Stretching Techniques – Mobilise Those Joints!

Inside our joints we have synovial fluid that, once it is warm, works by lubricating the joints so they can move smoothly, effectively and comfortably. Just by moving our joints through their normal range of movement warms the fluid and prepares joints for exercise.

Before Exercise – Dynamic Stretching

This technique uses a controlled, soft bounce or swinging motion to move a body part to the limit of its range of movement.

You can increase the force of the movement but never allow it to become uncontrolled!  Examples of this type of stretching include; free standing squats, arm circles or practicing a resistance exercise without the weight. This type of stretching is also very valuable during exercise.

After Training – Static or PNF Stretching

Static Stretching

This is done by placing the body into a position in which the muscle or muscle groups are stretched under tension.  Move the body slowly and gently to increase the tension, then hold for 30 seconds.

PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) Stretching

This stretching is highly effective for increasing flexibility. It involves both stretching and contracting of a muscle or muscle group. As well as improving flexibility it develops muscular strength.

First you need a partner. Placing the muscle under tension at its maximum stretch, you then contract the muscle for 5 to 10 seconds while your partner applies enough resistance to inhibit movement. After you relax your partner applies a controlled stretch for 20 to 30 seconds before repeating the contraction phase. You can repeat this 2-4 times.
Mark Foster
Stretching Techniques – Mobilise Those Joints!
A Health Tip from Mark Foster

Viennese Waltz

Our new dance for November is the Viennese Waltz to Avril Lavigne’s I’m With You.

What is now called the Viennese Waltz is the original form of the waltz. It was the first ballroom dance performed in the closed hold or “waltz” position. The dance that is popularly known as the waltz is actually the English or slow waltz, danced at roughly half the speed.

The Viennese Waltz is a circular moving dance, which spins around the dance floor. It has natural turns (to the right), reverse turns (to the left), the fleckerl (a stationary turn), and the classic contra check which allows the couple to stop and change direction.

Our FitSteps version is danced without all the turns, so you won’t get dizzy, but there is a lovely feeling of float and sway.

View Pixie Lott and Trent Whiddon’s Viennese Waltz to Tulips from Amsterdam, which scored 38 on Strictly 2014.

Refer yourself for physiotherapy

Did you know that you can refer yourself for physiotherapy?

Allied Health Professionals (AHP) Suffolk provides an out-patient community  Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Service (MSK) and Back and Neck Service (BaNS) across Suffolk. The company’s primary commissioner is NHS Suffolk and there are contracts for MSK services with neighbouring Primary Care Trusts NHS Cambridgeshire and NHS Norfolk.

To refer yourself, complete the online form or phone 01483 770066.

New Pilates App

Lynne Robinson co-founder of Body Control Pilates has created a new Pilates App. It offers a programme of exercises that can make a real difference to the way you live your life, promoting better posture, balance, strength and flexibility. It is available on both Apple and Android platforms and you can get started for just £0.69! Highlights include:

• Over 60 mins of video, exercises and instruction
• Contains a 30 day core challenge via push notification
• Compare your own alignment and posture in app

It’s never too late to get fit

Lynne Robinson, co-founder of Body Control Pilates describes how Pilates helps her remain fit as she gets older. She is seeing the benefits in having plenty of strength and flexibility to meet the demands of looking after her new granddaughter. Read the full article in the Daily Express.

Recycling Revolution

This is nothing to do with Pilates, but the news that you can now put glass bottles and jars in your black recycling bin, caused quite a stir at last night’s class!  In fact, from 1st October, Norfolk households have been able to recycle a much wider range of materials. See Your Norfolk magazine for more information or the Breckland Council website.



Our new dance for October is the Salsa to the Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody.

The salsa originated in New York in the 1970s and evolved from earlier dances including cha cha, mambo and merengue. It should be saucy, sexy and spicy – just like hot sauce!

If you haven’t been following Strictly, then check out this salsa by Jake and Janette, which scored 35. Craig’s verdict “W-O-W”!

Three exercises for necks

Before starting, please see this disclaimer.

The exercises

Start by lying in your back with your legs bent, your arms resting by your sides and your head supported by a cushion.

Neck Rolls (to mobilise your neck) – gently roll your neck as far as you can from side to side – 6 reps

Chick tucks (to strengthen your deep neck flexors) – tuck your chin towards your throat and then push the back of your head firmly into the cushion – 6 reps

Figures of Eight (to mobilise your neck) – draw a small figure of eight in the air with your nose – 6 reps, then turn the ‘eight’ on its side and repeat – 6 reps

Exercise Recovery

After a tough workout or FitSteps® class, resting may seem like a great way to recover.  However, studies have shown that this is not the best way to recover from an intense workout – Active Recovery is what you want!

Active Recovery means engaging in low intensity exercise after workouts.  This also means on the days following intense workouts.

By doing, this you encourage recovery and reduce muscle lactate levels faster than your body does at rest.  Low intensity activity assists blood circulation, which in turn helps remove lactic acid from the muscle.

And low intensity means LOW INTENSITY!  Around 20-30% of your maximum output.

Injuries and sprains

Injuries can occur even in top class athletes.  You must always take every precaution possible to ensure this does not happen.  However if an injury or sprain does occur, you can follow this technique known as RICE!

R – Rest the injury or sprain, making sure the muscle and surrounding muscles are in a relaxed state.

I – Ice.  A suitable ice pack or even a small bag of frozen food will do.  Make sure you wrap it with towel or clothing, never place directly on your skin.

C – Compression.  Putting pressure on the injury with the ice pack.  This may be easier to do by wrapping the area with a belt or tape.

E – Elevate the limb and ensure the muscle is relaxed.

Applying something cold to the injury site provides short-term pain relief.  It also limits swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area.

Keep in mind, though, that you should never leave ice on an injury for more than 15-20 minutes at a time.  Longer exposure can damage your skin.  The best rule is to apply cold compresses for 15 minutes and then leave them off for at least 20 minutes.

Mark Foster
Exercise Recovery
A Health Tip from Mark Foster