Tag Archives: Pilates Method

RELIEVE YOUR BACK PAIN NOW

The bad news is that back pain will likely plague you at some point in your life, and probably more than once. The good news is there is a lot you can do to prevent, manage and relieve that pain. Heat and ice treatments work wonders and both bring easy, convenient, and fast relief.

WHEN TO HEAT AND ICE
You can treat any sprain/strain injuries with hot and cold packs because both help reduce muscle spasm and pain. There are differences in these temperature treatments though. Ice reduces blood flow thereby quieting swollen tissues. Heat, on the other hand, stimulates blood flow. The increased circulation brings more nutrients to the injured site and helps relax sore muscles.

At the first sign of an injury it’s recommended that you start with ice to calm the swelling. Ice the area for about 15 minutes then repeat the icing in about an hour. After 24-48 hours, move to heat treatments.

Note that alternating ice / heat is a general recommendation. Because both ice and heat are pain-relieving, do which ever makes you feel better. There’s no magic rule. Some people like to alternate hot/cold packs, while others prefer to stick one temperature.

PACKAGED AND DIY PRODUCTS
There are a lot of products on the market today that make hot/cold back therapy easy. They can be conveniently heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer. Look for those which are large and can be draped around an area. Some are specially made for the lower back and attach with Velcro much like weight belt.

No cold pack? A bag of frozen peas can do wonders in a pinch. Whatever your do, avoid putting ice directly on your skin, it’s irritating. Place ice cubes in a bag, wrap a towel around it and apply. Be patient. It takes a few minutes for the cold to come through. Likewise, you can heat up a moistened towel in the microwave for a comforting moist heat wrap. Again, take care when applying to skin. You may need a second towel wrapped around the first.

PREVENTING BACK PAIN
A strong healthy body with good core strength helps prevent back pain in the first place.  Pilates is all about the spine and among the best ways to keep your back healthy for life. There are some simple exercises to bring quick relief such as this easy to do anywhere anytime upper back release.

What’s SUP? Stand-Up Paddleboarding.

Stand-up paddleboarding that what’s up.  The sport is a combo of kayaking and surfing. You stand on a wide board and paddle your way through the water. Originally used by ancient Polynesian cultures, it’s been steadily making its way from Hawaii  as a great way to play on water and get a good workout too. Talk about balance and power, you’ll need that plus a sense of humor when you fall off. Read and see all about it here, at SUP magazine.

NEW CITY VIEW
Finally thawing out of the cold, cruel and LONG winter this year, we Chicagoans are every ready to get out and play.  Enjoy the city skyline in a whole new way, by jumping on a board.  Yeah, Lake Michigan can be choppy, but hey there are rivers too and some days all our waters are as calm as glass.  This outfitter will help you get started with gear and lessons.

A FESTIVAL AFLOAT
Up north, standup paddleboarding is exploding in popularity in Madison, Wisconsin.  This summer, industry leader SUP the Mag, is sponsoring the Midwest Standup Paddle Festival, a benefit for the UW Health Children’s Hospital and the Henry Vilas Zoo. It’s set for July 12 & 13, 2013 at Bishop’s Bay Country Club in Middleton, WI. The abundance of clean flatwater in the area plus the reputation Madison has for being such an active community led organizers to add Madison to its nationwide festival of events.  Madison is one of eight stops on their SUP America Tour.

STAY ON BOARD WITH CORE POWER
Your core muscles are like the glue that holds everything together while your arms push and pull you through the water. Lots of ways to keep that core strong as you move your limbs, and Pilates is one of the best ways to get in shape and stay in shape for all you do.  Great for post rehab and even better, Pilates is a highly efficient muscle balancing full workout that helps you avoid injuries in the first place. Good instructors can customize the workout for your specific sport.

Now go out and play!

Love,
JoAnn Milivojevic
Certified Pilates Instructor

Pilates Mat vs Machine, which is better?

Pilates was originally a one-on-one training system.  Today, most people are introduced to Pilates through mat classes.  There are benefits to both but to truly understand the work and gain the benefits; private sessions on the machines can’t be beat. The springs both support and challenge you.  Most of all, with good instruction, you’re taught how to work correctly. Just a few sessions will completely change your mat workout and bring better body awareness to all you do.

Here are just a few advantages to using Pilates machines:

  • Spring-based machines assist and challenge deep core muscles. Instructor ensures proper alignment and technique
  • Range of motion increased through machine assistance
  • Easier to find and develop the deep core muscles.  Machines and instructor help ensure you find them
  • Customized to your needs, fitness and goals

PILATES: THE ESSENCE

While there are variations among styles of Pilates, they all focus on developing strength and flexibility by stabilizing core muscles.   The work, whether mat or machine, is based on several key principles.  The emphasis is quality of over quantity of movement.  In other words, you can accomplish a lot in new concentrated repetition versus doing 500 mindless sloppy exercises.

  • Concentration – the mind and body connect to improve focus and awareness
  • Control – movements are neither jerky nor momentum based
  • Fluidity – exercises are fluid, not static or isolated, we move in space
  • Precision – each exercise has unique benefits which is gained through focusing on the details
  • Breath – full inhales and exhales help you contact your core, energize and revitalize your being
  • Oppositions – using opposing forces develops strength, awareness, and control

Pilates, whether mat or machine, will improve all you do. From yoga to kayaking to picking up groceries, the core is the foundation of all movement.  Pilates builds core strength, increases flexibility, and improves stamina, coordination, concentration and control.  All you need do is show up and enjoy your workout!