We all know that sitting for long periods of time makes us feel a bit stiff and often lethargic. But on top of the mushy abs, tight hips and saggy glutes, sitting too much can cause a bunch of complications too. Here's a summary. Of course, you can counter these by taking regular breaks, stretching, eating a healthy diet and exercising outside of work.
Acquiring and maintaining a supple, strong spine is crucial for the overall health of your body. The natural curves of the spine allow the best possible protection of the spinal cord, freedom for nerve impulses coming to and from the central nervous system as well as stability of the torso. However, our lifestyles often result in the spine collapsing or over extending in certain areas. Sitting at a computer all day can make the upper spine more "hunched", while a lack of awareness or wearing high heels can cause the lower back to become over extended (arched). Conversely, trying to over compensate by forcing the shoulders back can cause the upper spine to lose it's natural curve, creating a "flat" upper back. Rotation wise, we tend to get a bit stiff from not stretching in that direction. Same goes for side flexion.
In pilates we aim to move the spine in ALL directions during every session. This is one of the main reasons why people feel like that are standing taller and feel more "open" or positive when they leave.
Please check with a professional before doing these exercises if you have any back pathology or osteoporosis.
I originally made these sheets for my pilates clients. But almost everyone can do with some extra stretch in their muscles and joints. So here are some stretch sheets to help guide you. You can print them off and put them somewhere to remind you to stretch EVERY DAY. And now that the weather is warming on this side of the world, it's an excellent time to get into a routine of stretching. Remember, NEVER stretch when your cold. Warm up first. If you have injuries, check with a professional first about which stretches are best for you or should be avoided. You'll notice a big improvement in your flexibility if you do just 20 minutes a day.
Leg and hip stretches
I usually hold these stretches for a minute each. It is my understanding there is no evidence to say holding a stretch for more than a minute is any more beneficial. Perhaps you can start by holding them for 30 seconds and slowly work your way up. Work through the stretches twice in each session - you may find you get some extra range the second time you go through them.
In this issue, I talked to the New Zealand Fitness Magazine about shoulder rehab post dislocation.
- words by Anna Cochrane
Earlier this year, after a year off training in other disciplines and in the middle of rehabbing a dislocated shoulder, I started back at crossfit. I’ve found the knowledge from pilates has helped me with my crossfit training a lot. Not to say I don’t have as many "goats" as the next person – I do! But what about pilates can be transferred into your crossfit training? Let’s have a look at just a few of the fundamental principles of pilates and find out.
Anna is the founder and owner of Thrive Pilates in Wellington, NZ.
© 2013 fortheloveofit.org.nz. All rights reserved.