Pilates Woodford

10 top tips to stick with your Pilates exercise plan

  • Photo 11-03-2012 15 20 04

Even though a holistic fitness approach like Pilates is relaxing and stress-relieving, there are times when your motivation might dip. Rather than give up on your routine, use these 10 tips to stick with your Pilates regimen and reap the full benefits:

Commit to the benefits regular exercise will bestow

Whenever you feel tempted to ditch your exercise routine, remind yourself of the many physical benefits you will reap with continued practice. Pilates develops beautiful, toned muscles and will help you build a stronger, pain-free back. You will be suppler and more toned if you stick to your exercise plan.

Consciously choose a more active lifestyle

If you constantly make active choices, it will be easier to exercise even on the days when motivation dips. If you have a choice between the elevator or stairs, take the stairs. At every opportunity, reassert your commitment to a healthier body and life.

Make exercise a vital component of your weekly routine

We schedule many non-negotiable appointments regularly. You can’t easily side-step a surgery or an important family occasion. Give your weekly Pilates routine that same dedication and commitment. Schedule exercise time that nothing else can take over

Maintain a can-do, positive outlook

The first step wrong when people abandon their exercise plans is saying ‘I can’t’. There is great power in the words ‘I choose’. Instead of thinking ‘I have to do my Pilates exercises if I want to strengthen my posture and back’, think ‘I choose to do my Pilates exercises because it will be wonderful to have improved physical health.’

Don’t only maintain good posture during exercises

Good form in Pilates is essential to getting the maximum benefit out of exercises. Don’t only maintain correct posture during your routine. Remember to maintain a good posture that places the least possible strain on your lower back when you are out of the studio too. This constant mindfulness will keep you focused on attaining physical fitness and wellbeing.

Strike a balance between exercise and rest

Although it can be good to push yourself gently, remember to balance your Pilates regimen with rest. Give your muscles time to recover when they need to. This will help prevent injury through overwork.

Commit to doing some movement every day, even if it’s one exercise series

To stay focused and make exercise a natural part of your week, it helps to do some extended movement every day. Even if you don’t have enough free time, do just one exercise or one short series daily. It will become second nature quickly.

Practice being present and mindful in every movement

One of the benefits of Pilates is that it can acquire a meditative quality if you are truly present and focused on every movement. Make sure every time you do your exercises that you do not let your mind wander to stresses and background mental chatter. Giving your routine this degree of focus will increase your enjoyment and commitment

Be patient with yourself and your progress

It’s easy to become despondent and feel defeated if you put pressure on yourself to make rapid progress. As with learning the ropes in any new fitness regime, it takes time to become adept at Pilates. Be patient with yourself and set achievable targets for how much you will do each session

Be realistic about what Pilates will achieve

It will be tempting to abandon your exercise routine if you have unrealistic expectations of Pilates. If you already have chronic back pain, for example, your instructor will need to carefully select remedial exercises and will make sure you don’t overdo it. Slow progress is progress, however, and a long-term remedial exercise plan can give you greater flexibility and will alleviate – and potentially even eliminate – chronic pain.

Interested in starting Pilates? Contact Belinda today to find out about class times and other details.

10 mistakes you should never make in Pilates class

  • BM066

Pilates is a great way to introduce a holistic fitness system to your weekly regimen, but if you’re a newcomer there are mistakes that are all too easy to make. Here are 10 mistakes you should never make in a Pilates class:

  1. Bracing instead of breathing

Good breathing is fundamental to good Pilates practice. Breathing well gives stamina and support and helps you to engage your core muscle group correctly so that each movement carries the lowest possible chance of injury.

  1. Forgetting your alignment

Your alignment – the position and coordination of your spine, limbs, and muscles, is crucial for physical wellbeing and good back health. In Pilates class, remember to be aware of and maintain good alignment throughout each move, both upon beginning and completing.

  1. Overusing pelvic muscles when they aren’t needed

Although the pelvic floor helps to support you through abdominal exercises, it’s possible to cause injury by overworking this key muscle group. Be careful that you only engage your Pelvic floor as much as necessary to complete each movement.

