Join Liz from Fusion Pilates Asheville for a quick Pilates tip on opening tight hamstrings.
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Join Elizabeth Goyer from Fusion Pilates Asheville for a quick Pilates tip explaining some details on performing a squat for stretching and strengthening
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Fusion Pilates Asheville’s Elizabeth Goyer discusses strategies for healing a back injury…
A month ago, I posted a blog article about managing dull back pain flare ups. I find those strategies very useful for low level pain. However, I suffered a severe back injury years ago, and I wish I had known how to handle it effectively. Instead, I cared for it poorly and reinjured it 6 months later. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. So if you or someone you know has recently suffered a back injury, consider these tips, which are based on my personal experience.
For a more intense, acute back “injury” (pain level 5 or higher)
Elizabeth Goyer from Fusion Pilates Asheville discusses strategies for managing dull back pain…
Around 80% of American adults experience chronic back pain at some point in their lives…and although an internet search will tell us that “unhealthy” people are most affected, I think it’s fair to say that back pain affects many people regardless of how healthy they are. The modern lifestyle of chairs, screens, and cars sets us all up for back problems.
It affects us earlier than we expect as well. Back pain can affect people in their 20s and 30s, in addition to those in their 40s. Lucky for me, back pain brought me to Pilates! Pilates is full of great preventative tips, but no one is perfect and sometimes we need to manage pain that’s already happened. With the broad scope of this topic in mind, I want to offer some ideas based on my own experience.
For a dull flare up (pain level 1-3).
Stay tuned for part 2, where I will discuss some strategies for coping with more serious back injuries!
When I was a kid, my mom always nagged me about sitting up straighter. After starting my Pilates practice, I gained ¾ of an inch in height. However, when I see myself in photos and videos, I am still aware that I have some more work to do on my forward head posture. My chiropractor also points this out. How can it be so hard?? Turns out my Mom was right. The way we sit, stand, move, and rest as children has the capacity to shape our spines for the rest of our lives. Letting your kid slump over an ipad on the couch may seem harmless now, but more and more health and wellness professionals are starting to view bad posture as a modern health crisis.
What are the effects of poor posture on our kids and teens? I’ll name a few that I have seen firsthand. I have witnessed teenagers call in sick to work due to back pain. I see kids who don’t sit up straight, but even worse – THEY DON’T KNOW HOW, even when I ask them to do it. It is amazing – I have to manually cue children into better posture, because their body has no memory of it. It affects them as athletes as well. Many kids and teens struggle to approach their athletic potential because their ability to generate power through movement is limited by poor structural mechanics.
But enough about the problem. How can we help our kids avoid the emotional, psychological, and financial strain of posture problems down the road?
Note: In addition to teaching Pilates at Fusion, article author Elizabeth Goyer has been training in Traditional Tae Kwon Do at Asheville Sun Soo for 9 years, and teaching Tae Kwon Do to kids, teens, and adults for 7 years. She is formally trained and certified by Master Tony Morris of Asheville Sun Soo.
A regular Pilates practice creates changes in many facets of life – improved fitness and mobility, and decreased pain and stress. Many people rave about the benefits of Pilates affecting them all day – from sitting at work to exercising later. But how many of us think about Pilates before we go to sleep? Poor sleep habits can greatly contribute to pain and tension patterns. Here are some tips for before, during, and after sleeping, to help you apply your Pilates knowledge to a very important part of your day!
Before you go to bed –
While sleeping –
In the morning
If you are an athlete, chances are you have sustained an injury that you weren’t thrilled about. And even though the vast majority of fitness professionals agree that warming up is important for injury prevention, we often skip this part of our exercise. In Pilates, warm ups are practically built into the class, it can be difficult to remember to warm up before other exercise such as running, swimming, biking, playing soccer, dance, or martial arts. Often, we have allotted x amount of time for our favorite exercise activity and we skip the warm up in an effort to “get the most out of it.” Unfortunately, this pattern sets us back in the long run. A body not properly primed for movement struggles with athletic challenges, and ultimately has us rely on compensation patterns that are not healthy and may cause injuries.
So how should we warm up?
1) Know your body. There isn’t a “one size fits all” recipe for warming up. If you make a regular habit of tuning in, you will feel it when your body is straining, versus when it is moving with ease.
2) Drink water. Proper hydration will keep your connective tissue lubricated and able to make adjustments as you move.
3) Cardio is crucial. Get the heart rate up with some safe and easy range of motion activities, like walking with high knees, or gently skipping or jogging. Jumping jacks are OK if they feel OK for you – but avoid them if they strain your shoulders or knees. Here’s the bottom line – our connective tissue has to be warm before it can move safely. Cold connective tissue rips, warm connective tissue glides.
4) Focus on your breath. You can start with belly breathes, but as you perform more strenuous motions, make sure you are breathing laterally. This means that your ribcage expands on the inhale and softens on the exhales. Let your head, neck, and shoulders be easy and soft while you warm up.
5) Add some stability exercises. Any movement where you have to keep your balance, return to center, and activate your core cylinder is AWESOME.
6) Change levels. Any movement where you go from touching the ground the standing is bound to get your heart rate up. Only do what’s appropriate for your joints and personal activity level – but a level change done with clean mechanics is a great, time effective warm up. I included a video below in case this is new for you!
7) If you feel tight, hit the tennis ball or the foam roller. Many of us think of this as a post workout activity (great!), but let’s be clear on the benefits of doing this BEFORE you work out. If we exercise with tension keeping us hostage in poor posture, then our workout will be less efficient and less safe. If we take 5-10 minutes to address our worst tension spots, then we will not only exercise in a way that feels better, but we can actually retrain our nervous system to move with less tension.
Special note: For folks with hypermobility, please consult your most trusted PT or doctor about your warm up routine. What’s safe for others may be dangerous for you. But in general, simply stretching won’t cut it.`