Entries in News/Research (117)
With so many fitness methods out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hype and lost along the way trying to choose the right one for you. Sometimes I get frustrated (and okay a little lazy) and end up spending money on a machine for home that becomes a dust collector and gets in the way because no, it didn’t easily store under the bed or in the closet as promised… (Ever notice how in infomercials the person easily and happily slides the machinery under their uncluttered bed that is also like 2 feet above the floor? Umm- not happening.) Anyway, I knew post New Year’s I needed more of a challenge and wanted to do something that was motivating but not super intense to start. I was never big into fitness, but I do enjoy a little cardio once in a while or even yoga. I then made the decision to take a Pilates class
Pilates Anytime is a great resource for students and instructors alike. There are a variety of classes including Wunda Chair, Reformer and Cadillac apparatus classes. Not just mat classes here! You can even search for classes by teacher. For the days when you just can’t make it into the studio, Pilates Anytime is the solution. For just $18 per month, these classes are a great supplement to your Pilates practice.
Beginners really have something to be excited about! Niedra Gabriel has created a ten part beginner series for Pilates Anytime. It is for absolute beginners and it even has a Basic Pilates Mat Booklet.
Niedra Gabriel has over 25 years of International experience teaching Pilates in Israel, England, New York, Los Angeles and St Lucia to name a few. Niedra recently moved to Ojai after living and teaching Pilates in St Lucia for three years. Prior to that, Niedra ran a private studio in Hollywood and was the West Coast Teacher Trainer for Power Pilates, NYC. Today, she teaches continuing education workshops for teachers and is a popular guest teacher. Outside of Pilates, Niedra is an avid promoter of the Raw Food lifestyle, a yoga teacher and a trapeze artist.
Visit http://www.pilatesanytime.com/ to try Niedra Gabriel’s ten part beginner’s series.
Tomorrow is Pilates Day! Pilates-Pro wants to know what you are doing to celebrate this Saturday, May 7th. We will share our workouts with you and want to know how you celebrate. What kinds of cool classes will you take – A class in a park? On a beach? With your dog? We want to know. Send us your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org . Happy Hundreds!
SELF Magazine is back again with their Workout in the Park. This outdoor health and wellness event encourages women of all ages to join the fun with a transformative total-body experience that brings the pages of SELFto life and puts attendees in the center of the action with a day of invigorating exercise, beauty consultations, style savvy, nutritional know-how, and exclusive freebies and giveaways.
SELF has added a new city to its roster this year, San Francisco, which will kick off the events on April 30, 2011, followed by New York on May 7, 2011 and Chicago on May 21, 2011.
For one day, on April 18th, SELF is giving each person who purchases a Workout in the Park ticket a special WIP Starter Kit including a limited edition SELF notebook and water bottle. Record your progress, track your calories and stay hydrated!
Those who snag tickets will be treated to a day of fun and fitness with an added bonus with special celebrity guest appearances! Alison Sweeney, host of The Biggest Loser and author of “The Mommy Diet” will be the special guest at the San Francisco and Chicago Workout in the Park events. Also new for 2011, and exclusively at Workout in the Park in New York, special guest emcee Danielle Monaro from Z100’s Elvis Duran and The Morning Show will host the day’s festivities and get the crowd pumped.
Check out the schedule for the “Quit Zone” to take advantage of short Pilates mat classes. Join other women excited about fitness at this unique event.
Hope to see you there!
SELF Magazine Workout in the Park
San Francisco (Little Marina Green): April 30, 2011
New York (Rumsey Playfield, Central Park): May 7, 2011
Chicago (Butler Field, Grant Park): May 21, 2011
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., rain or shine
Tickets for SELF magazine Workout in the Park are $20 and can be purchased in advance of the event at www.SELFWorkoutinthePark.com.
Are you looking for a guide to the anatomy behind Pilates? Something straight forward and well illustrated? Look no further than Pilates Anatomy by Rael Isacowitz and Karen Clippinger.
Pilates Anatomy, published by Human Kinetics, offers a detailed and comprehensive look at the muscle work behind Pilates exercises. The introduction contains a comprehensive discussion of the six principles of Pilates and focuses on breath. A deep understanding of breathing technique is important for new teachers to understand in order to better educate clients. Pilates Anatomy presents 45 exercises detailed with illustrations, description of targeted and accompanying muscles, choreography, and cueing. The cueing is what sets this book apart from other anatomy books.
This book is very easy to follow and is perfect for new instructors and a great reference tool for seasoned instructors. Students looking to more fully understand and appreciate their practice of Pilates will not find Pilates Anatomy intimidating but empowers. It can be difficult to give reading recommendations to student due to the technical nature of most anatomy books. Pilates Anatomy can be purchased at most major retailers and retails at only $19.95.
