Pilates postures

The hazards of our modern sedentary lifestyle

Apart from the general optimal functioning of the body i.e. physiologically and basic joint mobility through simple activities such as walking, there is an increased risk of developing health problems such as cancer, reduced insulin sensitivity which is a risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, lower back pain, neck stiffness, obesity and restless legs associated with living a sedentary lifestyle.

Your Pilates instructor will teach you good postural alignment techniques for both standing and sitting positions. This will ensure good posture and correct head/shoulder/neck alignment which is essential to prevent chronic neck, shoulder and back problems as well as headaches.

Prolonged sedentary activity such as office work and driving and the associated physical effects can be improved by monitoring and introducing short breaks to stand, stretch, and even do some Pilates postures and exercises.

According to a review study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine regardless of regular exercise “More than one half of an average person’s day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television, or working at a computer,” said Dr. David Alter, Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network (UHN) and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. “Our study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease.”

In “Recommendations for Physical Activity in Older Adults”, Professor Phillip Sparling and colleagues write: “There is now a clear need to reduce prolonged sitting. Secondly, evidence on the potential of high intensity interval training in managing the same chronic diseases, as well as reducing indices of cardio metabolic risk in healthy adults, has emerged. This vigorous training typically comprises multiple 3-4 minute bouts of high intensity exercise interspersed with several minutes of low intensity recovery, three times a week.

Between these two extremes of the activity spectrum is the mainstream public health recommendation for aerobic exercise… 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more… However, many people, especially in older age groups, find it hard to achieve this level of activity. We argue that when advising patients on exercise doctors should encourage people to increase their level of activity by small amounts rather than focus on the recommended levels. The 150 minute target, although warranted, may overshadow other less concrete elements of guidelines. These include finding ways to do lower intensity lifestyle activity”. Regular Pilates classes and daily practice of Pilates exercises is therefore vital to everyone with or without the extra higher intensity exercise options.

The hazards of our modern sedentary lifestyle were highlighted in a two-part series of Article 7 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published at the beginning of January 2015 where it was suggested that public policy needs to be reassessed to focus on increasing body movement during work hours.


Physical treatments for back pain and osteoarthritis

Supportive therapies can help make everyday activities easier.

Pilates can be of great benefit for people who suffer from arthritic pain because this physical practice can strengthen the muscles supporting your joints. People often combine Pilates with aerobic exercises and a workout routine to lose weight thus strengthening muscles whilst reducing physical pain.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common type of arthritis in the UK and is a condition that causes the joints to become painful and stiff. Studies have shown people with arthritis who perform Pilates had a better range of motion and less stiffness than people who did not include Pilates in their exercise routines. OA affects the joint cartilage and the bone tissue next to the cartilage. By maintaining a healthy weight and doing regular, gentle exercises you may be able to reduce your chances of developing the condition.

Osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms will be improved through regular exercise which maintains activity and mobility whilst building up muscle and thereby strengthening the joints.

Pilates is a great tool for managing osteoarthritis pain as it can increase flexibility, muscle strength and physical endurance. Pilates, as part of your arthritis treatment, helps you lose weight whilst improving your overall sense of well-being. Generally, exercise is also good for improving your posture and relieving stress, all of which will ease symptoms.

Whatever your age or level of fitness, physical activity is one of the most important treatments for people with osteoarthritis. A combination of exercises to strengthen your muscles and exercises to improve your general fitness will improve your overall physical ability and lessen pain.

Click here for more details regarding Arthritis Research.


Exercise is Medicine

Almost a third of the world population is categorised as being physically inactive.

Our Pilates courses aim to, amongst other goals for each individual persons Pilates practice, achieve workplace wellness, good posture and rehabilitation as well as encouraging general physical activity for your improved movement and health.

Medical departments worldwide including the Faculty of Life, health sciences and the School of Public Health have and are debating physical movement for improved health and chronic disease prevention.

President of the Faculty of sport and exercise medicine (FSEM) Dr Roderick Jaques comments: “The healthcare agenda has been focused for too long on obesity whilst physical inactivity, a larger health threat, has gone largely unrecognised. Addressing physical inactivity through prescribed exercise provides a fresh approach to the prevention and management of avoidable diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and many common muscular-skeletal conditions. Exercise medicine can also provide sustainable treatment for excess weight, obesity and mental health and it has an enormous application for workplace wellness and rehabilitation. Physical activity being at the core of healthcare and communities is a focus as well as providing a sustainable solution to public health and the pressures facing the NHS.”

The speciality of sport and exercise medicine (SEM) has a key role in developing new approaches to healthcare and promoting population health and works with colleagues in public health, the Department of Health and the NHS to implement policies that enhance health. Physical inactivity is a leading cause of death worldwide and is a major risk factor for chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, and several cancers.

