rotational flexibility leads to a better balanced golf swing and increased power to the club head.

Add in proper breathing, increased body awareness (i.e. posture, alignment and which muscle groups are being recruited to perform the task at hand) as well as a more focused approach, and it all adds up to a more biomechanically correct stance, swing and, ultimately, improved efficiency of movement for a lifetime of enjoyment on the course.

Age and Exercise – Not The Same Old Story

I, myself, am no youngster. I never used to have to worry at all about counting calories and staying fit and slim. BUT, as the years go by the metabolism slows and the pounds are harder to keep off. This is especially true if an appreciation of good food and wine have become a form of socializing and entertainment.

No matter what your age, exercise has been proven to be the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth (plastic surgery notwithstanding). It has been shown to improve breathing, circulation, bone density, ups the metabolism and keeps the joints moving. For me, Pilates works and it’s something I can do well into old age. I found this great article at USATODAY.com that made me smile. Maybe it will do the same for you.

Did YOU Forget to Breathe?

 

Breathing – Don’t Take It For Granted

For heaven’s sake – BREATHE! Sounds simple, but most people don’t do it. We tend to take short, shallow breaths that are not optimal for purposes of effectively and efficiently performing our daily tasks much less what we ask of our body during exercise.

For the maximum benefit of air/oxygen exchange in the bloodstream we must fully expand the ribcage to inhale and then totally empty the lungs on the exhale – all of which is a vital part of any Pilates program. For more info and instructions on an exercise to help you on your way to better breathing, you’ll enjoy this article by Power Pilates instructor Deborah Slade.

Pilates: What Can It Do For Me?

Just recently came across this article by Barbara Russi Sarnataro on WebMD.  It seems to clarify some of the confusion about what Pilates is and what it can and can’t do.  As once explained to me “Pilates is a practice”.  Just like playing the piano, the more you do it and the more proficient you become in performing the exercises, the more benefits you reap.  All of which translates into a better quality of life through improved posture, core stabilization and utilization and freer range of motion in your day to day life.