It’s most definitely that time of year when we all take a close look at our diet and lifestyle habits, and debate the changes that we can make to ensure a healthier year ahead. It is no surprise then that it is now we find that the gyms are at their busiest as people throw themselves into a tough fitness regime to achieve their fitness and/or weight loss goals quickly.
It is this pattern however; the over indulgence of Christmas followed by a vow of fitness and weeks of intense exercise; that the body isn’t used to. It can inevitably lead to extreme body aches and injuries and, ultimately, what usually follows is the decline in exercise activity. By the end of February our shiny New Year goals seem like an unattainable distant memory.
So how about breaking this repeating pattern once and for all? Why not make a lifestyle change that your body will thank you for? Start doing Pilates.
Pilates exercises every part of your body without the burn and achieves amazing results. It helps you to become stronger, more toned, and increasingly flexible - as well as improving your balance and your coordination.
The old saying that we hear so frequently “no pain, no gain” just isn’t true. Put very simply, here is the reason why: Pain in the muscles after exercising means the muscles that are hurting have been put under exertion and are strained and slightly inflamed. There is a build-up of the waste product ‘lactic acid’ that can irritate the muscles causing that familiar aching discomfort that we have all felt when we have over done it.
There are a lot of myths about muscle soreness. People believe that without muscle soreness they are not working hard enough. Whilst you want to be challenging your muscles (and soreness is a sign that the muscles are challenged) you also should be able to live your life after leaving the gym, and always retain the freedom of movement!
That being said, when a client first starts Pilates a few slight aches may be noted as we are awakening muscles that may not have been used for years. Similarly, when a client progresses onto the more advanced exercises aches may again be reported due to the additional effort required from the muscles. However, due to the important fact the we tend to do less than ten repetitions of an exercise, and we constantly change our position and the exercise focus, you wouldn’t experience a severe muscle ache like someone who has done fifty squats followed by fifty lunges would.
Another brilliant thing about Pilates is that it’s an ‘all inclusive’ exercise system. Suitable for anyone of any age, any fitness level and also for people with injuries.
There is the belief that someone with an injury shouldn’t exercise at all and as a result these people stay in a kind of ‘exercise limbo’. This can be quite disheartening for someone with an injury who wants to maintain their fitness. While caution and advise must be sought as to when to start again after injury and which exercises an individual should and shouldn’t do, it is usually sooner than you think.
Things to consider if you fall into this group
*Would your GP, Physio or Osteopath consent to Pilates? It’s always best to check before starting exercising again.
*If it is your shoulder that is injured, for example, there are many other exercises that can be done. Would you be willing to focus on the legs, back and feet until the injury is resolved?
If you have any questions, or just aren’t sure where or how to start Pilates, please give the Bridge to Health team a call.