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Walking & Pilates for a Stronger Heart

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Walking & Pilates for a
Stronger Heart

Over 70 million North Americans are walkers, which makes walking our top sport. A recent survey showed bout half are Pilates enthusiasts. Why are so many walkers turning on to Pilates?
Walking tightens the hamstrings, calves, hips, and the lower back just to name a few areas that need relaxing and lengthening. Muscles that get tight and overused can cause imbalances in the skeletal system creating inefficient gait and pain.

Something you will hear in the Pilates industry time and again is “Doing Pilates regularly will help you
do everything else you want to do, whether its league hockey, skiing, jogging or walking.” In Pilates we focus not just on strengthening the muscles; but equal time is spent on strengthening and lubricating the joints.

Pilates aims at releasing those areas through movements and core education. By witnessing our own gait we
might notice imbalances in the muscular and skeletal system, which not only affects our feet, but knees, and hips as well as the whole body.
Look at the bottom of your shoes — what is the wear pattern? Is one side more worn then the other? Is the heel the most worn- down part? All these are indicators of foot placement while walking. In Pilates we focus on stretching and core strengthening, AND also on correcting posture tendencies. It is these posture tendencies that affect gait.

Look Great and Feel Great with Pilates

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You look Marvelous! "Oh, you don't feel so good?" "That's okay." "It's better to look marvelous than to feel marvelous, and darling, You do look marvelous." We all remember Billy Crystal's famous bit on SNL.

Obviously, we all want to feel as good as we look, and vice versa. There are different ways we can slim and tone to look as fit and beautiful as we set our minds to, but there is one very important fact to keep in mind:

Looking and feeling marvelous comes from internal physical Strength!

This inner strength in the core we all want can be best achieved with regular Pilates practice. That toned set of abs, those sculpted arms and sleek inner thighs we all crave will last only as long as our core strength is brought to bear and maintained through proper, regular movement. The world is embracing Pilates because of its gentler, life changing routines. As your body and your overall fitness achieve a higher level, you realize how important it is to feel great as well as to look great.

As you work towards the look and feel you want to achieve, Pilates offers you many classes to help you "look marvelous".

Living well Pilates offers classes to enable you to work on problem areas of your body. Our instructors will guide you through workouts created to target specifically those areas. Our studio director, Mary German, is a Pilates master instructor, (having taught Pilates for over ten years), a physiologist and personal trainer. Living Well Pilates also has all of the Pilates studio equipment, such as mats and stability balls, for sale for you to use at home.

Regular Pilates will help you achieve more tone, grace and poise. A fluid, youthful walking gait tends to be noticed by everyone. Regular Pilates will improve your flexibility making a dramatic difference in how attractive others will perceive you to be.

So – its time you look forward to going to your workout. You want the abs that looks just right. You want your arms tightened and your inner thighs toned. You want quality attention from your fitness studio. Regular Pilates sessions will increase your energy, give you more vitality, change your shape, refresh your mind and reduce your stress. Living Well Pilates offers the quiet instruction and calm ambience of the unique boutique studio setting you have been looking for.

Now, the big payoff: one day soon after starting your regular Pilates sessions you will step out of the shower look in the mirror and think, Wow, I am looking, what else? Marvelous! You will have a spring in your step and move more gracefully. Your clothes will be a bit looser – but that's okay! Why else do countless movie stars, dancers and famous sports figures train with Pilates?

Remember: Looking and feeling marvelous comes from internal physical Strength! Begin strength training with Pilates today!

Dr. Cohen AccuBall

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The Story of the Acuball

By Dr. Michael A. Cohen

I had a frustrating experience with shoulder pain that no one I went to seemed to be able to pin point. The really frustrating part was that I could feel exactly where the problem was, but couldn’t reach it with my fingers to treat it. In desperation I started lying on and prodding myself with all kinds of different objects in an attempt to ‘get into’ the spot I needed to release.

