Exercise and teenagers – how parents can help

Exercise with teenagers

Last week I had the great honour of teaching a group of Farnham Girl Guides a 90 minute Pilates session. It was quite a nerve wracking experience getting up in front of teenage and pre teen girls, but I am never one to shy away from a challenge. I also believe passionately that getting girls into good habits around exercise, mindfulness and taking care of themselves from a young age is really important.

During the session I talked about how important exercise is for confidence, their heart, enjoyment, team playing, meeting friends, the importance of a good bra for exercise (my daughter was mortified about this!) and posture. The class also covered balance, all body strength moves, core strengthening, spine mobility, flexibility of your back forward, back and sides, stretching and relaxation and how to learn to meditate!

I couldn’t have asked for better praise at the end. They ran up after saying it was really cool which for any of you with teenage or pre teen children, you will know this is not said lightly!

“It was fun and informative”

“It’s great learning to meditate or relax so when I get stressed with homework I can do it at home”

You can see that very quickly teens make really positive associations around exercise and the benefits it can have in their every day lives.

The teenage years can be a time when our children start to give up some of the more active things they have always done for themselves. Pressures of school work and exams, social pressures and just changing bodies and hormones can all make it seem easier to just give up physical activities, maybe thinking you will pick them up again later. But it is so hard to get back to activities once you break away and breaking these good, healthy habits at around teenage years can set up a new habit that is harder to break – a cycle of not making time for yourself and your health and wellbeing.

The whole experience got me thinking about how we can encourage our teens to keep active and do something that makes them feel good just for them. My conclusion is that we, parents, are the answer. I know it seems that at times our teens just want to do the opposite of what we are doing, but actually they take on board the positive. So seeing Mum or Dad regularly taking time for themselves, exercising and keeping healthy is a far greater role model for them than any ad campaign. If this is just a normal part of family life then it is more likely that your teen will continue taking care of themselves without even thinking about it.

If you can also build activity into family occasions too then this can be a good positive reinforcement of healthy living. Even just a family dog walk, going bowling or we have become regulars at the roller disco since the New Year, or maybe taking time to do an online exercise video with your teen. These are all small, easy steps that can make a big difference to the ongoing health and wellbeing of your teen.

So do you exercise as a family? And if so what do you do? And does your teen have a favourite activity that they do whatever? I would love to hear what works for your family.

 

5 steps for busy mums to feel, good, fit and healthy

5 steps for busy mums to feel good

 

At the start of any New Year there is so much pressure on us to make sweeping changes, lose weight, eat more healthily, do more exercise. Whilst all this is great and having goals is a great thing to motivate us, if you are busy Mum so much pressure and big targets to achieve can actually have the opposite effect and demotivate us. I propose that actually smaller, more manageable targets are actually going to see greater gains if you are already pushed for time.

Simply tune into your body’s needs to get the power to make positive, lasting changes in 2016. Changes you make affect your childrens choices later on (trust me I nearly have a teenager who makes her own choices now!). So showing that change can happen just by doing small things is a great example to set them. Here are my suggestions.

1. Take 15 mins a day to put yourself first – it’s only 1% of your day, making small daily changes and you’ll find what makes you feel good!  Take a look at our 10 minute relaxation and breathing video here, which can give a you perfect time out solution.

2. Plan your meals – proper family healthy meal planning stops you snacking, plan the family meals around when you are hungry, and have relaxing nights out – say “yes” to healthy and a life!

3. Get to bed early – sleep is major (I’ve been tracking my sleep and it’s a shock!). When you are tired you reach for sugar. Get more energy from exercise or more sleep. It also lowers your risk of disease. Scientists compare those getting less than 6 hours sleep to those getting 8.5hrs and it alters genes involved in metabolism, inflammation and immunity. Also taking magnesium or eating foods like leafy dark greens, fish and avocado gives you deeper sleep.