Pick up your own copy of Pilates Anatomy and embrace your Pilates journey, as teacher or student.
Debra Goodman, MSPT
Postpartum rehabilitation is an aspect of prenatal care that is extremely neglected. It is generally something that is discussed briefly at best during routine pre/postnatal visits. Women are rarely given any instruction on rehab exercises and tips for postpartum recovery. Women are generally given vague instructions from their doctors and midwives to “take it easy” for six weeks when in fact, women should be doing gentle core stability exercises as soon as possible. Women are rarely referred to physical therapy for postpartum consultation. Information following a cesarean section is no different. Little advice is offered on how to properly rehab their bodies even after this major abdominal surgery. The obstetric community has essentially overlooked an extremely important element in women’s prenatal/postpartum care.
It is obvious to most fitness professionals, that following pregnancy, women are going to need some very specific nurturing and guidance to help them slowly and safely regain their strength as well as to deal with the physical demands of caring for a newborn. It is outside the scope of practice for doctors and midwives to understand all the orthopedic implications of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum body. However, this population greatly needs this information and unfortunately only those women who seek it out will get it. Following a cesarean section surgery, women need postpartum rehab guidelines even more and they rarely receive it. The CDC has reported that in 2009, in the United States, 32.9% of pregnant women received a cesarean section which is an all-time high for this country. Therefore, many women are undergoing this surgery, and few are receiving good advice on rehab. Helping women strengthen after cesarean section requires a thorough understanding of how pregnancy impacts the musculoskeletal system, knowledge of the musculoskeletal rehab needs of postpartum women, as well as a basic understanding of what occurs during a cesarean section surgery.
Below outlines the basic process of the cesarean section surgery birth:
1. The surgeon makes a horizontal incision in the lower abdomen above the public bone through the abdominal fascia.
2. The abdominal muscles are separated along the midline and a vertical incision is made in the peritoneum.
3. The bladder is dissected from the uterus.
4. An incision is made in the uterus.
5. Fetal head is delivered through the uterine incision.
6. Placenta is delivered through the uterine incision.
7. The uterus is exteriorized (taken outside of the abdomen).
8. The uterus is checked carefully for debris often being turned inside out.
9. The uterus is sutured and returned to its position in the abdomen.
10. The peritoneum and abdominal muscles are sutured.
(Mothering Magazine, Sept-Oct 2007)
The surgery does not actually sever the abdominal muscles, but it creates a great deal of scar tissue, and the scar tissue can create problems if it is not mobilized properly. In orthopedics, the benefits of early scar mobilization are well known in preventing adhesions, expediting healing, and restoring normal biomechanics. The obstetric community does not seem to understand the importance of scar mobility work, and the majority of women never get any information on how to massage their scars. In fact, most obstetric practitioners evaluate whether a scar has healed “well” by the outward appearance of the scar. It is highly unusual for an OB provider to actually touch the scar after it has healed to assess for tenderness, restriction, or skin mobility. The problems from the scar tissue can present in a multitude of different ways. Below is a list of different symptoms that women will complain about that may point to a scar tissue cause:
1. Pain or tenderness with palpation of the scar
2. Pain or tenderness with abdominal muscle activation
3. Decreased or abnormal sensation in the lower abdomen
4. Abdominal muscle weakness that does not improve with strengthening
5. Stiffness of the skin and muscles near the scar
6. Vaginal pain including pain with intercourse
9. Abdominal pain
10. Hip pain
11. Headaches (occurring years later)
12. Global myofascial pain (occurring years later)
In the orthopedic field, after a patient has an orthopedic surgery of any kind, they are often referred to physical therapy where they are initially given gentle strengthening and stretching exercises, and they are typically taught scar mobility techniques to practice on a regular basis. It is common knowledge now that early intervention following a surgery results in a faster recovery. This means that doing gentle exercises to strengthen the muscles and working on scar mobility as the body is healing generally results in a faster and easier recovery. Post c-section patients are rarely if ever referred for physical therapy, and most women are often afraid to touch the scar.
This is where Pilates instructors can be very helpful to this population. It is important to inform women about the importance of scar mobilization as they are working on regaining their strength as well as to find resources where women can seek treatment for the scar from an experienced physical therapist or massage therapist trained in scar tissue mobilization. Below are some simple ways that women can work on their scars at home:
1. Scar work can begin as soon as the scar is fully healed. Sometimes the scar can be extremely sensitive and some women initially are afraid to touch the scar. Women can begin by applying a heating pad for 10-15 minutes and then gently placing their hands on the scar and applying gentle pressure. Just touching the scar can help to desensitize it. Then she can work up to a light stroking motion. If the scar is very sensitive, women may have to work up to applying a deeper pressure or she may need help from a therapist trained in scar work if she feels unable to get past the extreme sensitivity on her own.