  1. Forgetting to engage your actual core

The core – the series of muscles extending from your back to your abs and pelvis – helps you to carry out physical activities with stability and strength. In Pilates class, focus on learning to engage your whole core so that you are not placing undue pressure on one particular muscle group.

  1. Doing your favourite moves instead of what your body needs

We all have favourite moves and exercises in Pilates, but remember to be balanced and to do all the exercises your body needs. If you only focus on a favourite, this could lead to counter-productive muscle strain.

  1. Making powerful rather than effortless movements

Once you have a strong core, your movements will naturally be stronger and more powerful, underwritten by strong core structure. But to get there you need to practice movements that bring you the maximum result without excessive effort. The straining effort could cause injury.

  1. Being competitive with your neighbour

Because of its athletic and adrenalin-boosting nature, a fitness method can make us feel competitive in group environments. Yet being competitive with your neighbour can distract you from engaging muscles correctly, and may lead you to over-extend. Instead, focus on improving your form and matching your own personal bests.

  1. Rushing each movement

Measured and graceful movements are core to good Pilates practice. It is far preferable to complete each movement with good form than rush and not experience the full benefit of each movement.

9. Creating unnecessary neck tension

 

A stiff and tense neck can become painful and cause further tension down the spine that is bad for your back. When you perform ab exercises in Pilates class, take care not to hold your neck at an awkward angle or use your neck muscles to lift your back off the mat.

  1. Leaving your Pilates learnings in the classroom

Pilates equips you with core and back-strengthening exercises you can perform at home with a mat and supports but remember to take every lesson you learn in class with you for in-home practice. If possible, find a floor length mirror that will let you see that you keep good form.

Want to get going with a holistic fitness approach this summer? Find out more about Belinda’s Pilates classes now.

5 myths about lower back pain and Pilates dispelled

  • BackCareFullLogo

The majority of adults will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain can be highly distressing, and if left to worsen can result in conditions such as bulging discs that are even more painful. Pilates has long been used to alleviate lower back pain. Yet there are many sources of misinformation about the holistic fitness system. Here are 5 common myths about Pilates and lower back pain and why they are untrue:

Myth 1 Pilates will worsen your back pain

Pilates, like any good exercise approach, is scalable. This means you can adjust your routine according to where your body is currently at. A qualified, careful Pilate’s instructor will not push you beyond what is safe for your back’s current state.

  • In order to make sure that you don’t inadvertently worsen your back pain while doing Pilates:
  • Communicate your current degree of back pain to your instructor
  • Immediately inform your instructor if any exercise feels too uncomfortable or if any exercise causes a spike in pain
  • Provided that you place yourself in good hands, Pilates should not worsen your back pain.

Myth 2 Pilates will cure all your aches and pains

  • Pilates is a means to an end rather than a panacea. Over time, with diligent practice, you will discover greater flexibility, ease-of-movement, and reduced back pain. This takes some commitment for the full benefits to be felt.

Myth 3 Pilates can cure back injuries

  • Pilates is an effective system for strengthening your core muscles and building a stronger, better aligned back with better posture. These elements will help you to avoid future back injuries, but if your back is currently in a bad way it is important to take any necessary resting time before commencing or returning to Pilates classes.

Myth 4 Pilates is not as effective as painkiller medication for alleviating back pain

  • The problem with taking painkillers is that they target the symptoms rather than the underlying problem itself. Pilates will help you to strengthen your back so that you won’t need to take painkillers as often in the future.

Myth 5 You need special equipment to strengthen your lower back with Pilates

  • Although your instructor will likely use specialised Pilates fitness equipment with you during your sessions, your instructor can also show you mat exercises that will strengthen your lower back.

Pilates is not a panacea for back injuries, but if you attend sessions with a qualified practitioner, communicate clearly with your instructor and don’t push yourself beyond your limits, you will reap the full rewards of improved core strength and a stronger, aligned and flexible back.

Want to build a healthier back? Contact Belinda today to find out more about a group or private Pilates classes.