4. Look slimmer by correcting your posture – slide your shoulders back, lift your chest up and lift through the spine, lift and engage your deep abdominal muscles to pull in your tummy. Encourage good posture in your children as well.

5. In 45 minutes you can increase your metabolism with a good work out! With regular exercise you can increase the part of your brain associated with learning and memory! Get out as a family- cycle, run or swim. They will thank you for the motivation and they look to you how to live their lives!

6. (OK I said 5 steps but I’m feeling generous!) You must do daily stretches and joint mobility to help you age gracefully – I’m training for the marathon and have to stretch to prevent back pain the next day. See my Facebook page and youtube channel for the right stretches.

At Farnham Pilates we offer videos with mobility, strength, core work, stretching and relaxation! Take a look here for more inspiration or sign up to our newsletter (to the right on a PC or below on a tablet/phone) for up to date tips and news of our upcoming online programmes.

Secrets of a Pilates Instructor – My top 6 Pilates exercises to keep me moving

At this time of year finding time to exercise can be hard and with our regular classes closed for the holidays, it can be easy to just not bother.  But just doing 10 mins exercise each day can really make a difference, keep your fitness levels up, and make you feel better overall during a time when we are generally less active. Here are my top 6 Pilates exercises to get me up in the morning, stretch, move and strengthen, which I feel are great for fitting into your daily routine.

To begin – Breathe wide and full and gently engage your tummy muscles as you breathe out.

1. Seated arm circles – sit cross legged or legs forward and circle your arm left arm round and lean with your body as much as possible. If you need support place the opposite hand in front of your knee. Change arms.

top 6 pilates exercises

Spine twist

2. Spine twist or the saw – sit with a support behind your back legs out in front, twist your spine and reach your opposite arm to the toes.

6 top pilates exercises

Side bend

 

3. Side bend or mermaid – standing or sitting, reach your arm out the head, support your back by placing your opposite hand on the floor or waist.

6 top pilates exercises

Cat Stretch

4. Cat stretch – on your hands and knees, on your out breathe let your head drop down and lift your tummy, tuck your bottom under without moving the hips forward.

6 top pilates exercises

Shoulder bridge

5. Shoulder bridge – lying on your back let your bottom tuck under, squeeze your tummy muscles and let the hips slow rise lifting vertebrae by vertebrae.

6 top pilates exercises

The Hundred

6. Hundred – lying on your back with the knees bent, let your arms pull towards your toes and slowly lift the head as your tummy pulls in and down towards the floor to support the back. The image is shown using the Pilates ball, but that is a more advanced version, you can just have your legs in table top with no ball.

6 top pilates exercise

Childs pose

To finish – Stretch into the child pose from your hands and knees, gently lift the tummy muscles and then press your bottom back to the heels to get a good stretch into the lower back.

If you feel you need a bit more help over the Christmas period or at any other time when you are too busy to make class we have a 15 minute video available to purchase with exercises you can do at home – click here for full details.

Have a Happy and Healthy Christmas and New Year from all at Farnham Pilates

 

Exercise at Christmas

Exercise at Christmas

Christmas can be a fantastic and exciting time but also full of stresses. Many mums that do regular exercise find it hard as the classes and bootcamps tend to stop the same week as the kids break up from school. There are things you can do at home but it is hard to keep motivated with all the temptations around at this time of year. Also I find it hard as it gets colder to resist the warm, unhealthy drinks and biscuits!

Its also hard for mums to stick to a routine and getting a workout in when there are so many demands on our time leading up to Christmas. Decide what you’d like to fit in and try and follow these 10 simple steps –

1. Move more – don’t stay in one position for too long a time when you are cooking, cleaning or relaxing on the sofa – get everyone one up and moving or out, for example on a walk, treasure hunt, races or competitions.

2. Workout first thing – before anything else happens. “There are just too many activities and commitments that come up,” says Angela Bekkala, clinical exercise specialist, mum of twins and creator of Happy Fit Mama. I run early so “You’re finished before the kids wake up!”

