Why does Pilates make you feel good?

Those of us who practise Pilates regularly, know just how good we feel after a class.  Pilates is a unique form of exercise that not only strengthens the body, but has the additional benefit of making you feel calm, relaxed and rejuvenated.

Pilates consists of moving through a slow, sustained series of exercises using abdominal control and proper breathing.  The quality of each posture is important, not the number of repetitions or how energetically you can move.  Regular Pilates practice will increase lung capacity and circulation due to the deep and controlled breathing.

Stress Management:

The movements involved in Pilates exercises are also mentally calming and help your nervous system relax. As your muscles grow longer and stronger, the blood circulation will improve, while stress and tension will lessen. In a world where most of us lead extremely busy lives, Pilates is an effective tool to reduce stress, and therefore improve your health. The holisitic aspect of Pilates, gives the opportunity to centre and connect.

Mind-body connection:

Pilates encourages you to connect mind and body.  Proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and complete concentration on smooth, flowing movement, trains you to become more in tune with how the body feels, where it is in space, and how to control its movement.  Correct breathing is essential, helping you to perform the exercises with maximum power and efficiency.

Lean not bulk:

Pilates elongates and strengthens muscles, improving flexibility and joint mobility.  A body with balanced strength and flexibility is less likely to be injured.

Strong core:

The core consists of the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. Control of the core is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle.

Movement patterns:

Pilates trains several muscle groups at once in smooth, continuous movements. By developing proper technique, your bodies can be re-trained to move in a safer, more efficient way. This is invaluable for injury recovery, sports performance, good posture and optimal health.
 
In conclusion, Pilates is with doubt, a highly effective form of exercise. Due to the controlled slow movements, muscles and joints are not strained, unlike other forms of exercise.  Pilates has been used by professional dancers for decades and in more recent times is practised by athletes to improve strength, agility, flexibility and for injury prevention.  After participating in a session of Pilates, your body will feel stronger and more flexible.  Pilates also improves mental clarity, focus and general wellbeing, all of which combined, helps you feel more positive and confident.

To find out more about the benefits of Pilates contact Alexia Morris.

Posted on November 30, 2013 .

Keeping Fit During the Festive Season

Our commitment to regular exercise is really put to the test before, during and after the Festive Season.

The temptation of extra social events and summer holidays, requires us to always keep the big picture in mind. Exercise is a long term commitment that doesn't respond well to lengthy breaks and sporadic attempts. Exercise is a year long affair, and should be viewed as a normal part of life.

To keep your exercise habits on track over the holidays, here are a few handy tips:

  • Create a plan ahead of time: Before the holidays sneak up on you, create a plan for incorporating fitness and good nutrition into your daily routine.  Evaluate your holiday and then determine how much time you will realistically have available to devote to exercising.
  • Schedule your workouts: Mark them on the calendar and set aside time to complete them. Consider them as important as any other appointment or event you have marked on your calendar.
  • When Christmas shopping: Don't search for the closest parking space. Park far away and take advantage of the walk you get.
  • Don't put your fitness goals on hold: If you can't exercise as often during this time period as you normally do, adjust appropriately. Don't fall into the trap of thinking since you don't have time for your full workout you just won't workout at all. Instead accept your limited availability and simply reduce the frequency and/or duration of your exercise. It's much better to cut your fitness time in half than to completely eliminate it.
  • Aim for 10 minutes: On days you really lack motivation or simply do not have time for your complete exercise routine, commit to just 10 minutes of exercise. You'll probably end up doing more than that once you get started. However even if you only end up completing 10 minutes, it's still a lot better than zero minutes.
  • Exercise at home: You'll be more inclined to follow-through on your exercise commitment if you don't have to drive somewhere to do your workout. Stair climbing is a great low impact alternative to running.
  • Choose exercises that you enjoy doing: You'll be more inclined to stick with a fitness regimen when it includes things you like to do.
  • Include variety in your exercise: Summer holidays are ideal for swimming, beach walking, hiking, bike riding or a game of tennis with friends.
  • Strive to include total body workouts: These include: cardiovascular exercises, strength training (both upper and lower body), core training and stretching/flexibility.
  • Stairs: Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of an elevator.

Remember to include relaxation as part of your healthy lifestyle. If we are less stressed, we are less likely to fall back into bad habits, such as making excuses not to exercise and eating unhealthy foods. What better time to enjoy relaxation, then after a session of outdoor exercise, during those long, lazy summer days.

To help keep your fitness and stress management on track, why not join one of our Holiday Classes - remember to book early.

Alexia Morris

Posted on November 28, 2013 .

Give the Gift of Massage this Christmas

Available now are the new massage therapy gift vouchers. Spoil a friend or loved one with a massage in the New Year with Simone. Simply buy  a voucher next time you’re at Balance2health, or hop online to purchase. Vouchers can be sent to you, or direct to the recipient. Couldn’t be easier.