5 benefits of Pilates for alleviating lower back pain

  • backcare-professional

5 benefits of Pilates for alleviating lower back pain

Lower back pain affects the majority of people – Arthritis Research UK suggests 4 out of 5 people – at one or another stage of life. Lower back pain can have multiple causes, from accidents sustained due to poor core strength to poor posture. Pilates is a holistic, therapeutic fitness system devised to strengthen tone and make the body more supple. When you perform the correct exercises, it also alleviates lower back pain.

How does Pilates relieve lower back pain?

The movement equipment and exercises that form the core of Pilates practice have been developed over decades. During this time, practitioners and health organizations have discovered that Pilates eases lower back pain and offers multiple benefits. The benefits of regular Pilates practice for those afflicted with back pain include:

  1. Unlocking lower back muscles

Pilates exercises such as bridge roll-ups work to loosen muscles in the lower back, while also increasing back strength and stability. Besides easing back pain, Pilates strengthens the entire back, producing lasting benefits.

  1. Improving posture

Keeping sub-optimal posture over long periods of time produces additional wear and tear on the spine and places undue pressure on the lower back. Pilates exercises systematically develop core muscle groups that support good posture. This relieves weight on the lower back, easing discomfort.

  1. Bringing the spine into better alignment

Spinal alignment is core to having good posture and weight carried evenly throughout the back. Performing the right Pilates exercises aligns the spine better through proper spine sequencing.

  1. Personalised back correction

 One of the major benefits of Pilates practice is that sessions can be scaled and adapted to individual Pilates users’ needs. Your lower back pain is specific to your own posture and other contributing factors, and your Pilates instructor can tailor your exercise plan to achieve the best possible results for your back.

  1. Increasing overall flexibility and strength

Because Pilates is holistic, it works the entire body, toning and increasing flexibility and strength. Balanced distribution of muscle tone and strength means that the lower back is not over-burdened and holding onto tension, tension that would otherwise lead to injury.

Are you ready to build a back for life? Contact Belinda today to find out more about classes.

Pilates for Beginners: 5 Facts about the Holistic Fitness Approach

  • If you currently are not experiencing any non-specific lower back pain, you might prefer to join Envigour Pilates’ ‘healthy back’ class. This is the perfect option for anyone who would like to build and maintain the mobility and strength necessary for ongoing back health.

Pilates is a holistic fitness system, meaning that it works with mind and body rather than simply targeting a single area of physique. If you are new to Pilates, you will discover the toning, muscle-loosening and other benefits of sustained Pilates practice. Here are 5 facts about Pilates that will clarify its uses and benefits:

  1. Pilates helps to develop your core

The core is the complex system of muscles beneath the exterior, superficial muscles that are usually the target of gym training. The core acts as a stabilizing and force transfer centre rather than being the generating source of movement (unlike the arms and legs) so it helps to absorb shocks and keep the muscles of the body working seamlessly in support of each movement. Developing your core is important for several reasons:

  • It promotes good posture
  • A stronger core lowers your risk of physical injury
  • A stronger core allows more efficient movement
  1. Pilates enhances flexibility

Like yoga, Pilates makes use of sequences of exercises which work different muscle groups. Because stretching is a pivotal component of Pilates exercises, the system helps to promote flexibility, keeping you suppler.

  1. Pilates eases back pain

Back pain is most commonly linked to poor posture and weak core strength. Pilates uses tested exercises to build core and back strength, redistributing the way you carry your weight. Besides alleviating pain, the system helps to build a healthy back that will stand you in good stead for life.

  1. Pilates assists mental relaxation

Besides the numerous physical benefits of Pilates, it also offer mental health benefits. The focused movements performed in a Pilates session still anxiety and help you to relax fully. You can also tailor your regimen to perform only the gentler, most relaxing exercises if necessary.

  1. Pilates develops long, lean muscle

Some exercise approaches that use high repetition and burst movements develop shorter muscles that are easily injured. This is not the case with Pilates. The fitness system develops long, lean muscles. This makes the musculature of the body more flexible and efficient at supporting physical activity. If you’re ready to schedule your first Pilates class, call Belinda today.

 

 

Pilates – A Beginners Guide

  • If you currently are not experiencing any non-specific lower back pain, you might prefer to join Envigour Pilates’ ‘healthy back’ class. This is the perfect option for anyone who would like to build and maintain the mobility and strength necessary for ongoing back health.