3. Put it as an appointment in your calendar – Hopefully your partner is supportive. If you worry about spending time with them as they are not working, it’s a great way to spend quality time together. Or if they can help with childcare you do the same for them. I have had comments of people saying it’s selfish, but its not – its about your health and sanity. Get grandparents to help, you only need 30 mins to fast walk or run!

4. Plan in what you enjoy and want to do – aim for 3-4 activities a week – DVD, online workouts etc. On Periscope Rachel Homes does a 7am workout, or maybe run, walk to get fresh air, or arrange to meet or pick up a friend then you cant cancel.

Classes available locally to Farnham with children

Bootcamp Tilford with Belinda Andrews 14th and 16th December – 9.30 Tilford Green – back on wed 6th January.

Farnham Pilates – last classes 17th-18th Dec – 8.45 and 9.45am – wear Christmas hats bring a friend or children.

Sweaty Betty does classes inhouse too.

5) Don’t worry about what you wear –  I put the clothes out the night before and dress in the dark and don’t look in the mirror. Then I enjoy the shower or bath later and then do hair and make up and feel much better in myself.

6. Its not always possible to exercise without the kids – so include them or watch online and do it in front of them. I think its just as important for them to see me working out and that I find it important to look after myself.

Ditch the ‘either-or’ attitude. Children instinctively love to move. Resistance bands are great for playing with and balls make fun mini trampolines. Also as your children grow older, workouts can be bonding time. I’d like my oldest daughter to run or cycle with me, if its a one off they wont do it, but if its regular they will understand it’s important and will want to come with you, or simply bribe them for that Saturday night movie and popcorn. I ran a dash for colour for Phillis Tuckwell this September and my daughter and I had great fun throwing powder at each other! Other ideas could include taking the kids to the park and do step ups, tricep dips, running races and they love a circuit or obstacle course. It doesn’t need to be long, just a quick workout – 10-15mins raising your heart rate is better than nothing.

7. Do you get Back pain? – stop what you are doing, think about your posture. Have a look at our 5 days of short stretches and the relevant blogs. I am also running a 6 week programme for you to follow – details here.

8.Walk or cycle to friends for Christmas drinks or the family drive and you walk or run and meet them there. Make the most of any time you have and make time.

9. Analysis your time – Can you not go on Facebook/cooking/ cleaning for 10 mins. Swap activities or plan ahead and do bulk cooking. Get the kids to help and delegate. I find December is the best month as they have to be good and help otherwise Santa may not come! We do a points system for pocket money and points are taken off for not helping. They don’t get tea if they don’t help. I know older ones have homework but when they are hungry they will do anything to get the food quicker!

10. Don’t beat yourself up – if you don’t get time. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. Even 10 mins a day is great but even every other day is a good start!

 

Mindfulness for Mums at Christmas

Mindfulness for mums at christmasXmas time can be stressful for mums with so many demands from work, household, family, kids plays, concerts, costume organising, parties – shall I go on? The main thing that gets missed off is you and your exercise. It is important to schedule time out for you to do exercise, eat healthily and spend the Christmas holidays to reset, reboot and recoup your body!

I’ve heard mums say its the kids holiday not theirs, as they have so much to do. That’s true when they are young as the focus is on them, and then teenagers just want to relax but set some goals and prioritise for you as well! Also you either love it or you just want it over. I love Christmas but that includes the food and drink and all the naughty things, but just stay relaxed and keep a positive mindset and tell yourself you will enjoy this lovely time. It’s also a reflective time and a chance to think about what is a priority to you and how to make it possible!

I am struggling fitting in the London Marathon training, as a non morning person it is a struggle to get up at 5.45am and run, but I’ve been doing it for 4 weeks now and trying not to think too much about leaving the warm bed and just getting it done. As I’ve been getting out 4 times a week my fitness has really improved! But I’m very aware as the holidays start and the weather gets colder it is hard to keep going or get started!!