Eventually, I tried a ball I had lying around and found that it did indeed work – lying on the ball eased my shoulder pain. I completely forgot about the entire incident until about six months later when a patient, who was going on a business trip, asked me to fix his problem quickly. After examining him and realizing that he had too much tightness for me to release in the short time before he left, I remembered the ball I’d used and told him to try it out. He returned a week later and to my surprise, he had managed to work down a significant portion of his muscle tightness with twenty minutes of ‘ball work’ a day.

I started trying the technique with other patients and was impressed with how well it worked. Within a year I had expanded the practice so that almost every patient I saw was using it. Over time however, it became apparent that there were a lot of limitations to the effectiveness of the procedure due to the size and shape of the ball I had been using (which was designed for sports not healing!)

I couldn’t stop thinking about the potential healing benefits a properly designed product – one made specifically for healing – would have.

I literally tossed and turned many nights away considering everything that would need to go into a project of this magnitude. Then, one January morning on a roof-top in Morocco, I made the decision to try and create the perfect ‘self-treatment ball.’ Thus started the long, many times frustrating, road of endlessly researching, experimenting, designing, testing and redesigning the different prototype materials, sizes and configurations of the Acuball. Various balls of different shapes and sizes began a non-stop parade through my office.

Working with a dedicated team of designers and engineers, and of course my wonderful patients whose feedback proved indispensable, my home and office were soon filled with ‘weird balls’ (as my friends used to say), and I had a second full time job as a product developer. The Acuball you now own is the 80th generation of its kind, the end result of many years of laboratory and clinical research and testing.

Easy, Effective & Safe

My goal when I set out was to create a new generation of self-healing tool that was totally safe, easy to use and truly effective. Please note that your Acuball is hypoallergenic and completely non-toxic should your child or dog ever get a hold of it! It is filled with simple distilled water which acts as a heating medium.

I wanted to make a tool that really ‘got into’ the tight spots and worked them open. Too many other muscle and pain relief products work by covering up the signals your body sends you from these tight spots with another sensation, like electrical currents or cooling gels. These may decrease the pain, but often don’t get to the ‘root’ of the problem at all. The Acuball doesn’t just cover up muscle and joint pain, it gets right into tight spots and, in combination with your mind’s focus and breath work, begins the releasing process necessary to help tight congested areas ‘open’ and heal as much as possible.

The Acuball works in unison with the natural healing powers of your body

When people start using the Acuball they are amazed by how many tight, congested spots they have that they never realized were there. The same thing will happen to you: you’ll feel areas that you didn’t even know were tight. Acuballing will tune you into the real story of what’s going on in your body. This is important because it enables you to work on existing chronic areas that you already know about, as well as tight spots you weren’t even aware of, which if left untreated could develop into problem areas further down the road. Acuballing is like holding up a mirror to your body allowing you to see where tight, congested areas are.

Use your Acuball to complement & enhance any professional muscle & joint care you receive. Ask your therapist which areas you would get the most benefit from Acuballing and combine their answers with your own explorations to design a self-treatment program that’s right for you. Work as a team with your therapist. Without a doubt the combination of therapist’s clinical work and patient’s self-healing work generates far better results than either one working alone.

Acuball Anywhere, Anytime - Because it’s light and portable you can put your Acuball in your purse or travel bag and take it anywhere you need it – home, office, plane, gym, hiking trip, anywhere. You can literally use it anytime and anywhere you like. For a great start to your day, try Acuballing from the bottom of your spine up to the base of your neck for 15 minutes. After a heavy day, try Acuballing your neck in bed for a wonderful de-stressing relaxer. Whether it’s one in the afternoon or one in the morning, the Acuball ‘office’ is always open. No waiting rooms or parking lots to deal with either!

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See more at: www.acuball.com

Freedom from Pain

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Being active in sports, dealing with overuse issues of sitting at a desk, working at the computer, or driving long hours, it’s never okay to settle for pain. Myoskeletal Alignment alleviates pain, preps your body for a great workout, and helps you stay on track with your health and fitness goals. These techniques work with the body’s soft connective tissue and bones to create skeletal alignment.

