Feedback from students –
Do you have back aches and pains, do you feel stiff with sore muscles and achy joints?
I have been though this and I have the solution!
I can help you reduce your aches and pains, improve your tummy tone, make you feel more confident, give you a stronger pelvic floor (so no accidents), better back strength and the right exercises for you !
Do you know one of the key factors is a better posture !!!
Why new mums need to correct their posture?
There’s no doubt that pregnant mums and mums with young babies carry heavy things from a baby, toddler to bags and car seats !
As we tend to our daily activities, posture is the last thing on our minds. Unfortunately, this can often lead to regular tasks – such as housework and social interaction – being performed in ways that are detrimental to our health and posture. Lifting badly is a common cause of back pain (remember to bend your knees and pull the item close to you).
While postural issues don’t always manifest themselves in a manner that allow us to easily recognise we have them, back pain can be a clear sign that you may need to have your posture assessed. We balance our baby on our hip, the phone against the ear, so no wonder our lower back and neck hurt!
Did you know approximately 70% of women will, at some time in their lives, report low back pain. And during pregnancy, while 50–80% of women have reported back pain, one-third of pregnant women claim this low back pain is a significant problem.
Common Posture Problems
Activities such as twisting to lift children out of cars, and carrying of babies or young children on the hips, can cause your hips and shoulders to become uneven.
Forward Head Posture
As a woman’s body adapts to her changing weight and shape during pregnancy, the spine and pelvis realign to serve as a counter-balance, One of the issues that can arise from this is Forward Head Posture (FHP).
Dowager’s Hump (or increased kyphosis)
Dowager’s hump (or increased kyphosis) is another postural issue that can occur during pregnancy. It is a condition that increases the natural curve of the upper back.
The increased weight from carrying a child can pull your pelvis forward, increasing the curve to your lower back (or increased lordosis).
In severe cases, long term bad posture can lead to Scoliosis, a condition that results in the spine twisting from left to right, instead of running in a straight line from top to bottom. Depending on the severity, scoliosis of the spine can have a detrimental impact on vital organs, such as your heart, liver and kidneys.
The good news is that postural issues can be corrected, and even, in some instances reversed.
A good pilates teacher, osteopath, chiropractor, Physio can assess your posture or send me a photo and I can give you specific exercises – email@example.com
At Farnham Pilates we give exercises and stretches that, when done regularly, will help to strengthen your muscles and maintain improved posture. Farnham Pilates is an online resource for pilates videos, tips and information to help busy mums solve these common, painful problems.
You can Take Action
1. Assess your own posture in a mirror.
2. Make an appointment to see me – I can recommend daily exercises to improve and maintain your back and core strength.
3. Start a routine of gentle exercise – Pilates, yoga, walking – see link here for Farnham Pilates classes.
3. Commit 3 minutes a day to improving your posture-
My philosophy is to keep moving, stretch do exercises within your limits and find something you enjoy.
Just 3 minutes a day dedicated to exercises to improve your posture can make a tremendous impact on your long term health. People who regularly stretch and maintain a good range of motion are less likely to suffer the negative effects of immobility.
4. Look at your diet and nutrition – Reduce sugar it reduces inflammation that can cause the pain!!
Maintaining a healthy spine, can help you maintain a healthier life.
If you are not local to me or find it hard to commit to a regular exercise session why not take a look at my Yummy tummy Programme. This programme gives you bite sized exercises which you can do anywhere. It is a 6 week programme which will help create a flat strong tummy, strong core muscles, and strong pelvic floor which will help solve many of the issues mentioned above. You get weekly emails and a Facebook support group to join so that you are given the best chance of succeeding over the 6 weeks. Click here to find out more or you can sign up below.
This weeks blog is a focus on one of our lovely teachers at Farnham Pilates, Sara Rounce. Sara teaches in the studio on Thursdays. She trained with The Pilates Institute in London back in 2003 and has enjoyed a varied career teaching classes at all levels and abilities as well as pregnancy, postnatal and seniors. Since having 3 children, Sara has become increasingly interested in pregnancy and postnatal exercise and is a specialist in this area.
Here’s what we asked Sara about her background in Pilates.
What is your favourite exercise and why?
I have two!
First is The Dart as it really focuses on extension of the spine whilst stabilising the shoulders. It is a strong exercise for the upper back and excellent for correcting poor posture. There are a lot of elements to get right which makes it a challenge to teach but it is so beneficial and I love the way client’s backs change when they make the correct movement in this exercise. You can see the ‘wings’ (scapulae) sink into the back and it is beautiful to see.
Secondly, The Plank! It is one of those exercises that, from a teaching perspective, most clients groan when I say that is what we are going to do next! However it is also one of the exercises that clients see the most or the quickest progress with and I find it a great benchmark. It is fantastic for building overall body strength, stamina and focusses on the core and the shoulders. It is great because you can easily modify to cover every ability level so everyone can join in and not feel left behind.
How do you like to structure a class?