My method to stay focussed – I’ve got reminders on my phone and it seems to be working, my husband is amazingly supportive and runs with me or gets me up!! I do find I’m multi tasking all the time and finding it hard to concentrate when I’m tired but I keep saying to myself in my head – “keep going” its like a little cheer and if I stay with a positive mindset it works wonders. This blog is more about our mindset and enjoying Christmas and staying fit healthy and happy. Comments about your struggles or ideas always welcome –

1. Be Present – enjoy the time with the kids, partner and family. Its so special when they are young, be in the here and now. Watch old movies with them (don’t check your phone), play games and enjoy the rows or banter (monopoly takes hours but we have bought a quick one!)

2. Gratitude – Encourage the kids to talk about what they are grateful for over Christmas ie food and presents compared to those with nothing or very little. At bed time we talk about what was the best thing they did and what they are looking forward to the next day.

3. Reflection – Reflect on what you and the kids need in life- take your life, and encourage the kids to, in their own hands. It is possible to say no to some things..

4. Expectations – Don’t have high expectations yourself ie of the perfect house/being tidy – it wont!

5. Be nice – Compliment the family before they can annoy you! If you have a critical relative just smile and nod – think happy thoughts (beach, sand!)

6. Take some time for you – Give yourself permission to think about you what you want to schedule in, i.e. 10 mins bath, chill out before the next family or social event. To totally relax and recharge, why not try our mindfulness video.  This is just £4.99 and you can put it on whenever you feel stressed to help you recharge and reset. Click here to find out more.

7. Balance – Even out the days events. If you are too busy or stressed the body goes into survival mode and store fat! Get fresh air, go to the beach, chase each other!

8. Meditate – when washing up to just clear your mind.

9. New years resolutions – if you don’t do something to make you happy / help you / please you NOW then when will you?

10. Food – have a day off unhealthy food, think 80 / 20 rule. Healthy veg soup with left overs?

11. – Sleep – Get 7 hours plus to reduce stress.

A good way to get set for this season would be to come to our Pilates and Wellbeing day on Thursday 10th December 12-5pm at our Pilates Garden Studio in Rowledge. All are welcome, bring friends and children. There will be the chance to try the reformers, a Heated Pilates session, 20 mins massage with Aase Waterman, Reflexology, and Reiki. Click here to find more details.

Or, to have a tool you can rely on to help you reset and rebalance whenever you need to, why not download our mindfulness video. It will take you through 10 minutes of exercises that will help you keep balanced over the busy festive season with breathing and relaxation exercises, which can be done when you need to. It is just £4.99 and you can click here to find out more or pay via the paypal link below to have the video sent straight to your inbox.

Have a lovely festive season with your loved ones but don’t be afraid to take time for you too.

Put your name in the box and follow the buy now link to make secure payment of £4.99 via paypal to get the Mindfulness video link straight to your inbox. Any questions please email hannah@farnhampilates.com

Me-time relax breathe

 

I’m a Pilates teacher! I cant have hurt my back!

I have corrected, advised and helped over 2000 clients over 10 years with back pain but I have to admit it – I have had low back pain (LBP) and severe pain twice where I can’t actually move. This happened on Sept 2014 and Sept 2015 (can you see a pattern forming – having the summer off teaching to be with the children and going straight back to exercise?)

Do you want to hear how I healed my back to keep me moving?

If YES then keep reading.

Pilates and back careSo this year, unfortunately, while I was lifting Pilates equipment out to the new Garden studio my lower back just “went”. It felt like a snap, a sharp feeling and sent a shooting pain down my leg! Have you had this happen? What did you do? I felt quiet scared, I went into shock and my body froze as I was stooping over. So I rang my husband “umm darling you know I teach Pilates? Im stuck and can’t move and I’m teaching in 1 hour! HELP!” I slowly lay down and cried a bit!! I mean how can it happen to me -I’m a Pilates teacher!”, I knew I needed to stretch but the shooting pain was agony! I relaxed and taught that class as I knew stress can make the pain worse, so I said nothing but I learnt such invaluable steps to get back to the road of fitness….