Acquiring a strong core and optimal posture are two investments in your health that will last a lifetime. Pilates is a holistic fitness approach that unites mind and body in creating physical and inner strength and resilience. Read this guide to learn more about Pilates: Its origins, purpose, and many benefits:

What is Pilates?

Pilates is an adaptable fitness approach combining the use of specialised equipment with carefully calibrated movements. The system was founded by Joseph Pilates, a performer and boxer who was interned in a camp in Lancaster, England during the First World War.

Pilates helped others in the camp stay fit with a collection of exercises he developed himself. It was while appointed as a nurse and caretaker of other prisoners of war in later years that Pilates honed his fitness method. He incorporated exercise equipment that used resistance to facilitate movement and physical rehabilitation.

I’m new to Pilates – why should I join a class?

The purpose of Pilates is to harness natural, controlled movement and promote flexibility, toning and increased strength. Pilates is especially useful for older people, since it can be adjusted to the fitness levels and capabilities of different age groups and fitness levels.

Pilates helps to promote healthy breathing or breath control, promoting optimal use of oxygen. Mindful breathing is crucial for both physical health and mental relaxation. Pilates increases body awareness too. This is one of the many reasons why it was widely adopted in the dance world and continues to be an important component of professional dance training.

You may wish to join a Pilates class if you:

  • Experience frequent back pain
  • Have poor posture
  • Are unfit
  • Breathe shallowly
  • Have poor coordination

These are just some of the reasons why many people choose to do Pilates.

What are the core benefits of Pilates?

The benefits of regular Pilates are numerous:

  • Increased lung capacity and better circulation through optimal breathing
  • Greater physical strength and flexibility, particularly in the abdomen and lower back
  • Enhanced coordination and body awareness
  • Improved bone density and joint health
  • Healthy uniting of the mind and body through focused movement

If you’re ready to experience the many health benefits of Pilates, join a class today.

 

 

Pilates: The best exercise for mums-to-be

  • images

Women’s bodies respond differently to pregnancy: Some mums-to-be gain weight all over while some only show a baby bump until much later in the pregnancy. Whatever your body type, however, Pilates is ideal if you’re a mum-to-be and want a gentle fitness approach that will not pose risks for the foetus.

Why should women practice Pilates for pregnancy? Ideally, one should start with Pilates even before pregnancy. Having built up a strong core means better posture and fitness. Many women, especially of slighter builds, experience back pain as a result of the extra weight carried both during and post-pregnancy. Pilates is a fitness method that helps to ensure you a sound back for life. Additional benefits for mums-to-be include:

  • Strengthening stomach muscles (which assists in supporting the extra weight as baby grows)
  • Reducing back pain – especially important since you will be lifting and carrying baby post-birth
  • Relaxation and controlling your breathing – both will help to ensure a smoother delivery

Is it safe to practice Pilates during pregnancy? Understandably, safety and avoiding personal injury or injury to the unborn is one of the largest concerns amongst pregnant women who consider joining Pilates classes. Pilates movements are typically gentle and highly controlled. However, to ensure maximum safety during pregnancy, only:

  • Take classes with a licensed professional who conducts classes for pregnant women
  • Do Pilates once you have informed your instructor you’re pregnant and how far advanced you are – this will help your instructor tailor exercises to your current state
  • Do Pilates as long as there is no pain – if you experience any pain or discomfort, stop immediately and consult your doctor before you continue with classes

Pregnancy is a joyous time that is filled with new developments. Make sure that you enjoy it to the fullest and safeguard your physical strength and health by joining a Pilates class that is matched to where you are in the pregnancy cycle.

 

5 reasons to do Pilates for a comfortable pregnancy and delivery

  • Wunda Chair

Pilates has many health benefits, including strengthening your core and alleviating back pain. There are multiple benefits besides pain management. Here are 5 reasons to use Pilates so you can enjoy a more comfortable, less stressful pregnancy and delivery:

  1. Pilates builds core strength and tons abdominal and pelvic muscles

Whether you have had children before or not, giving birth can be uncomfortable if you are not in the ideal physical shape for it. Having stronger pelvic muscles will help you to give birth more smoothly.