2. Once women are comfortable touching the scar, then deeper pressure can be applied. Women can apply lotion if desired and massage across the length of the scar from right to left and then from left to right. Women should press into the scar and work on softening thickened areas. Many scars often feel like a very thick strand of bumpy spaghetti. Over time, the scar should change to where it feels like regular skin. It should be able to slide and glide in all directions over the underlying muscles. It should not pucker inwards or “bunch up” as pressure is applied.
3. Women can also practice picking up the scar. The scar should eventually be mobile enough that the scar be pinched and lifted up.
4. Any touching of the scar is good touch. Even if women are not doing a “perfect,” professional scar massage, any manipulation done is helpful. Women do not need to be concerned about doing the massage perfectly. Any nurturing and attention directed to the scar will be beneficial.
5. It is normal to feel sore during and after scar mobility work. Heat is helpful to apply prior to scar massage, and ice may be helpful to apply after scar work.
Aside from scar work, post c-section women should begin gentle abdominal strengthening as soon as possible. The focus should be transversus abdominus contractions and pelvic tilts. Diastasis recti precautions are still in place in the early postpartum phase, so women should not be doing aggressive rectus abdominus exercises that involve lifting head and shoulders or double legs from a supine position. Initially women should be focusing on gentle core stability exercises and slowly increasing the exercise load and intensity over the course of the first postpartum year. Following a c-section, activation of the abdominal muscles may be uncomfortable or sore which makes women afraid to contract their abdominal muscles. However, women greatly benefit by strengthening the abdominal muscles because it helps increase circulation around the wound which promotes healing, and activation of the abdominal muscles pulls through the scar which helps the scar heal with more mobility. Of course, abdominal strengthening also helps women begin the process of shortening the over-lengthened abdominal muscles and contributes to restoration of proper posture.
Below are examples of excellent postpartum abdominal exercises:
Seated Transverse Abdominal Exercises:
—Seated with body weight centered over pelvis, shoulders back, place hands over belly
- 30 Second Hold: Begin with a diaphragmatic/belly breath, then exhale and contract abdominals by drawing the belly button all the way to the spine. Imagine you are touching the spine with the belly button. Hold it here counting out loud for 30 counts. Recommended: 5 sets per day.
- Repeating Transverse: Same position as above. This exercise is a pulsed contraction. Begin exercise with a diaphragmatic/belly breath, then exhale and draw abdominals to the spine. This is the starting position. Hold this contraction for a count, and then release the muscles half way out. Repeat this back and forth motion. Count out loud for 50 repetitions. Recommended: 2 sets of 50 reps per day.
****These exercises may also be performed on hands & knees.
Supine Abdominal Exercise
- Pelvic Tilts: Lying on back, knees bent, small space under lower back (neutral spine). Begin with a diaphragmatic/belly breath and exhale while drawing the belly button to the spine. Next, engage the lower rectus and obliques and visualize the distance from the pubic bone to belly button shortening and the belly hollowing. The pelvis will gently rock back towards the floor (posterior tilt). The abdominals will be scooping backwards. Recommended: 1 set of 10 reps per day
***Can also be performed on hands & knees
Kegels (Pelvic floor contractions)
Imagine you are pulling your pubic bone toward your tailbone shortening the distance between the two bones.
Imagine you are drawing your ischial tuberosities and your pubic bone together.
Remember to relax the pelvic floor completely after the exercise!
Build up to 10 second contractions, 5-10 reps daily
Quick flicks—squeeze and release quickly, 10 reps daily
Pilates instructors are in a great position to educate women about all the possibilities for postpartum healing. Passing on this information helps to empower women and teaches them the importance of postpartum rehabilitation. Women will be extremely grateful for this knowledge.
More About Debra
Debra Goodman MSPT, is a licensed manual physical therapist with specialties in women’s health, dance medicine and sports medicine. She has been a physical therapist for Westside Dance Physical Therapy, New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet. Debbi also had a women’s health/orthopedic-focused private practice in New York City. She now practices in Albany, where she’s lived since 2004. She is one of the few physical therapists trained in internal evaluation and treatment of the pelvic floor muscles. She is skilled in the treatment of pregnancy and postpartum problems including chronic pain, sciatica, cesarean-section recovery, urinary incontinence, and post-delivery scars. Debra is a Pilates instructor and part of the continuing education faculty for Kinected and The Kane School of Core Integration in New York City.
Pilates-Pro wants you to be healthy before you step onto the mat. That’s why we have another article on eating healthy (and colorful) meals. Enjoy!
