Dec 012016
 

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Winter days may look pretty but for those of you who love to be outside getting active, the dark nights and cold days can sap motivation and leave us feeling lethargic, sluggish and grouchy. And with the party season and rich Christmas pickings looming on the frosty horizon, your body and your mind need to find effective training alternatives in order to combat the winter workout blues.
Far from being just that-low-impact-core-conditioning-class-that’s-good-for-your-back, Pilates (when practiced effectively) also has brilliant mood boosting and circulatory benefits. There is rarely a time when I don’t come away from practising Pilates and I don’t feel happy and energised, it is just incredible! And on a practical level, Pilates is usually practiced indoors. So who cares if it’s raining, hailing or snowing outside? Once you get the basics down, you can incorporate short workouts into your day.

Pilates can also complement more high intensity training. So if you’re a super charged fitness fanatic who needs to compete for your sanity, try thinking of the winter months like an elite level athlete does and use the time out of competition for rehab, training and conditioning.

Tennis ace Serena Williams recently added Pilates to her training regime as did Andy Murray, who says he could not be without it. So if you can’t face crawling out of bed for an early morning, frosty workout, try an hour of Pilates mat work in the cozy comfort of our classes instead!

The lack of daylight in winter can wreak havoc with our sleep cycles and mood. According to Sue Pavlovich of the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA) it’s now thought that all of us suffer from SAD to some degree. Winter’s lack of daylight alters our brain’s production of melatonin and serotonin, which is why even the most motivated exerciser can end up snuggled up on the sofa with a good movie and a bar of chocolate.

Exercise is a brilliant antidote to the winter blues because of the effect it has on our hormones. Train in the morning for a boost of the wake up hormone, cortisol. For the ultimate feel-good workout, combine an intense Pilates sequence with cardio intervals, or a brisk walk outside. That way you’ll get all the conditioning, mobilizing and circulatory benefits of Pilates alongside that cardio-cortisol boost. Plus exercising outside will help you to get as much natural daylight as possible, vital for your brain chemistry. Great for keeping you smiling and relaxed!

 Posted by at 5:35 pm
Nov 152016
 

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It only takes a few minutes of dancing to understand that it can be quite the workout. It boosts your heart rate, works leg muscles and forces you to work on coordination and balance. But the benefits of dancing go way beyond the physical. Grooving to the music can also do quite the number on your brain power and mental well-being. Here are just a few ways it does that:

It helps seniors stay sharp. Research in the New England Journal of Medicine compared different kinds of activity and found that dancing was the only one connected to developing a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
It helps you get out of a funk. People who learn to tango report lower levels of stress, anxiety and depression, according to an Australian study. The dancing was actually more effective on stress and anxiety than practicing meditation.
It helps you think outside the box. Researchers at the Dance Psychology Lab at the University of Hertfordshire have found that when people improvise dance, where they make up the moves as they go, they become better at problem-solving and creative thinking. The reason: They are more willing to see that there are multiple answers to a problem.
It makes you happy. Dancing is better at lifting your mood than other types of exercise, according to research from Italy. They asked cardiac rehab patients to either waltz, go biking or exercise on the treadmill. Yes dancing improved the state of their arteries, but it also made them happier than those who biked or worked out on the treadmill.
It helps girls feel better about themselves. A Swedish study showed that teenage girls who went to dance class regularly had higher self-esteem and were better able to handle their daily problems than those who didn’t dance.

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Nov 022016
 

You lucky pups, next week from Monday 7th to Friday 11th November (inclusive) there won’t be any classes running, we are back ready to start again on Monday 14th November!

 Posted by at 4:10 pm
Oct 172016
 

PILATES REHABILITATION

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“You are only as old as your spine is!”

Stamford Pilates offer Pilates rehabilitation exercise to get you moving, pain free and long-lasting results.

“I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They’d be happier.” – Joseph Hubertus Pilates, in 1965, age 86.

A life without being able to perform simple everyday life activities such as tying your shoes, taking a shirt off, picking up something from the floor can be very debilitating. Sometimes we take our freedom of movement for granted. As we age, our mobility decreases because our spine and other joints undergo rigidity. Pilates gets you moving, it is for all ages, levels and walks of life.

Pilates for back pain
Pilates is very core-centric. Evidence based research suggests that a core strengthening programme may be beneficial in reducing pain scores, functional disability and reoccurrence of acute low back pain episodes.

Why Pilates for spinal and peripheral joint rehabilitation?
What sets Pilates apart from other forms of exercise is its mind-body approach to rehabilitation. Newer concepts of rehabilitation include dynamic stability coordination and neuromuscular control. All these are paramount to Pilates.

Pilates is also widely recommended by doctors as one of the safest ways to get strong with low-impact on joints. This form of exercise can be beneficial for just about everyone, regardless of age or ability.

Movement is life
Discover the benefits of it. Learn to move better, and love it. Whether you’re an elite athlete or on your way to rehabilitation, this exercise can challenge any level, any age and most conditions.

I see clients with a variety of injuries and many conditions of the spine and peripheral joints (shoulders, wrists, knees). Our clients often tell us how greatly they benefit from post-rehabilitative exercise.