I had to give up running and started again with exercise. I also now can’t sit for long periods of time! I went to consult a physiotherapist, osteopath and Pilates friends to help pin point how I was twisting or where was weak to work on, as its hard to tell on yourself. I was so upset I joined a charity,”Back care”, on their “Get Britain Standing” campaign they started on back care awareness week in October, and I have now offered to sign up to do the London Marathon for the charity next April! So please help, support and laugh at my training attempts as the weeks go by. Please support my sofa to marathon attempt!

I’m not the only one! Do you know 70% of people in the UK get back pain, and in 2013, 31 million days of work were lost due to back, neck and muscle problems. Bone and joint problems persisted in the UK because “sitting is the new smoking” says prof Steve Bevan, Director of Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at the Work Foundation. “The more sedentary the worse it is”. For example, ”the average British adult sits for 9 hours per day – double the safe limit” and The Backcare Organisation is trying to make people realise that prolonged sitting is strongly linked to back pain, diabetes, heart disease and cancer – so reducing your daily sitting by just 1 hour can burn 1kg of fat per month.

Tell me in the last year have you ever felt pain in your back, that you can’t lift your child or bend down, or are you in agony after gardening or driving? Do you know the right stretches and exercises for you? If not please contact me as I’ve formulated a 6 step plan which I know works, and I want to show you. Due to the demand Farnham Pilates is running more back care courses, and further short videos of exercises to help you are on their way, so please contact me – Hannah@farnhampilates.com

Pilates is the right thing to do, so try a gentle slow class. We will be posting daily exercises and/or tips to Facebook. Contact me if you have any questions, want an assessment or join the back care classes in the Garden Pilates Studio. And please join the mailing list if you would like more exercises and information on back care. You can do this on this page – on mobile devices sign up below or on PC/Laptop look to your right to sign up.

Is parenting making your back ache?

Parenting making your back acheThe school run, breastfeeding, birth, even cuddles can contribute to chronic back ache but it doesn’t have to be something you put up with. When you think about it, it isn’t surprising that the many tasks you juggle daily in addition to the effects of pregnancy and birth on your body can lead to constant back pain. Pilates specifically deals with these issues.

So what are the most common causes of back pain for mums?
  • Weak or dysfunctional pelvic floor
  • Postural changes during pregnancy and after birth
  • Age and hormonal changes post natal, Peri-menopausal
  • Handling the kids- twisting and leaning
  • Pushing a pram
  • Juggling everything- general stress on the nervous system
  • Tension
  • Overloading one side of your body due to bags, baby or child
  • Your “squeezed in” workout
  • Abdominal separation
  • Stooping over your iPhone or computer
Living with back pain can often scare you off exercise and movement but moving – the right way – can be exactly what you and your back need to feel better.

When participants first arrive at my classes, they’ve often put it off for fear that they’ve left it too long. There is no such thing. It really doesn’t take long to start to get back in shape and relieve your back pain, especially if you’ve done exercise regularly in the past. It’s just important to keep moving.

This doesn’t have to be in an exercise class. Making a few tweaks to the way you do daily tasks can make a massive difference to your back.


Take care when lifting
. Bend at the knees not your hips and when the load is heavy and wriggly try to keep it close. Keeping your child closer to you when lifting reduces your risk of injury or back strain.

Take care when getting your baby or child into a car seat or buggy. Kneel or squat whenever possible. If you can get in front of your child to get them strapped in it’s much kinder on your joints.

Use alternate arms when holding or carrying your child. This doesn’t have to be on a busy road, where you’d prefer your strong side but perhaps when you’re at home, use the other side for balance.

Check your breast feeding posture. Are you stooped or hunched forwards? Is your neck comfortable? Are you having to lean to get a good latch? Could cushions or a better chair help you both out?

