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Posts In: Pilates

Pilates might be best known for increasing your strength, especially in your core muscles. However, it also helps women burn off excess calories and therefore manage their weight. The great thing about trying Pilates for weight management is that it’s an accessible exercise.

Truly, no matter your fitness level, Pilates will challenge you to burn fat. Those who have chronic pain or other disorders can easily modify Pilates to be comfortable, while athletes at peak performance can still find movements that challenge them.

At Absolute Pilates, we have experience modifying Pilates routines and intensifying them for advanced Pilates participants. We find that some moves are better suited for burning fat and managing weight than others, and we want to share those moves with you.

The Best Pilates Moves for Weight Management

  1. Knee Up/Heel Up
  • Step One: From standing, keep your elbows bent and at your side. Begin jogging.
  • Step Two: While jogging, for eight leg movements, raise your knee in front of you to hip height.
  • Step Three: While jogging, stop knee ups and start extending your legs back to kick your bottom, eight times. Do not lift your knees and attempt a kick at the same time, only alternate the movements.
  1. Crisscross
  • Step One: Lay on your back. Place your hands behind your head and lift. Pull your knees to your chest.
  • Step Two: On the exhale, move to touch your right elbow with your left knee. Your hands should stay behind your head, and your right leg should straighten for balance.
  • Step Three: Slowly return to the start position. Switch sides, reaching your left elbow to touch your right knee.
  • Step Four: Combine the movements and complete five sets of twists.
  1. Corkscrew
  • Step One: Lay flat on your back. Extend your arms straight out at your sides. Turn your palms to the floor so you can use them for support.
  • Step Two: With your legs straight, press them together, engaging the muscles from calf to rear.
  • Step Three: Point your toes and lift your legs, still pressing them together. Use your arms and shoulders for balance. Do not let your weight rest on your neck.
  • Step Four: Lift so your glutes aren’t touching the floor. Lean slightly right and move your legs right, then left in a circle.
  • Step Five: Return your legs to the floor. Raise them again and perform a circle as before, but first leaning left, so the circle is in the opposite direction.
  • Step Six: Repeat each circle four times, alternating each time.

Attend Pilates Classes at Absolute Pilates

While you can always practice these Pilates moves at home, it’s much more motivational and fun to take part in a class. Plus, our experienced Pilates instructors can help guide you to get the most out of the class, whether you’re looking for weight management or other Pilates benefits. Contact us today for more information about our classes and how to register.

Immobility, even for a short period of time (or only in a certain limb), can have serious effects on the whole body. Your muscles, bones, and even heart will weaken unless you take steps to keep them healthy. In fact, it is much easier to prevent the complications of immobility than to treat them after the fact. Pilates can help with both scenarios.

Causes of Immobility

You may need to counter-act the effects of immobility if you are limited to your bed or a wheelchair. Other causes of immobility include:

  • Bed rest due to illness
  • Paralysis of any limb
  • Restriction of a limb in a brace or cast
  • Restriction of joints with a brace or cast
  • Loss of sensation in any body part

Effects of Immobility

Overtime, the effects of immobility can become worse than the illness or injury that caused the immobility in the first place.

  1. Muscles Loss

The first complication is muscle weakness. Research has found that immobile muscles will lose up to 15 percent of their strength each week. This means that after five weeks of immobility your muscles will have lost almost or more than half of their strength.

The first muscles to be affected are the core muscles, because they no longer have to resist gravity. These muscles support you throughout essentially every kind of movement. Unless you prevent core muscle loss, you will find that climbing stairs, walking, and even sitting up is a challenge.

Pilates focuses on these vulnerable muscles first and foremost. Not only can you maintain their condition with Pilates, you may even improve their strength, leaving bed rest stronger than when you started. Many of the key Pilates exercises that develop the core muscles can be done while lying down, so you can exercise no matter what kind of immobility you are dealing with.

Pilates exercises can also focus on the muscle groups that you can move, to ensure they maintain as much of their strength as possible.

  1. Bone Density Loss

Like muscles, bones need activity to remain strong. During immobility, bones will lose their density rapidly, until 12 weeks at which point bone density levels out. However, this rapid immediate loss may cause osteoporosis, or give you a much greater risk of developing it later on. It is much harder to regain bone density than to maintain it in the first place.

