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The Importance of the Pilates Method for Children

Rachel Fitness, Lifestyle, News, Pilates, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , ,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the following article on learning healthy habits at an early age / Pilates for kids written by Javier Bceiso Blanco of Body Arts and Science International (BASI) in Spain (there is even a photo of him / student in action) –

 

It is critically important to begin instilling healthy habits at an early age. That is probably how  I would sum up everything I have learned as a teacher and as a father.

I have worked with children for 15 years, and observing their physical, mental and spiritual development has been one of the great joys of my life. For me, the Pilates method has proven itself beyond any doubt as an essential aid in the development of children into socially-integrated adults with full physical and mental skills.

It’s a fact that the brain needs to lean on the physical self as it develops a solid basis for cognitive abilities. An example is the child’s use of the fingers when learning to count.  At the same time, a healthy mind-body connection contributes to less tangible, but just as important, skills, including open-mindedness, receptiveness to people and healthy habits of discipline. These, together with a strong pedagogical environment and a healthy family environment, create those important educational values which, unfortunately, seem to be on the wane nowadays.

Pilates is just as important for healthy children as it is for those with motor issues. For the latter, it assists in balancing the imbalances caused by their injuries, improving their muscular tone and building coordination, balance, breathing, ROM (range of movement), flexibility, strength and endurance – all of which are just as important for the healthy child. And, of course, all children need to understand their own bodies and develop self-awareness, control, concentration and discipline. Pilates helps every child avoid the modern evils of a sedentary life and obesity – along with all the problems that they entail.

Physical Education and sports as currently taught at school do not cover all the physical and mental dimensions that are necessary for childhood development. And, in many cases, schools reduce the time spent on these activities is favor of more “academic” subjects. At the same time, the US National Association of Physical Education has estimated that 300,000 people die every year due to deficient physical activity and bad diet. This number exceeds the number of people who die as a result of infections, car crashes and substance abuse.

This is the background to BASI’s Pilates for Kids: Healthy Development workshop, which integrates the Pilates method as an extracurricular tool in order to complete the physical education provided in school and to instill healthy habits into young bodies and minds.

The workshop focuses less on education (or re-education) than on maintenance. Children have a natural, inborn movement instinct which automatically reinforces their musculature and, in most cases prevents them from experiencing serious injury. The objective of the workshop is to strengthen and guide this instinct; to prevent it from falling into disuse, which is what happens with most adults.

The program is adaptable to all children and all phases of development, from psycho-motor development at an early age, which enables the child to acquire balance and coordination, through the development of elastic qualities and muscular strength to the development of coordination, fine skills, aerobic capabilities and, finally, maximum muscular strength.

It is important to emphasize that Pilates practice at an early age will avoid – or reduce – potential musculo-skeletal problems in childhood or in later life, as a consequence of bad posture, lack of flexibility, inadequate muscular tone, wrong breathing and bad joint mobility.

If parents and educators were aware of the importance of instilling healthy habits from childhood, many common adult diseases could be avoided. As Dr. Valentin Fuster writes in this book The Health Science “heart attacks suffered from the age of 45 begin to develop in childhood. Between 70% and 90% of the time, they are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle acquired since childhood”.

Pilates for Kids: Healthy Development teaches Pilates professionals to both build programs for children throughout the developmental cycle and to lead them through the process of acquiring discipline and healthy habits in a fun and healthy way.

Learn more about the BASI Pilates for Kids: Healthy development workshop.

 


Healthy Computer Habits

Rachel Fitness, Lifestyle, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , ,

Generally, we associate injury with movement, overexertion, and other ACTIVE endeavors.  But we can get repetitive stress injuries and other very uncomfortable problems and syndromes simply by sitting still (or relatively still) at a desk!  Improper movement patterns, over time, lead to many physical ailments such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and a lack of motion leads to muscle atrophy; weak muscles are that much more likely to end up compromised!

Whether it be a screen height issue, a mousing problem, postural issues, and more, unhealthy computer habits can doom a person while healthy habits lead to a more comfortable work day and, by extension, a happier life.

You can make simple adjustments to remedy these issues.  Read up on solutions…we can never be too educated!

