Walking Is Living
Walking is hands down one of the best forms of cardio and general exercise we can do for our bodies. It’s super accessible for every age, just about every body type, and is always free.
Pick A Park — Any Park
One of the great things about Pinellas County is our extensive park system that’s perfect for walking. The same goes for the communities that make up the Suncoast and their park and fitness facilities.
Take a minute to watch this video. Then find some comfortable shoes, grab a bottle of water, and lets start walking. If you’re not used to this most human of all exercises or its been awhile, take it easy at first. You’ll quickly find out, though, that progress comes pretty quickly.
Park Or Beach, It’s Tough to Choose
But if parks aren’t for you, the good news is there’s a beach nearby that offers a unique fitness activity of its own — walking in the sand adds extra resistance and if you’re barefoot every joint, ligament, tendon, and muscle in the lower leg, ankle, and foot gets its own mini-workout.
And having an app to help keep track is simple. Map My Run is a favorite, also Training Peaks. Both are free, and record plenty of useful workout information.
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.
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 Wunda Chair Offers Advanced Training Benefits
One piece of equipment that nearly always invites questions is the Pilates Chair. Because it requires real body awareness and core control, it’s usually not part of a new student’s workout. Here’s an online review that summarizes a Chair routine.
For advanced students, it offers significant fitness benefits, and there are an astounding number of exercises that can be performed. For instance, for those familiar with a regular gym’s stairstep apparatus, the Chair can deliver a cardio experience that’s just as intense while also including balance that can’t be duplicated on a machine.
Balance Plus Strength Plus Cardio
Jen uses her abs to lift while balancing with her forearms in a move that requires body awareness in order to build core and upper body strength. Glutes, thighs, and calves also get a workout.
If balance, cardio and toning from arms to legs is on your checklist, ask about YPL’s Chair workout when you book your next class.
Of all the strange looking (to Pilates newbies) apparatus you’ll find in a professionally equipped studio, the Pilates Chair really gets a lot of attention.
Designed and developed by Joseph Pilates for double duty as a dedicated piece of exercise equipment that can also be converted to seating in a tiny living space, the Chair is one of my most versatile training aids. As a chair, though, I’ve got to say it’s got a long ways to go before I’ll be using it to sit in.
When combined with a Reformer footboard routine, you’ll get a cardio workout unlike anything you’ve experienced before, challenging both those abs and the big muscle groups in the legs. Did I mention upper body strength? As you can tell, the Pilates Chair is as versatile as it is strange looking.
Cardio AND Pilates? Just Add Jumpboard To Your Reformer Practice!
Pilates enthusiasts seldom associate cardio with Pilates, but the truth is a complete Pilates workout will get your cardiovascular system working just as efficiently as any treadmill, stairstep, or elliptical trainer, and with more core control as a bonus.
Including a complete cardio experience as part of your Pilates practice can be accomplished in a couple of different ways:
1) The traditional approach is to move through the classical Pilates routine in a vigorous flow, moving from one exercise to the next. (Of course, this is done without sacrificing proper form!!), or…
2) The addition of a jumpboard session at the beginning of your workout as a warm up or as the grand finale is a more contemporary approach.
If you’re not familiar with a Pilates jumpboard, it’s exactly what it sounds like! A slightly padded custom designed board is inserted into the end of the reformer. You lie on your back on the reformer mat with light to moderate spring settings and yep, you guessed it, JUMP!
The jumping can include simple jumping and running or can move into more dance type choreographed routines. The addition of hand weights or Therabands takes the cardio up another notch!
Whether you choose to include either of these options in your session is a personal preference. You can always opt for separate cardio training like walking, running in the park or at the beach, or hitting the treadmill at the gym, but if you want it all in one low-impact session, a Pilates jumpboard is the ticket to a healthy, beneficial cardio experience.