For 4 weeks from 25 Jan-21st of Feb 2021, CFN will be raising awareness across our social media (Facebook, Insta and Linkedin and Twitter) of all of the wonderful things that instructors and community facilities have been involved in through lockdowns 1, 2 and 3; and all the bits in between to support the physical, mental and social health of our communities. From activity packs, to food parcels and from Clubbercise classes to running groups, instructors have really been an essential service to the UK and beyond. This campaign is to recognise their efforts and give some support back where possible.
#lockdownlife is an initiative from Community Fitness Network (CFN) to raise awareness of the impact that fitness instructors have had in supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of communities throughout the coronavirus crisis. THe social media campaign runs from 25 Jan-21st of Feb 2021.
Support Your Instructor
CFN will donate £10 from each item purchased from the #lockdownlifeline store to the instructor, community facility or brand of your choice.
Your pelvic floor refers to the set of muscles around your bladder, bottom, and vagina or penis. Strengthening these muscles can help with incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and improve sex. We can all benefit from doing pelvic floor exercises.
To feel your pelvic floor muscles, imagine that you are trying to stop the flow of urine (although to avoid bladder problems, it is not recommended that you actually do this regularly).
In Pilates, we work the pelvic floor muscles together with the deep abdominal muscles and muscles alongside your spine (multifidus), to stabilise your trunk. We call this action centring and it is one of our basic principles. By strengthening these muscles, they are better able to support your back and can help you manage or alleviate back pain.
The pelvic elevator exercise is good for practising the action of centring. You can do it in any position. I suggest that you start by lying on your back and progress to kneeling on all fours. It is available as an MP3 on my downloads page.
Joseph Pilates was passionate about the benefits of learning how to breathe efficiently. He said:
“Before any real benefit can be derived from physical exercises, one must first learn how to breathe properly. Our very life depends on it.”
Breathing for Pilates
In Pilates, breathing is one of our basic principles. We practise lateral or thoracic breathing. This is to encourage the expansion of the lower ribs into the sides and into the back. The breathing patterns specified for each exercise are to facilitate movement and aid stability. Effective use of the breath can also help the mind to relax, focus and recharge.
Breathing to Relieve Back Pain
With persistent back pain, muscles often feel tense and tight. A breathing exercise, such as breathing in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11, can calm the nervous system so as to relax tense muscles and prevent sudden spasms of back pain.
Breathing for Insomnia
If you suffer from poor sleep, a deep breathing trick can help. A US expert recommends the 4-7-8 method to help you relax and fall asleep. The trick is breathing in for four counts, holding for seven seconds, then exhale completely for eight counts. Repeat these steps two and four times. Read more in this breathing trick can induce sleep article from The Telegraph.
The first basic principle is alignment, which refers to bringing your body into its ideal posture, where your joints are in their optimal position in relation to each other and your muscles are doing the minimum amount of work to hold them there.
Without good alignment, you risk extra wear and tear on your joints and extra aches in your muscles which may tire from overuse or become weak from lack of use.
When performing our Pilates exercises, we focus on starting in and then holding good form as we move, so as to reinforce the correct alignment of our joints and retrain our muscles to maintain that alignment.
…results in perfect posture when sitting, standing or walking…
He did not mention alignment, but I like to think this is covered within the principle of precision. The instructions in his book Return to Life through Contrology are certainly precise, as are his directions that they are to be followed faithfully to acquire physical fitness.
…exercises that produce a harmonious structure we term physical fitness reflecting itself in a coordinated and balanced tri-part unity of mind, body and spirit.
I certainly agree that it is critical to perform Pilates exercises with correct technique in order to gain the benefits of doing them.
In a recent article The Diet And Beauty Secrets That Charlize Theron Lives By, Charlize admits to being a Pilates junkie, saying: “It’s totally changed my body.”
When it comes to physical activity and cheat days, she says: “I’m always calculating my activity. If I haven’t been moving a lot, I can’t eat a lot. Or maybe it’s a cheat day. But I’m honest with myself.”
My ability to do the exercise routine slowly but continuously improved from session to session. I was getting stronger. I was moving better, and my posture was improving. I was enjoying the feeling of wellbeing.