It can be hard to maintain a healthy diet. Counting calories, deciphering ingredients – it can all get overwhelming. Well, forget that. We want to share one of the most basic ways to determine a healthy meal – just use your eyes.
See, the natural pigments that give foods like fruits and vegetables their color also have beneficial nutritional properties. By including foods in a variety of colors, you can add nutrition and vitality to any meal. We want you to literally eat a rainbow every day!
So why is it important to eat a rainbow and not just your favorite fruit or veggie? Well, a study in the medical journal, Nutrition states that the variety of vitamins and antioxidants absorbed from a range of sources can, even in small amounts, provide greater health benefits than consuming only a few types of vegetables in large quantities. Here are some good places to start:
Red. Colored by lycopene, red foods like cherries, beets, grapefruit, watermelon and even red potatoes and wine help reduce risk of several types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Orange. Colored by carotenoids, foods like mangos, persimmons, apricots, yellow apples and sweet corn are vital to healthy eye sight and may reduce the risk of heart related diseases.
Green foods are colored by chlorophyll and lutein. Honeydew melon, onions, limes, kiwi and avocado can all help protect against cancer, fight cataracts and reduce the risk of birth defects due to the high amounts of folate often found in green veggies.
Blue foods like plums, eggplant, juneberries and raisins are colored by the pigment anthocyanin which is a powerful antioxidant helping to protect cells against damage and improve memory all while fighting against strokes and many forms of cancer.
So, now that you know the benefits – why not show us your plate? We want to see pictures of your favorite, colorful meals. Post pictures and recipes on Facebook and Twitter, join the conversation by liking us and participate to win prizes. What foods help you get through your workout?
The winners are in for the About.com Reader’s Choice Awards 2011! Thanks to thousands of votes, we know the best of the best according to the members of the Pilates community.
Best Pilates DVD
Kick Abs Pilates Workout by Virginia Nicholas
From what I hear, this is a great DVD. It is always nice to try something new. I can’t wait to get my copy.
Click here to purchase yours!
Best Workout Clothes
No surprise here! Lululemon has quality clothing that lasts even through the washing machine. I am a big fan of the Groove Pant. They are so comfortable and have colors that pop! You will love showing them off when you are doing Spine Stretch Forward and Saw!
Best Pilates Reformer
The Studio Reformer from Balanced Body
I have worked out on this Balance Body Reformer before and it has never let me down. The carriage is lightweight but stable. I always feel safe even when I am struggling to reach the end of my work out!
Pilates-Pro encourages everyone to try new products and let us know what you think. Do you have the next best thing for Pilates?
March is Nutrition Month. That means Pilates-Pro will be highlighting several super-foods throughout the coming weeks – foods that truly need to be a part of any healthy diet. Along the way, we’ll be offering some helpful tips and recipes making it easy to add a nutrition spike to any one of your daily dishes.
Pilates-Pro is back with another super-food, and it’s a sweet one. Now, before you get excited that we’re going to reveal the health benefits of cupcakes, we want to make it clear that this one is tasty in a different way – were talking sweet potatoes.
Although many of us picture sweet potatoes as a Thanksgiving Day food, they can actually be found year-round and are best during the spring and summer months. Aside from being easy to find and cheap, Sweet potatoes (or yams) are literally a powerhouse of nutrients and a great way to enhance any meal with few added calories.
A medium-sized sweet potato often contains more than your daily required intake of vitamin A, nearly a third the Vitamin C we all need every day and almost 15 percent of your daily dietary fiber intake. All this from just a simple side dish low on the glycemic index!
So – we all know you can just pop a potato in the oven or microwave for a simple and fast baked side, but we’re talking about super-foods here. We want to mix things up and really explore great ways to add health to our diets without being boring. Here are some great places to start:
How about Sweet Potatoes with Warm Black Bean Salad to start? Microwave your yams covered in plastic wrap for 10-15 minutes until tender (or bake in a 425 degree oven for about an hour). Then, mix black beans with some fresh diced tomato, olive oil, cumin and cilantro in a bowl. Microwave or simmer this mixture until warm and spoon on top of your halved potato with some low-fat sour cream. The cumin adds tons of flavor while helping aid in digestion. You can find a more detailed recipe here.
Or, if you’re looking to have some more fun, try Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries. Slice your potatoes into fries. Then, place them in a zip-top bag with some canola oil, cayenne pepper and pre-packaged taco seasoning. Shake the mixture and spread it onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes in a 425 degree oven and done! It’s a perfect side for those spring-time and summer barbeques. Find the full recipe here.
There are so many ways to add this super-food to any meal – why not take some time and discover some recipes of your own? If you’ve got any you’d like to share, we want to hear them! Join the conversation by leaving a comment or by adding your thoughts on Facebook and Twitter.