Pilates exercises will allow you to use your own body weight to put pressure on your bones, encouraging them to remain healthy. Those exercises which develop muscle strength will also maintain your bone density, especially in critical areas like your hips, knees and back.

  1. Other Complications

There are other rarer complications of immobility that you can prevent. For example, after three weeks of bed rest you could develop orthostatic hypotension, where your circulatory system no longer adjusts as you sit up, making your heart rate and blood pressure increase. Leg exercises and pressure wraps can treat this condition over time, but Pilates leg exercises and sitting exercises may help prevent it in the first place.

Similar treatments are given to patients who develop venous thromboembolisms from inactivity. This condition is a blood clot that forms in the veins of the leg. Simple leg exercises and other Pilates exercises can also help prevent these clots from forming.

If you have immobility, even for a short period of time, you can take charge of your health and prevent these conditions from developing. Contact us at Absolute Pilates to sign up for a Pilates class. You may even end up stronger than you were before your immobility!

If you have low bone density, and osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may have heard that Pilates is not the exercise for you. That’s only half right. While some forms of Pilates may cause harm to your fragile bones, others like STOTT PILATES® can help you rebuild bone density.

The Right Exercise

Those with low bone density are often advised by doctors and physiotherapists to try weight bearing exercises in order to preserve and build bone density. Instead of cycling or swimming, which can take much-needed pressure off your bones, you’ve likely been encouraged to walk or lift weights.

However, walking doesn’t apply any pressure to the bones in your arm, and few seniors feel comfortable lifting weights. The solution is to try STOTT PILATES® instead.

STOTT PILATES® can be adjusted for any level of physical ability. It doesn’t require equipment, unlike weight lifting, and uses only your body weight and gravity to add pressure. Sometimes Pilates involves equipment, but this is usually equipment which relieves pressure, like a trapeze table or TRX machine. Further, there are many Pilates movements that will apply gentle pressure to your arms, which are often neglected in other bone density exercises.

All types of Pilates involve weight bearing exercises, that’s not the problem. Instead, certain positions that Pilates demands of you can be dangerous when your bones are fragile, especially for your spine. The same thing goes for yoga.

No one with osteoporosis should be rolling, on their hip or shoulder. They shouldn’t be twisting their spine, even by reaching behind themselves. They also should avoid leaning forward or curving their spine forward.

The Movements and Goals of STOTT PILATES®

We often adjust STOTT PILATES® programs to avoid these dangerous movements and allow those with low bone density to enjoy the benefits of Pilates. Instead of those dangerous movements, we might work on:

  • Leg pulls and circles
  • Push ups
  • Chest expansion
  • Single and double leg kicks
  • Side-lying movements

The movements we choose for these classes are designed to accomplish a few goals, including:

  • Improve bone density especially in the hips and spine
  • Improve strength to help support weakened bones
  • Improve balance, to prevent falls and fractures
  • Improve range of motion and flexibility
  • Improve posture, which can address pain in some parts of the body

Talk to Your Instructor

If you have low bone density you should let your STOTT PILATES® instructor know, so that they can teach you to modify your movements to maximize your bones and keep you safe.

If you’re not sure if one of our classes is right for you, please reach out to us. We can let you know which of our classes fits your goals best.

Breast cancer survivors may be surprised to learn that after their last treatment, there are still physical challenges to overcome.

You may feel pain, swelling and stiffness in your shoulder, arm and chest from several treatments, including:

  • Breast biopsy
  • Lumpectomy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Lymph node removal
  • Mastectomy
  • Radiation
  • Breast reconstruction

Physiotherapy, Pilates and massage therapy each offer their own benefits to breast cancer survivors who have undergone any of these procedures. Learn how each can reduce your pain and help you move forward.

Physiotherapy for Cancer Recovery

Physiotherapy can help you recover from breast cancer by reducing swelling, increase range of motion, and reducing pain. Physiotherapy can get you back to your regular activities faster, like brushing your hair, driving a car, and simply taking a deep breath. When you still have stitches or drains from your procedures, your movements may be more restricted but there are still physio exercises you can do to promote a full range of motion. Strength exercises can be added once your stitches and drainage devices have been removed.

Keep in mind that even when performing simple range of motion exercises, it is easy to hurt yourself when you’re recovering from breast cancer. You need professional supervision to move in the right ways at the right times.

