After sitting all day stretching seems like a necessity for flexibility and relaxation but is it really?
I keep thinking a lot about whether I need to add extra stretching exercises to my classes when my clients often say they want to be more flexible so I decided to do some research into this to make my mind up and hopefully give you a clear update on the topic!
I have been taught to stretch after every exercise session since I was 7 years old to increase my mobility and flexibility and I love stretching! Not just that, if I look at my cat I can see her benefiting from stretching and it is almost one of the most natural instincts in every species!
When I started my Pilates training everything changed, as my school strictly emphasized that no one needs to stretch unless you are a professional dancer who is after a greater range of movement. I have been questioning this since I started to teach.
Are you worried about taking your first fitness class?
You are not the only person who wants to go to a class but who has so many worries stopping them from taking this step.
I meet many like you every week who say they don’t know anything about Pilates and haven't done any exercise or fitness classes for years and are not sure if they can pick it up or follow a class, they feel uncomfortable about their physical appearance and do not want to feel embarrassed if they can't do the exercises in the class.
Some people I meet even worry that they will hold the class back and instead of trying they don't attend. Don’t let your insecurities to stop you! You may have heard this before but if something feels out of your comfort zone it is usually a good thing for personal growth.
Today, I continue by giving some tips on how to improve your strength and your posture outside of your fitness or Pilates classes.
These are small amendments to your everyday routine for a healthier lifestyle, you can improve your body and your alignment without devoting extra time to taking a formal class. (Please check part one here. )
Sleeping: We all know how it is so important to maintain our health and our body, your muscles and ligaments relax and heal themselves while you sleep. What I want to talk to you about specifically is sleeping and how it is so important for your posture.
We all focus on what we eat and do when we are awake but we spend average of 6 to 7 hours sleeping… This is a lot more time than we spend on any other daily activity (walking, exercising, sitting, standing, cycling… etc) that we focus on so much. Good posture doesn’t apply to just sitting or standing, it should be even more important when you are sleeping.
Some of you may be suffering back pain as soon as you get out of your bed in mornings. Another common problem may be your quality of sleep; you may be moving and having breaks throughout the night. These are common problems that are related to your bad posture habits while sleeping.
Why do you hear a lot of “engage with your core, your centre” in Pilates classes? What does this mean?
Okay... I know whoever attends a Pilates class, especially for the first time will often notice the instructor commenting that you should be “engaging with your centre” this may be one the most confusing and technical term you hear in the class.
I remember when I first heard this, I was trying do the exercise “Hundred”. (I hope you are familiar with that). My spine was out of control as soon as I lengthened my legs forward (!) and when my instructor told me to engage with my abdominal muscles to keep my spine still, I held my breath and my abs so tight. That’s what this means right?
Unfortunately , this was such a typical bad exercise case: I started to hold my breathe in a breathing exercise (!) and it was a painful first meeting with the Hundred!
So, please don’t worry if you don’t know what the centering means, you are not the only person...