Never twist when you lift. Lift first and then turn. Lift your pelvic floor first before you lift children, shopping or other items. To strengthen gently lift and hold a few times in the day and slowly release to increase the tone.

Work on your fitness and strength. Perhaps add a walking morning to the school run or park a little further away. Consider a weekly class with friends, a walk or something gentle to get you started. It’s great to do something sociable like joining a pilates, Zumba or Bootcamp class but take exercise slowly and balance your type or exercise.

Avoid standing still for long periods of time. Move more.

Every time you use your iPhone think about your posture. Make it a habit. Are you slouched on the sofa with your head pushed forwards? Could you take a breath and sit up tall?

Don’t rush. This doesn’t mean be late for everything but taking 3 deep breaths occasionally will calm the tension and help to relax your muscles. If the kids are demanding and not doing as I ask I try and smile before I call/ shout it helps me calm down.

Don’t overdo it. If life feels busy all the time it’s possible you are cramming too much in. Is there something you could prioritise this week? Something for you? Or perhaps something you need to say no to? “You time” is important as we are helping to raise amazing people for the future but need to make sure we happy and healthy first!

Make keeping your spine moving and therefore healthy a priority.

Parenting making your back ache

Example of shoulder bridge

Move as much as you can. Think about rolling your spine, side stretches twisting and rolling forward to help you lengthen and release tension. Pilates is an all over body conditioning programme designed to balance and add tone to your body but it’s also about stretching and mobilising your muscles and joints. There is a great move called the shoulder bridge it relaxes tension in the back and strengthens the muscles to support the spine. Please email me with your back problems or questions and I can send you back and pelvic floor exercises. Or if you are local to Farnham, Surrey why not book onto one of our back care classes that start next week?  These are 6 week courses designed to get your back – back on track – a perfect way to end the year.  Take a look here for more details

Are you scared of exercise? We can help!

scared of exerciseWith Halloween just round the corner again I want to use this scary time of year to motivate people to face some of the biggest fears they have about working out.

 

Gym-phobia is a stumbling block for a lot of people who want to start exercising more regularly but feel really anxious about working out, but I have some tips to anyone who wants to get over their fears of fitness and face their demons head-on.

 

It may surprise some people but the biggest hurdle many face when trying to lose weight, tone up or just focus on their body is the fear of working out in front of people.

 

They feel that they will look silly in tight fitting sports gear or they’ll sweat too much or not know the correct way to do the exercises. It can cause really high levels of anxiety so they avoid working out altogether.

 

Hopefully if you’re thinking of joining a class nearby you don’t think all fitness professionals are scary and we really do just want to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask.

 

I have a variety of options from private one to ones in our specialised Pilates studio, small group classes to larger mat classes at Rowledge Village Hall and soon, Weydon school, Farnham. I run a personal service designing your workout for you and your bodies needs – whether that be private or in a friendly group.

 

Some more advice if you are worried –

 

Try getting a friend to come with you to one of the classes. Working out with someone you know can help you feel more comfortable and the moral support you can give each other can be invaluable

Check for beginners classes or explain that you are new and have no experience and need a few pointers

Wear workout clothes you are comfortable in. You don’t have to have all the latest gear to exercise. If you work out properly it’ll be covered in sweat anyway, don’t feel you need skin tight Lycra just a normal loose fitting t-shirt and leggings will work just as well.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone struggles in the beginning and you may not know the moves or the right techniques but you’re not alone

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may think a reformer or hand weight is something you’d find in the kitchen but try not to get overwhelmed. Gyms can be daunting at first but we all start somewhere, if you stick at it you’ll feel more at home the longer you are there.

Please use these tips from me to push through your fears you face head-on. You never know you may just end up surprising yourself. For full details of the classes we offer in and around Farnham click here.

Back care for Mums

Back care for busy mums

back care for mums

 

With Back Care Awareness Week this week, the main focus was to get Britain thinking about their posture, moving more and standing while working, I thought we should also focus on busy mums working from home.