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) UK is asking MPs to recognise physical inactivity as one of the largest health threats in the UK. In its Manifesto to Improve Public Health, the FSEM sets out 8 priorities to put physical activity at the core of the UK’s healthcare system via a national preventative strategy.

The decision-making branch of the World Health Organisation, The World Health Assembly, has adopted combating physical inactivity as a priority objective for global action to help control the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

After 23 years in the NHS, Ann Gates is focussed on getting every GP surgery in the country trained to provide personalised exercise programmes to their patients and a firm believer that exercise is a medicine that improves the health of people with long-term illnesses as well as preventing disease. Ms Gates is convinced that using exercise as a form of treatment will be the most cost-effective measure ever introduced.

Exercise medicine can also provide sustainable treatment for excess weight, obesity and mental health.

To find out more about physical activity and improving your health visit the Live Well page of the NHS website.


Are your teeth important for correct body posture?

If we know “precisely” how the bio-mechanism (the study of the structure and function of biological systems) works and the exact relationship between teeth, occlusion and posture then can we solve postural problems?

Pioneers and gnathology scientific writers have started to understand that neck and back problems are caused by skull-cervical-mandible disorders and the role of the mandible (jawbone) in the human postural system.

Gnathology is the study of masticatory system, including its functional disturbances, physiology and scientific treatment. The force of mastication or masticatory force is a force created by the action of the masticatory muscles during the physiological act of chewing.

The skull is supported at the top, on the last cervical vertebra (atlas) and is the heaviest part of our body. Whilst, the “jaw” has a vital role in supporting the skull and bio-mechanism keeps our head on top of the first cervical vertebra. Mother Nature has devised a very ingenious “bio-mechanical system of levers” to ensure that our head remains at the top with the least expenditure of energy.

“How is the skull being held on the last cervical vertebra?”

In the past people believed that the skull was supported by the neck muscles operated by our willingness to stand upright. Gnathology scientists and clinical trials in relation to the skull-cervical-mandible joint have shown a functional-anatomic and physiopathological link between skull-mandible (CMD) and skull-cervical dysfunctions, aggregating various areas of the body in a single tonic-postural system.

Previously, with the use of a bite medical-science pioneers managed to understand, more or less, the bio-mechanism and how to act on it in order to alleviate peoples health problems. However, a concrete relationship between correct body posture, jaw and teeth has not as yet been established.

The classic postural problems kyphosis, lordosis and scoliosis have not yet been totally solved despite important scientific progress and even the most diverse scientific methods have not really focused on the issue. Therefore, due to a lack of convincing scientific evidence some gnathologists assert that there is no proof of any relationship between dentistry occlusion (the manner in which the lower and upper teeth come together) and our posture.

In contrast to this academic discussion, the Rectifier has become a very powerful balancing tool that uses your dental bite along with the Starecta method to straighten the spine and raise the skull up in an ideal position.

To find out more details regarding the Rectifier and muscular-skeletal symmetry, the academic and gnathology based discussion and related topics visit starecta.com


Are you interested in practising Body Control Pilates?

I am very happy and to be writing my first blog post for our new website design, created by Cloud8  that is both mobile and user friendly with a revised logo and super images to compliment the detail including our latest promotional offers for people joining our Beginners Body Control Pilates courses starting this April.

First impressions last and I hope that you find our website attractive, clear and professional with a focus on usability. With regards to our latest promotional offers and if you plan to attend our Beginners Body Control Pilates courses starting in April 2015 in Brighton, Rottingdean and Winchester, or to book 1:1 private hour long session(s) for your special reduced cost of £35 instead of the usual £45, then  simply fill in your Contact form and we will be back in touch very soon with further details and course joining instructions.

The classes last an hour and have a maximum of 12 people so you’ll always have plenty of attention and guidance.

My regular blog will include a client quote/feedback ……this week is …….

One of my existing clients from Rottingdean fed back recently and reported that her progress with her horse riding classes has markedly improved by her attendance at pilates classes especially since she’s increased her attendance from 1 to 2 classes per week.

Each of you will have your own reasons and expectations for joining one of my classes, least of all they are fun, they work, and as Mr Pilates said “in 10 classes you’ll notice the difference”. These differences include a very wide range of benefits to include the disappearance of the usual body aches and pains, reduced muscle tension and stress, improved flexibility and core strength – people get a sense of their core within 10 weeks. Most people benefit from learning how to manage their own back problems amongst many other body issues which are improved together with a wonderful sense of “mind-body control”. A general good feeling in the body produces a good feeling in the mind and vice versa.