  1. Pilates will boost your mood and energy levels

Mood swings are a natural part of life, but many women report particularly high moodiness along with flagging energy levels during pregnancy. The gentleness of Pilates means that you can get exercise without any risk to baby, provided that you are careful, use a trained instructor and follow all guidance.

  1. Pilates is adaptable

Many mums to be don’t want to lose fitness due to a long, more sedentary pregnancy and Pilates is the ideal way to stay fit. Because exercises are adaptable you can do just as much as you can manage without hazarding your or baby’s health. A Pilates instructor experienced in teaching pregnant women can advise you when to stop exercising and how best to exercise safely.

  1. It helps you gain better breath control

With the diaphragm compressing as baby grows, many moms to be find themselves more regularly short of breath. The core intercostal muscles get a work out thanks to Pilates, and this makes it easier for pregnant practitioners to breathe. Deep breathing is also important for focus and taking your mind off pain during delivery.

  1. You can get back to your pre-pregnancy physique faster

Many mums are concerned that their bodies will ‘never be the same’ post-pregnancy. Maybe this is so, but with Pilates your body can be even better than before. Weight gained during pregnancy can be slow to lose, but as you become more flexible you can increase how challenging your Pilates programme is. This will help you get back into shape when you are ready.

Are you ready to learn the health-giving techniques of Pilates? Contact Belinda today to book your first class.

All new Envigour Pilates website: Your home for all things Pilates

  • Photo 12-11-2015 10 13 41

This week we’re excited to tell you that the all-new Envigour Pilates website is live. Pilates is all about creating a strong core and building health, wellness and flexibility on this solid foundation. The new home of Envigour has been designed around its own core, one of clean, efficient design. It’s now easier to find your way around the site. Envigour Pilates will keep you updated with all of the latest exciting Pilates news and will keep your informed with helpful health and fitness blog posts.

The Passion behind Envigour Pilates – Belinda Moss

Envigour Pilates is run by Belinda Moss, qualified master Pilates instructor and Reiki teacher. Belinda is passionate about fitness, health and wellness. At Envigour, she helps clients reach greater well-being. Belinda is highly experienced in training Pilates lovers using all of the most advanced technology in the industry, and is also certified in practicing scientific techniques that ease lower back pain. In both group and private lessons, Belinda applies the knowledge she has acquired (and continues to acquire by attending workshops) to help Pilates learners enjoy increased well-being.

What is Pilates and why is it so good?

Pilates originated in a fitness program developed by Joseph Pilates, A German man who was interned during World War I. The programme Pilates developed for his fellow internees was later combined with core learnings from dance methods. Pilates’ studio in New York would eventually serve many of the leading ballet dancers of his time.

Pilates today is a system of controlled movement that focuses on building strength without adding bulk, enhancing physical flexibility, and achieving harmony between mind and body. The benefits of Pilates include:

  • Balanced, whole-body toning and fitness
  • Increased flexibility and joint motion range
  • Adaptability (the techniques of Pilates can be used to meet your exact current physical health needs)
  • Longer, leaner muscles
  • Improved posture and energy
  • Enhanced mind-body connection
  • Lower stress

If you want to ease back pain, reduce daily stress levels or simply get fit, Pilates can help you. Visit Envigour Pilates and book your first sessions with Belinda now to discover the benefits of Pilates for yourself.

Working out on holidays?

 

Hi all, I returned from a wonderful holiday a while ago and wanted to share some of my photos with you and prove that just because you are travelling whether it be a holiday or a work trip your workout regime doesn’t need to go off track (this is one of the main reasons people say they stop exercising because they got out of their routine!)

Remember not only does exercise energise you, but by exercising regularly and with a little careful planning, you can maintain your fitness level, no matter where you are;  even short workouts are better than no workouts at all.  During the next few weeks and in the lead up to the holiday season I will give you some great tips on easy, practical exercises to do whilst you are away whether it be on the beach (like lucky me) or in your hotel gym on a business trip, exercise is fun keep it up (and remember just because it is nearly March it doesn’t mean we should give up our NY resolutions already)

B x