 


BASI Pilates

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For anyone out there considering becoming a Pilates instructor, Body Arts and Science International (BASI) Pilates is the best teacher training program, hands down.  Although trained through and certified by BASI since early 2009, my experience spending the weekend going through part of the original certification (the part focused on teaching and working with clients) but taught through a new voice was an invaluable and hugely exciting opportunity.  To work with Rael Isacowitz, founder of BASI Pilates and renowned practitioner, was such a blessing; so much information can be gleaned from someone with his talent and expertise.

For information on BASI certification, check out their Teacher Training Programs!

For information on Rael Isacowitz (I think I am a little bit in love now…well enamored anyway) click here!

Learning new teaching techniques and feeling re-invigorated and inspired to bring health and functional fitness via Pilates to clients is exciting!  Upcoming mat and reformer clients be prepared to have your worlds rocked!

Wanna try it yourself?  Contact us today!


Get Great Exercise Running Stairs!

Rachel Fitness, Lifestyle Leave a comment   , , , , , , , ,

Portland OR is home to some great urban staircases…the best of which is located in Mt. Tabor Park.  This 280-stair monstrosity is like a playground for those of us who love to feel the burn, torch calories, release a tidal wave of endorphins, and generally have fun (athletic fun).  At any time of the day there are people slowly strolling up the stairs and avid fitness enthusiasts running up and down as fast as possible without tripping.  Either way, it is both FREE and REALLY GOOD FOR YOU.

Check out this article outlining all of the exercise (and more) opportunities in Mt. Tabor Park.  Then walk, run, skip, hop, jump or bike (or drive if you live across town but love this park despite the drive) there as soon as possible to begin spring training!

 

 

 

 

 

Runner up Portland staircases:

  • Large staircase off of 12th Ave in Downtown, by Portland State University and into Goose Hollow.
  • Staircase off of NW Cornell (a little hard to find, off of a neighborhood street) as you head up towards Pittock Mansion.

Tipping Trainers

Rachel Fitness, Lifestyle, Money, Pilates, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , ,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tipping etiquette is a touchy and debatable topic, but the question of tipping personal trainers, Yoga & Pilates instructors, etc. is an issue worth addressing.

While tipping is technically never required, it is something we do to express gratitude for a job well done, and ultimately it is an engrained part of American culture (others as well, to greater and lesser extent).  Overall Americans are generous tippers.

It is standard to tip hair stylists, massage therapists, aestheticians, and other one-on-one service providers between 15% and 20%.  These service providers have undergone special training and are creating a (hopefully) positive experience that clients both want and need.  When it comes to trainers, private exercise instructors and the likes, in theory it should be no different.  Once again this is a specialized individual whom, at least in the case of a comprehensively trained Pilates instructor, has spent many hundreds of hours learning and honing his or her skill set.  A private session is taking place, and individualized attention to specific needs, conditions, concerns, and more are factoring into the interaction.

If you think about it, physical trainers are facilitating physical wellness; from a physiological, purely medical perspective this is very important to living a long, healthy life.  Indeed haircuts and facials are important and beloved services, but someone could suffer from serious and life-threatening conditions and find help through something like Pilates or Yoga (burn fat, build muscle); no one ever died from not enough hair cuts or too few massages.  Having said that, one would think a client would LOVE tipping the health instructor who is making life more livable.

It is also important to consider things like rental space and other costs that instructors incur.  Just like many hair stylists split their earnings with the salon, instructors give a (sometimes very large) percentage of earnings to the studio they use.  Or, if employed by a studio, work at a rate that is often far less than is paid by the customer.

Bottom line, as a society we are not conditioned to tip trainers in the same way as we are hair stylist, massage therapists, etc. and yet these services fall within similar categories.   If you see an instructor 3 times a week a smaller tip is certainly understandable, but overall a Pilates or Yoga instructor or Personal Trainer working in a private setting (versus a big box gym with certain policies) should be viewed like a ‘body’ stylist and tipped accordingly.  Remember, personal exercise instructors/trainers are not dieticians or acupuncturists; those are medical providers and often are dealt with and paid for by insurance companies.

Next time you take a private Pilates or Yoga lesson for $70 consider giving the instructor $10 -$15.  Of course there is no need to tip in group classes – the point is to express gratitude for a customized, individual service.