Further, specific physio exercises can target common side effects of breast cancer. Specific movements can reduce lymphedema, a type of swelling where your body holds onto your interstitial fluid for too long. Other movements target lymphatic cording, also called axillary web syndrome. Stretching can painlessly break these cords so you can regain your arm’s full range of motion.

Pilates for Cancer Recovery

After chemotherapy and radiation, survivors often experience fatigue and weakness, on top of a weakened immune system, usually for four to six weeks afterwards. Exercise can help restore your normal energy levels and rebuild muscles.

Pilates is a particularly great exercise regimen for this task, focusing on core strength to increase your balance. It also doesn’t require you to perform heavy cardio, something few breast cancer survivors are ready for, especially when your ability to take deep breaths is likely impacted by your treatment.

Exercise has benefits beyond your muscles and energy levels. Research suggests that exercise helps your immune system strengthen after chemotherapy and radiation treatments. One of the very best things you can do for yourself is to keep on the path to health with exercise.

Massage for Cancer Recovery

After the stress you’ve been through, a massage is probably a very appealing thought. So, feel free to treat yourself and know that your massage will further your recovery efforts. Massage relaxes you and promotes a positive frame of mind. It also helps to reduce swelling. Though you may not want your chest or shoulders massaged right now, particularly as your incisions heal, it will be more comfortable to be massaged near your sore spots, and you may find that it helps subdue painful swelling.

Besides, massage is more helpful than it seems. Research has found that massage can even help with immune function and helps to combat fatigue.

Join us as Absolute Pilates for any, or all, of these three healing practices. Feel free to contact us anytime about our programs. We wish you the best of health and comfort on your breast cancer recovery journey.

At Absolute Pilates, we offer both Pilates and yoga classes, so we often get asked about the difference between the two. While it’s true that they are quite similar, these workouts are different enough that most people have a strong preference for one over the other.

Here we’ll take a look at the key differences so that you can decide which type might be best for you.

The Core Differences

Pilates and yoga are both full-body workouts that focus on improving strength, flexibility, balance and breathing. However, Pilates focuses on the strength aspect, while yoga usually focuses more on flexibility and breathing. Most of the time when you’re in a Pilates class, you’ll be on the ground. In a yoga class, you’re more likely to be switching from standing to ground work, depending on the style.

Another key difference is that many people choose to practice yoga as part their spirituality. Even if you don’t choose to do that, you will still find most yoga classes are meditative and help you focus your mental energy on your goals. Not as many people consider adding their spiritual practices to Pilates, which tends to be more intense. Plus, Pilates involves counting reps and keeping track of sets, which doesn’t leave as much room to think.

You can learn even more about the differences between Pilates and yoga by reading about the specific kinds of classes we offer.

Pilates Classes

We offer several different Pilates classes which all offer something a little different: 

  • Osteo-Pilates: If you’re looking to add a little of that yoga flexibility and balance into your Pilates class, this might be right for you. While the class is designed to decrease the risk of fractures for those with Osteoporosis, anyone can participate and reap the benefits of better balance and bone health.
  • Stretch and Lengthen: This class also focuses on stretching more than your average Pilates class but has fewer bone health benefits than the Osteo-Pilates class.
  • Matwork Challenge: If instead you want to lean into the benefits of Pilates and improve your strength and endurance, this class will challenge you and even boost coordination.
  • Mom and Babies: After you give birth, you might be drawn to Pilates because of its focus on the core muscles, which need to recover and strengthen after your pregnancy. This class allows you to bring your little one and is a bonus bonding experience for both mom and baby!

Yoga Classes

Our yoga classes focus on those benefits that yoga does best, including breathing, focus and flexibility.

  • Hatha yoga: When most people think of yoga, they imagine Hatha yoga. It teaches beginner poses and focuses on breathing and calming to reduce cortisol and improve your focus.
  • Restorative yoga: This class is designed to align your body and mind with slow, purposeful movements that activate the parasympathetic nervous system. The benefits include lowered blood pressure and heart rate, lessening chronic pain and anxiety, and increasing oxygen levels in the blood.

There’s much to be said for the benefits of practicing both Pilates and yoga as you need both strength and flexibility to be healthy. If you’re ready to sign up for a class, feel free to register here.

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