Mary German, Physiologist and Pilates Master Trainer, is fully certified in the Erik Dalton Myoskeletal field of manual therapy and has been integrating these techniques in her Pilates private sessions for over the past two years. Mary understands that the body’s myofascial and skeletal systems are inseparable. What affects one always affects the other. Accordingly, Myoskeletal Alignment focuses on treating stubborn pain conditions by mobilizing joints through muscle manipulation, and Pilates keep you moving strong and lean in that alignment.

Once we are free from pain and return to a proper balance in our body, we can then better perform our Pilates exercises to maintain this balance, and our everyday fundamentals of better postural alignment of sitting and standing tall. Walking and other activities in life are accomplished pain free.

Fascia is the body’s system of that surrounds cells, muscles fibers, groups of muscles, blood vessels, organs and nerves; binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other. The fascial system is one part of the kinetic chain consisting also of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, joints, and the nervous system. Each part of the kinetic chain relies on the proper functioning of the other components.

Working over a desk, or inflammation from strength training, may cause imbalances within the kinetic chain with resulting nerve irritation, tightened connective tissue, and compromised joints. This inhibits proper function and movement. Warming up and stretching is advised, but Myoskeletal Alignment provides a deeper dimension to the “flexibility protocol.”

What happens when you tie a knot in a string and pull on each end? The knot gets tighter right? Well, fascia works like that. Stretching may provide a release, but in some cases in order to get to the root of the problem you must apply pressure to activate the neural system. Myoskeletal Alignment clears excessive neurological messaging, balances all type of soft tissue allowing bones to regain neutral skeletal posture and increases joint integrity.

In our over-stimulated society filled with job-related prolonged sitting, stressful (and often competitive) workplaces, peer-pressured children, and other family matters, it’s essential that individuals seek out a fitting regular maintenance schedule much like we do with our pets, our cars and our medical exams. What better and more evolving thing can people do for themselves and their family than preventive body maintenance? Myoskeletal Alignment with Pilates is the answer.


Hockey players using Pilates to fight injury

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More and more professional hockey players are using Pilates to prevent groin injuries. Here are the reasons why.

1. We have weak feet: Due to the stiff hockey skates we wear, there is no need for our feet to be strong. However, without strong feet we do not have a proper balance point. This in turn makes everything unbalanced from the bottom up. I found this evident when I first tried speed skates. With no support I really felt that I was going to break my ankles! I did one loop and that was that!

2. We have a weaker lower core: We have weak stabilizing muscles near the pelvis area. This is almost like comparing our body to a car that has a loose wheel. If one wheel is loose then the others can’t do their job. If the core is not doing its job, other parts will over work, like our hip flexors, or groin.

3. We lack flexibility: The reason why more players have started taking up Pilates and yoga is because they realize the need to have more balance when it comes to overall strength and flexibility. Stretching is like giving the joints WD40 so they are free to move. One side might not have the same range as the other, but balancing this out is the key. When the leg goes out in a hockey stride, it might not move as freely as it should or it will with strain due to lack of flexibility. Over time, this general hockey movement becomes strenuous because the leg doesn’t come back to the centre of the body. This causes an imbalance just from skating and adds more load to different areas, like the groin. In order to optimize power, an athlete not only needs to build strength by lifting weights, but they need to have a better balance between strength and flexibility

4. Our quads are too strong: Every motion we do is based on quad strength. However, there needs to be a balance. All the anterior leg muscles (i.e. quad, hip flexors) tend to be stronger then the posterior muscles (hamstring, glutes) causing a very big imbalance.

Balance between strength, flexibility and stability

We can also look at other factors that impact why hockey players get groin injuries - the poor quality of ice or the increased stiffness that hockey skates are made with year after year - but in essence, I think there’s often too much emphasis on building strength and power and not enough on flexibility. Is it the chicken before the egg or the egg before the chicken? Each athlete has to find balance between strength, flexibility and stability when training. Pilates responds to imbalances by strengthening all areas of the core, developing one's flexibility, and strengthening the posterior leg muscles (hamstrings, glutes).

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