My classes are usually an hour long and start with a standing warm up to focus the mind onto the body and to work on elements such as balance, coordination, centring and breathing. Then there is about 50 minutes of matwork exercises which involve lying on the back, side, front and seated movements. Then the last 5 minutes involves stretching and allowing the body to warm down.
What was your training and how long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for 12 years. I was trained by Michael King, Cherry Baker and Malcolm Muirhead and my inspirations are based on my initial training at the Pilates Institute in London as well as my time with my own inspirational Pilates teacher, Kira Bowie who owns Aberdeen Pilates Studio where I taught for 3 years and more recently Carolyne Anthony (Center of Women’s Fitness).
What is your main area of interest in Pilates?
I am passionate about post-natal recovery in women and in March 2015 I attended Carolyne Anthony’s course “Healing Exercises for Diastasis Recti, C-Section and Pubis Symphasis Derangement” which I now apply in my teaching. Having had 3 c-sections and suffered from diastasis recti myself, I realise how important these healing exercises are for new mums. I felt so passionately about helping women to recover after having a baby that I have developed the Postnatal App available on iTunes to help women around the world.
I hope you have enjoyed finding out a bit more about one of our teachers. You can read a bit more about Sara here and if you are interested in coming along to her class on a Thursday then do get in touch below.
March 8th is International Women’s Day, a global event celebrating the achievements of women around the world. This year the campaign focuses on the issues of inequality women still face every day. Another area where women are lagging behind is personal fitness. Studies have shown that women are up to 50% less likely to participate in sports and physical exercise than men. Research shows just 1/6 women has exercised regularly since childhood compared to 1/3 men.
Women often fall way down the list of priorities in their own lives and struggle to find time to work out. Family often comes first, followed by busy work schedules. It’s all too easy to say I’ll do it tomorrow.
Regular exercise has so many physical and psychological benefits. For example Pilates can help your alignment, posture, release tension in joints and improve your performance in all sports and can help relieve your back pain. I think we should use this day to encourage and inspire other women to have the life they deserve and show that anything is possible if we work hard and help each other.
With this in mind I am taking on a mammoth challenge this year. After not running since before having my 2 children now aged 9 and 11 years old, I am currently training to run the marathon and raising funds for the charity BackCare. See below for details of events that are helping me raise funds for my chosen charity – backcare.org.uk
Saturday 27th February 8-12pm – Curry and drinks at Hannah’s, Tickets are £20 and include welcome drink and Thai curry.
Friday 4th March 4-6pm – Children’s Disco in Rowledge Village Hall (aimed at primary school age children up to year 7 but all ages welcome). Tickets are £7.50 which includes a drink and party food.
Friday 15th April 8 till late – Mixed gender poker night at Hannah’s house. It’s £10 to play. You can bring your own booze or there will be an honesty bar to raise money.
Friday 22nd April 1-3pm Coffee afternoon at Becky’s house (21 Lickfolds Road.) Just come along for coffee and cake and donate money on the day.
To book onto any of the above events or for more info please email me Hannah@farnhampilates.com
Or if you wish to donate towards my fundraising here is my Virgin Money Giving Page
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.
Are you doing dry January? Whether you are trying it or not this month, it is a good time to check if you are drinking enough water. Drinking more water can curb appetite and sometimes hunger can be thirst so try a drink before eating.
Tip – did you know – Water is an absolutely essential thing for weight loss, staying healthy and looking after your body! It can be hard to keep on top of the old 8-glasses-a-day rule so here are 12 ways I think are a great way to keep your water intake up.
How to drink more water:
1) Don’t allow yourself a diet fizzy drink until you’ve drunk 2 glasses of water.
2) Have a glass of water every time you do something transitional – ie, sit down at your desk, get home from work, when you first wake up.
3) Keep a bottle in your handbag and take it everywhere you go – fill it up along the way.
4) When you go to fill up your bottle or glass, down it – and then fill up again! No sipping over time, just get hydrated then and there on the spot and you’ll feel the benefit immediately.
5) Freeze slices of lemon, lime or orange and use them instead of ice-cubes. So refreshing!
6) If you must drink a rare orange or apple juice, just fill it half way and fill the rest with water.
7) Take a two litre bottle to work and aim to drink it all by the end of the day. Leaving it on your desk will reduce time spent away from working and will be a constant reminder for you to drink it up.
8) Drink two full glasses of water at each meal – one before and one after. You could drink one before you have a snack too so you don’t eat as much. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just dehydrated!
9) Put reminders in your phone calendar! Every three hours would be good and you’ll remember throughout the day rather than remembering at night and trying to play catch up all at once.
10) It doesn’t all have to be cold! Drinking hot water and lemon or ginger is lovely. Make sure it’s caffeine-free though as caffeine actually robs you of water! Herbal teas are great instead of caffeine like mint tea, liquorice. I’ve become a fan of Three Tulsi.
11) When drinking alcohol have 1 glass of water to 1 wine/ bubbly etc you will feel better in the morning.
So drink up – bottoms up! If you take just one of these tips away, you’ll be on the right track to getting your 8 a day and you’ll definitely drink more water.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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
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!
Xmas 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 firstname.lastname@example.org