So are you a busy mum, rushing about and you only realise at the end of the day that your back aches and shoulders are tense. Maybe you have aches and pains when you get up or after leaning over the iPad or iPhone for that quick organise of play dates/lifts, maybe you carry children, or are you are worried about your pelvic floor? This is all linked to posture and with the wrong spine position, lack of movement or the wrong moment it can affect your back and pelvic floor.

I am very aware of my tense shoulders and sore neck, upper and lower back after it has just “gone” once a year so I HAVE to do Pilates. My back mobility and strength and pelvic floor are top of my list and I’ve helped so many clients with a simple stretch or strengthen that can change their lives.

I have to keep assessing mine and my clients posture as things change and you should too, so when you are slouching on the sofa or leaning to see the iPhone screen as you quickly type think about how you are sitting. If you don’t sometimes ache you are lucky, but like most I’m afraid we start to ache in the shoulders, lower, upper back or in the hips, because of bad habits and maybe even a trapped nerve causing shooting pain down the leg or pins and needles in leg or arm at night? There could be other reasons for this, but don’t just accept it and live with it you can do something!

You may even go to the gym, Bootcamp, run or walk with friends, but aches still come and go and then when your back goes it’s agony. Especially when you have been sitting in the same position for a long time.

It’s not all doom and gloom as you can change your posture, strengthen your core and back or create that strong base. Our muscles have memories but we can recreate the memories to make the muscles support automatically.

Things I advise to help you

Checking your posture and spinal alignment in the mirror or send me a side and front picture. Look at your bad habits ie tense over the iPad, or stirring cooking – I remind myself to stop and pull my shoulders down.

Regular exercise and the right exercise ie Pilates, It gets your brain to switch on core pelvic floor first then move.

Repetition not just 1 day or 1 course of 5 weeks. The exercises Pilates uses are for LIFE!

Get your breathing right as breathing deeply can feel like a massage in the upper back as it can release your thorax/diaphragm.

Do more “core strength” for tummy and back. Yes Pilates can work your core and tummy muscles to help stabilise your back but if you only do sit ups or suddenly lift a heavy object if you haven’t engaged your core or pulled your shoulders down then this will do no good for you.

Balance the exercise or activity you do in the week (ie not only running or bending over a computer or kneeling playing with a small child) so not always working same muscles. So If you do exercise like Bootcamp or the gym, check your posture and ask the instructor to check for you and bad habits. Common sense can show you where you need to change and just some simple tweaks to how you sit, stand or carry can help you.

Prioritise your healthy mobile spine by moving as much as you can, roll, hip circle, curl your bottom under, stretch to the ceiling, side bend, lengthen yourself out. Pilates is an all over body exercise programme balancing out and toning the muscles, also stretching and mobilising the muscles that are over tight and pulling the body out of “neutral alignment”.

Check an exercise and make sure you are doing it correctly. You may be doing exercises like the plank but letting your back sink because your tummy isn’t strong enough and putting strain on your lower back and shoulders and making the back worse. The picture below is good form.

back care for mums

Good form for Plank

Ok, what does this mean and how do you fit it into your busy life?

How to check your posture – Are the shoulders and chin coming forward. Or maybe you have a very curved lower back that can put tension on certain parts of the back or you push the hips forward and lock the knees all you need is a posture analysis and being aware of this can help you think about correcting it.

So Try this standing posture exercise – pull your shoulders back, rib cage in and bottom tucked under. Imagine a piece of string has stretched you up towards the ceiling this is neutral alignment! Try and copy this pose when you can.

But what does this mean?Find out the right corrective exercise for your individual biomechanics. This diagram is of an overly curved spine caused by various issues including too much sitting, tight hip flexors, or after having children.

 

In a posture analysis a good teacher can check if one leg is longer than the other or one hip is tight, causing pain and affecting how you walk. A simple check of the hips or the right stretch of the hip flexor at the front of the thigh and stretch for your bottom might correct this problem.