Stamford Pilates offer Pilates rehabilitation one to one personal training for:
• Spinal and peripheral joint rehabilitation, including back pain
• Scoliosis
• Postural construct
• Osteoporosis management
• Sports injuries
• Ante and post natal
• Pilates for life 50+

Pilates can make a profound difference in your health thought an evenly balanced and conditioned body. I strive to provide high-integrity solutions to help you fulfill your true potential.

 Posted by at 2:28 pm
Oct 042016
 

Its with great excitement that I can announce a new class to our fitness community – Mummy and Me Fitness! This is a circuits class designed for new mums, it is a fun, cardio and toning inspired class designed to banish those stubborn pounds, tone and strengthen the core, and give you that all-important post-workout high without the worry of creche or childcare. There will be various stations set up where you will undertake the exercise for 45 seconds and then move onto the next station. This will be an encouraging and welcoming class with lots of fun and laughter.

Share this enjoyable class with your baby – either resting in your car seat/carrier or playing with their baby friends on our comfy mats with toys. As I am post natal fitness trained this means that all of the exercises will be especially designed with your health and safety in mind! Our first 5 week course will start on Wednesday 19th October 1-2pm at Tinwell Village Hall and will cost £30. Perfect if you live in Stamford, Oakham, Rutland, Grantham, Peterborough and the surrounding area! To book your place please contact me!

 Posted by at 2:10 pm
Sep 012016
 

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There is a debate that seems never-ending. Which is the best exercise out of Yoga and Pilates? This article will not provide a definitive answer but it is based on the experiences of a client, so hopefully it will prove informative.

It has been 18 months since my life changed. Overnight I went from successful cyclist to painful hobbler and soon I was going to see a surgeon about having a back operation.  The surgeon was adamant that in order for me not to have the op I would need to invest in some time building my body back up.

What would speed this up? The common consensus among everyone I spoke to was an activity to strengthen my core but here consensus ended, and I was soon dragged into the great Yoga versus Pilates debate.

A non-practitioner like me tends to throw Yoga and Pilates into the same category. They are both therapeutic exercise, as opposed to lung-busting cardio activities; they both involve breathing technique; and they both promote self-awareness and body awareness. But, as I discovered, they are very different activities and within both Yoga and Pilates there are different forms of activity, which makes a straightforward comparison between the two disciplines very difficult.

Yoga v pilates -  What is the difference

Firstly, there is the age difference.

Yoga is very much the elder statesman. It originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and has evolved over time. This has led to the different types of Yoga, the main ones being Ashtanga, Bikram, Kripalu and Vineyasa.

It was not until the mid-20th century that Joseph Pilates introduced exercises as a form of rehabilitation. Joseph was an athlete, and his exercise was aimed at curing athletic injuries, but the practice was seized upon by dancers, who began to use Pilates to strengthen their bodies for performance.

A different outlook

While both disciplines focus on a connection between body and mind, Yoga adds a third dimension – that of spirit, meditation creates the perfect situation in which to explore spirituality, so much Yoga practice is devoted to clearing and cleansing the spirit.

Class differences

This is a difficult one to pinpoint. Each class you walk into will be different, so it’s tough to highlight specific distinctions. At a basic level, it comes down to flexibility. Yoga classes tend to be less regimented than Pilates. Postures, sequences and variations can be combined into thousands of routines from one class to the next. The form of the class will be set by the teacher and the style of Yoga you choose to practice. Ashtanga and Bikram has a slightly higher level of structure, and often appeal to athletes who are simply seeking more flexibility rather than a mind/body/spirit connection.

Pilates classes are more regimented, and tend to follow a pattern of movement that works specific body parts, rather than achieving a ‘whole body’ flow. Some Pilates classes will use specialist machines to achieve greater strength and target specific body areas.

Different outcomes

In both practices, you will gain strength and flexibility. Pilates offers a total body workout but tends to focus on aligning the spine and strengthening the core, whereas in a yoga class balance is key. A Yoga workout will work every muscle in your body equally and each posture is accompanied by a counter-posture to ensure you create balance in your body. While core-strength is definitely an important element in Yoga, it is not the entire focus.

Take a deep breath

Breathing and concentration techniques are important to both Yoga and Pilates practices. However, yoga uses breath work on a very deep level. In energetic flow-based yoga classes such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga, the practice is called the ujjayi breath, where yogis breathe in and out through the nose, matching these deepyoga

breaths to the movements and postures. Often in yoga classes, there will be segments dedicated to breath work, called pranayama.

Pilates practices keep it much simpler: you inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.

A question of choice

I was seeking core strength and simplicity, so I am now a dedicated follower of Pilates. I do three or four sessions a week, and have found it has really helped me function better on a daily basis. From cycling to just standing, I feel more in tune with my core. Someone even told me I looked taller! But, if you are seeking a spiritual practice which helps you manage stress levels then Yoga might be best. A good friend of mine practices Yoga daily, and starts each morning with meditation. She has gone from stressed-out wild-child to serene maturity – but that might just be age and experience!

The best way to find out which activity suits your needs is to try them out!

 Posted by at 3:58 pm