Many blogs (including our own) suggest that Pilates is good for this and good for that and good for pretty much everything. Well, the truth is that Pilates is good, actually great, for almost everything and is beneficial for everyone, particularly older clients. At MOSIC we have been absolutely privileged to work with several clients into their late 80’s whose weekly Pilates sessions have allowed them to live independently and with a self-reported increase in daily confidence.
We all live inside a different body. No two are exactly the same. Some are tall. Some short. They can be big- or small-boned. There are slow, heavy and fast-moving bodies. Toned and squishy bodies. Rather than pursuing a particular (and often unattainable) body type, the way to really explore our limits is to learn about our own particular type of body. The more we understand it, the more fun we can have with it!
Firstly, we need to identify the aspects of our bodies that don’t change, like the structure of our bones. A large-boned, seven-foot-tall person will remain tall their whole life, perhaps only shrinking a few centimetres in older age due to postural changes and normal disc height reduction.
But there are many other body traits that are changeable depending on how we live and what we do. The connectivity of our muscles, ligaments and tendons fit in to this category. Muscles have been described as the organs of the will – our mind can control them. We can use knowledge about the type of muscles we are born with to exploit this characteristic to make positive and lasting changes to them.
Some people’s muscles naturally hold a lot of tension. Others inherit muscles (and ligaments) that are more flexible and mobile – therapists often label them as hypermobile.
Have you ever joined a yoga class and wondered why you seem to be struggling more than the yogi next to you?
It might help to break the pose down into the elements required by each area of the body and work on them separately before putting it all together.
Here’s an example using the ‘extended side angle’ pose as performed by Pilates instructor Luisa Burgoyne.
As pictured below, this pose requires:
- left hip flexion
- right hip extension
- spine rotation right
- elevation of right shoulder
Having taught and practiced Pilates for around 8 years now, my body has always been rather consistent. Even when there’s a bit of tightness in my shoulders and neck or a slight twinge in my knee, my body has always felt reliable.
My pregnancy thus far has been quite smooth sailing (touch wood), with no morning sickness and only a little bit of fatigue. However, after hitting the 20 week mark with my baby bump beginning to take shape, a couple of new niggles have developed that my body wasn’t used to. The most prominent being a tightness in my coccyx (tailbone) and sit-bones (the two boney points that we sit on). These niggles were constant, whether standing, bending over or even just trying to find a comfortable position sitting on the couch.
Did you know that April 16–22 this year was Osteopathy Awareness Week? If you’ve made your way to this blog, then chances are you’re already aware of what Osteopathy is, however many people aren’t, with the practice being still relatively young – in Australia, at least.
Many people imagine that Osteopaths simply crack sore backs, but as you already know, they offer a lot more than this. The industry body, Osteopathy Australia, organises this annual campaign aimed at ‘encouraging the nation to investigate better ways to prevent and manage their pain’.
The campaign generated a fantastic response from the media, with extensive nationwide promotion through radio, online, print media and television, including our own Dr Shane Buntman, who was featured on Channel Ten News last month.
In this article from The Age, leafy suburbs close to Melbourne have been rated as the fittest in Victoria, as they comprise more residents who exercise than those who don’t.
Using data from Australia’s Health Tracker website, the article includes an interactive chart where you can compare exercise levels in your postcode across Victoria.
Falling pregnant is a magical time in a woman’s life but it can also be quite overwhelming. There is a huge amount of information to take in and a host of regular medical appointments to attend. A common misconception is that if you haven’t engaged in exercise pre-pregnancy, then it isn’t safe to start. This has recently been shown to be incorrect and current guidelines actually recommend pregnant women stay active, provided they have clearance from their doctor or obstetrician. After all, pregnancy is a normal condition and not an illness!
During the first trimester many women feel too unwell to participate in their regular exercise program. This is completely normal and it is very important to listen to your body during this time. With hormone levels fluctuating, a regular workout completed one day might feel almost impossible the next. By allowing your body to guide you, it will gradually become easier to keep exercising throughout your pregnancy.
Things to take into consideration during pregnancy:
At Melbourne Osteopathy Sports Injury Centre, we recognise the importance of physical activity in the workplace. We support Premier’s Active April for the many physical and psychological benefits that it promotes. With just a little extra effort, you can begin forming healthy long-term habits to keep active whilst managing a busy work schedule.
Try the ideas below – they won’t take up much extra time and can lead to some very positive health improvements:
- Choose stairs over the lift.
- Treat escalators like stairs.
- Try a walking meeting – this helps get the blood flowing and is great for generating ideas.
- Find a lunch time activity – Pilates, walking, yoga, etc.
- Encourage your workplace to start up lunchtime corporate health classes for your team. These are becoming very popular as they benefit individuals’ health and improve productivity for employers.
- Walk part of the way to work – even if it’s just an extra 15 minutes – it all adds up.
Premier’s Active April is all about encouraging Victorians to strive for 30 minutes of physical activity per day during the month of April.
At Melbourne Osteopathy Sports Injury Centre we understand how important it is for our clients and staff to keep active and moving. We especially encourage people to find an activity they enjoy doing when striving for Active April’s daily goal of 30 minutes of activity.
Although often overlooked, men sometimes need a bit of help keeping their bodies virile and supple, ready to carry out a variety of requests ranging from the testosterone-crazed, to family duties and just being an all-round top bloke. Pilates is an effective form of exercise training for many of these requirements.
Despite this, Pilates studios are more often frequented by women. This might be because some women are little more open-minded or perhaps just because boys prefer throwing heavy stuff around. When I first started utilising Pilates for rehabilitation at the age of 17, I was one of only a few men in the studio. However, this trend has been changing over the last decade with more and more men coming to classes and enjoying the benefits of what Pilates can offer.