 

 


Installment 10 of 10 ‘Benefits of Pilates’

Rachel Fitness, Lifestyle, Pilates, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , ,

10. There are Many Ways to Learn Pilates

Pilates instruction is easy to come by these days. The ever-growing popularity of Pilates has put it on the map all over the world. This is good because when you start Pilates training, it is important to start with live Pilates instruction at a studio or gym, and from a certified instructor. But there are lots of ways to supplement your learning once you get going. You can practice at home and you don’t need one bit of fancy equipment, just comfy clothes and a mat.

The ‘learning from a certified instructor’ piece is key.  Because Pilates is not a regulated field with uniform certification requirements (like massage or acupuncture) it is important to check into the kind of certification your instructor has.  Someone could take a weekend course and call herself a certified instructor; more appropriately, your instructor will have taken a lengthy comprehensive course full of hundreds of personal practice, observation, and practice teaching hours.  All told, the Body Arts and Science International certification undertaken by yours truly required well over 500 hours of practice/teaching/observation/class time/studying in order to become properly and comprehensively certified in mat and all equipment-based Pilates.

As with anything, do your homework before you get going on a new exercise regimen.  Or just make your life easy and fill out our contact form and come see us!

 


Installment 9 of 10 ‘Benefits of Pilates’

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9. Increases Awareness – Body/Mind Connection

Joseph Pilates was adamant that Pilates, or Contrology as he called it, was about “the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit.” This is one of the secrets of Pilates exercise: we practice each movement with total attention. When we exercise in this way, the body and mind unite to bring forth the most benefit possible from each exercise. The Pilates principles — centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow — are key concepts that we use to integrate body and mind.

One of the things that almost always happens in a Pilates class is that students move too quickly through the exercises.  Even as instructors count to keep a pace or flow for the class, people speed up even without realizing it.  What do we get when we speed up?  Yes, that’s right, momentum.  While momentum might make exercises seem easier, using propulsion to get up off the floor or swing our legs behind us, speed degrades the quality of movement. Some of the most difficult Pilates moves are so because they are done slowly, with precision.  As a Pilates instructor, if I had to choose one principle on which to build my Pilates practice, it would be precision.

Make Joseph Pilates (see below) proud…and execute your movements with precision and concentration in order to build beautiful, strong and lean bodies!


Installment 8 of 10 ‘Benefits of Pilates’

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8. Promotes Weight Loss and Long, Lean Appearance

If you practice Pilates regularly, it will change your body. Known for creating long, strong muscles and a leaner look; Pilates improves muscle tone, balances musculature, supports beautiful posture, and teaches you to move with ease and grace. All of these things will make you look and feel very fit.

If you want to lose weight, the formula for weight loss remains the same: Burn more calories than you take in. As a full-body fitness method, Pilates help will help you do that. Combined with aerobic activity, Pilates becomes a prime weight loss and body toning tool.

The simple fact is this: muscles burns twice as many calories as fat.  Pound per pound, a body with more muscle mass is far more efficient than one composed of more fat.  Since Pilates is primarily a strength-training regimen designed to build long, lean muscles, this is the routine for someone who wants to shed fat and look svelte!


Installment 3 of 10 ‘Benefits of Pilates’

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It is time to learn point 3 of 10 in the top 10 reasons to maintain a Pilates Practice:

3. Creates Strength Without Bulk

Long, lean muscles are the name of the game here. In Pilates, we are not looking to build muscles for show. We are building toned muscles that work perfectly within the context of the body as a whole, and the functional fitnessneeds of a person as they move through life.One of the ways that Pilates creates long, strong muscles is by taking advantage of a type of muscle contraction called an eccentric contraction.

By the way, eccentric contractions take place when one lengthens the muscle (versus shortening a muscle during a concentric contraction) while resisting a movement.  For example, the inward phase of a bicep curl, as the hand bends in towards the shoulder, is a concentric contraction; however, when one resists the return, slowly lengthening the arm back out, an eccentric contraction takes place. The muscle is being used and building strength yet growing longer at the same time.  Since so much of Pilates is about resistance, it is a discipline where the ‘eccentric contraction cup’ runneth over.  Pilates effectively develops long, lean muscles because of this very emphasis on the lengthening stage, or eccentric portion, of muscle contraction!
Come back to learn about benefit 4 of 10 tomorrow!

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