5 top tips

1. Get your posture assessed to make sure the moves are right for your body

2. Corrective exercises – Do daily simple strengthening moves like shoulder bridge, superman and the plank

3. Do daily stretches for hip flexors, hamstrings and chest.

4. Stop slouching

5. Be aware of your posture and self correct bad habits

Try this move at home – good for support or strengthen the back

Superman

back care for mums

So the conclusion is to stretch, stretch, stretch and keep moving, I also believe massage, salt baths to relax muscles, using foam rollers to stretch and massage too.

What can you do now

Send me a photo to look at your posture and suggest tips.

Come for a free trail next Thursday.

Back care workshop starting after half term in November, Monday 1.30pm and Thursday’s 10.30.

Or Come for a one to one bespoke exercises.

Let me help you relieve your back pain.

For more info on any of the above please drop me a line – hannah@farnhampilates.com

Hannah

Why you need a spa break!

spa break hampshire

Join us at Champneys Forest Mere for a wonderfully relaxing weekend.

Do you know how important it is to take time out for yourself to help you relax, switch off and come back to daily routine feeling a new person. Do you have time to stop and think about YOU??

Why you need time out!

Every May and October we organise a Spa retreat at Champneys Forest Mere in the lovely Hampshire countryside. Women can join us for one day or the whole weekend. On our spa day we take time to do exercise, connect with yourself, relax and have a few laughs! It doesn’t matter how fit you are as there is a choice of classes and activites and full use of the spa. Why you need time out –

Simply put – You time is essential to spend time on yourself! Why?

Improve self-awareness
Increase emotional intelligence
Strengthen relationships
Assess your happiness levels
Evaluate who you are and your behaviour to yourself and others
Help you hear your inner voice
Positive impact on friends and family

Do you get ‘You Time’? Do you get enough? We work on mindfulness and helping you enjoy the NOW !

You will come back –

With work/life balance

With renewed energy and feeling creativity

Boosted confidence

With perspective as you’ve had time to examine thoughts and behavior

Grateful for your loved ones and what you have

Some time of self-evaluation

Lower stress levels

A stronger person for doing something for yourself for a change

Happier and able to handle what life throws at you

This will create a positive impact on friends and family

A women is like a teabag. You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Our next Spa Weekend starts 16th October to 18th October and here is the fantastic programme.

Day of activities all optional

Arrival 9am

spa break Hampshire

Pilates classes will be on offer

Welcome to the resort and selection of refreshments including yoghurt; granola; mixed berry compote pots; mixed fruit platter; mini muffins; fruit juice and tea/coffee

10.00-11.00 Pilates class -optional

11.00-11.55 Stretching and mindfulness meditation -optional

Bikes can be organised

Use of spa facilities all day

Access to up to 20 different forest mere classes

Personal training also available (extra)

Three course hot and cold buffet lunch

5.00- 6.00 tea and cake

Depart 6pm or stay the night

But don’t take our word for it, here are some of the past participants comments …

“Thank you for a great day! I really enjoyed it and came back feeling very refreshed and wished I had stayed the night and enjoyed a few glasses of wine on the terrace overlooking the lake….amazing view.”
GK, Farnham

“The spa day organised by Hannah was really enjoyable – doing Pilates with a view over the lake was wonderful and the meditation session afterwards helped us all relax so that we could enjoy the rest of the day; lovely lunch, some exercise and a lot of sitting around in the sunshine and chatting. What more could we ask for?”
HH, Haslemere

“It was nice to have a day doing something different with a very nice group of ladies.”
JC, Farnham

Tempted? To make it even easier for you to indulge we are offering a very special discount for this week only.

Pay £50 deposit this week and get the Day spa for just £85 (full price £120) and night £159 (full price £267)

£30 extra single supplement, (extra £10 for Saturday night).

To book on contact hannah@farnhampilates.com. We look forward to meeting you.