Time for a massage? Appointments are filling fast in the lead up to Christmas, so be sure to book your massage soon and enjoy some blissful time out at this busy time of year. You’ll be amazed how just one hour out of your day can leave you restored, refreshed and renewed!

Simone Peppitt

Posted on November 27, 2013 .

Don’t dump your exercise during the ‘Silly Season!’

It’s true that the time we don’t feel like exercising, is exactly when we need it the most!

The 'Silly Season' is the part of the year which challenges our resolve to exercise regularly the most. BUT it is essential to keep moving. Eating and drinking more at this time of year often leads to a weight increase which is really hard to shift come January. Keep the balance between the social occasions and the amount of exercise you do.

Be clever and find ways to incorporate some exercise every day. Exercise smart!

Alexia Morris

Photo by Rance Costa

Photo by Rance Costa

Posted on November 26, 2013 .

Recharge with a massage

Did you know that a 1 hour massage has the same effect on the body as 8 hours sleep? Wow!

When we sleep our body is busy healing and recharging. This exact process takes place during a massage.

Have you noticed that after a massage, you have the same feeling you get after waking from a lovely sleep – a little drowsy perhaps, but that's soon replaced with feeling invigorated and ready for the day.

Simone Peppitt

Posted on November 9, 2013 .

Putting Your Heart into Exercise!

Regular exercise will help your heart. Photograph by  redfloor.

Regular exercise will help your heart. Photograph by  redfloor.

 Scientific research, the media and medical professionals all agree that one of the major causes of heart disease is our modern day sedentary lifestyle. Consider how many hours you spend sitting per day.

Like any other muscle in the body, the heart needs to be strengthened in order to be effective.

In doing regular daily exercise, aim for 30 minutes, most days of the week.

ACTIONS always speak louder than words, SO sit less, and move more!

Alexia Morris 

Posted on November 8, 2013 .

Massage Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Most people are aware that massage therapy eases aches and pains, but you may not know massage also has heart health benefits as well. Massage lowers cortisol (stress) levels, which in turn lowers your heart rate and improves blood flow. Massage also lowers blood pressure - important for a healthy heart. 

Let your massage therapist know if you have high or low blood pressure, as massage can leave you feeling lightheaded. To relieve this I will always ask clients to rise slowly from the table following their treatment and have a glass of water before leaving.

Simone Peppitt

Having a massage will soothe aches and pains. 

Having a massage will soothe aches and pains. 

Posted on November 6, 2013 .

New Early Bird Yoga Series

Our next EARLY BIRD YOGA series starts on 20 November.

Class Details:

  • Instructor: Johanna Brown
  • Day & Time: Wednesdays @ 6.15am
  • Dates: 4 x class series - 20, 27 November, 4, 11 December
  • Fee: $60 for 4 classes

Contact Alexia Morris for more information.

Alexia

Photograph by Tomas Sobek. 

Photograph by Tomas Sobek

Posted on November 5, 2013 .

Challenge Yourself . . . to do a little more exercise!

Photograph by Mike Baird.

Photograph by Mike Baird.

The word challenge and exercise tend to go hand in hand. We can challenge ourselves to intensify our exercise, to increase the duration of a workout or just to do more exercise. Sounds simple enough and it actually is. Walk for an extra 5-10 minutes, add one hill or a set of stairs to the usual walk, do a few squats (even sit and stand from the chair!) during the ad breaks, park the car further away from that ‘perfect car space,’ carry an extra bag or two up the stairs. Challenge yourself to find a few extra minutes of exercise in your day, It ALL COUNTS!

Alexia Morris

Posted on April 27, 2013 .

Hot cross buns & Easter eggs

Easter is looming, a time which usually involves plenty of eating. Whether it's meals with the family, catching up with friends, or just a few Easter eggs in front of the TV.

I love Easter eggs and hot cross buns, but particularly hot cross buns. However, for me an integral part of my enjoyment is their limited availability. I’d never buy or make a fruit bun normally and I don't eat chocolate very often, however I wouldn’t dream of missing out on my annual hot cross bun and Easter eggs.

We tend to think of these foods as treat foods, especially as they're only available in the build up to Easter. However, the Easter build up lasts for months now, which leaves a lot of opportunities for treating yourself. Sounds good, but this presents a problem if you're trying to maintain a healthy weight.

At the risk of being seen as a killjoy, I’ve got a radical idea: why not just eat hot cross buns and Easter eggs at Easter? Don’t have them for months on end and don’t bother with the cheap, rubbish ones. Instead buy yourself some really good, delicious chocolate eggs and hot cross buns. Revel in them, thoroughly enjoy them and eat as many as you want, but just for one day.

Kathryn

EasterCupcakes.JPG
Posted on March 20, 2013 .