Get your fitness ready for International Women’s Day


Fitness and International Women's Day

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

Upcoming events:

Saturday 27th February 8-12pmCurry 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

Contact us

 

Pilates and Massage – a Perfect Match

Pilates and Massage

I’m sure I’m not alone in loving a good massage. It can work so well with Pilates clients who combine Pilates for strengthening and massage for relaxing tense muscles. Massage and Pilates really are a great match.

This week we have a guest blog from deep tissue and hot stone massage expert Aase Waterman. We work together to help clients and I absolutely believe that combining regular exercise like Pilates and massage keeps your body strong and mobile and releases unnecessary tension.

Why having a massage is definitely worth it

Pilates and massage

Aase Waterman

“If you have been thinking about having a massage but never got round to booking an appointment, wait no longer as there are numerous reasons why you should make regular massage part of your lifestyle. Massage is an excellent way not only to manage stress and reduce chronic pain and so improve your life, it can also act as a preventative measure and promote a sense of well-being. Today more and more people are turning to complementary therapies including massage as part of a balanced wellness plan.

The aches and pains that come from working long hours, sporting activities, ageing and daily stress can be reduced by regular massage. Recent Technology developments that affect your posture and can give upper back and shoulder symptoms can also benefit from massage.

Technology can play a huge part in today’s common ailments.

The plethora of smart devices such as phones, tablets and computers that we find ourself continuously using in today’s digital age, has led to an explosion in “technology” related conditions such as tight neck and shoulders or sore wrists and backs. A high percentage of clients complaints and worries about their is posture is often due to holding a device for long periods and repetitive activity such as texting or working at a computer leading to discomfort. Common muscular problems people seek a massage for, are for stiff neck and shoulder, and low back pain – this isn’t a coincidence!

Have you found yourself propped up in an awkward position reading information from your iphone or slouching on the sofa?

The technology explosion and increased multi tasking has had a negative impact on lifestyle, mindset and our stress levels so exercise and alternative therapies like massage can provide time and space away for this “techno-stress”.

Massage can provide a calming and relaxing therapy alongside the physical benefits it brings, and is ideal for people of all ages and lifestyle. It can also give you a greater body awareness that can help detect any potential issues earlier as a preventative measure. A time for you to unwind!

This is where I as a professional massage therapist can help people feel better, improve their mobility and flexibility and address any problematic aches and pains. The positive effects of massage can be prolonged by adapting regular stretching and exercise activities as part of a healthy lifestyle.

My training incorporates various techniques like deep tissue, clinical and Swedish massage, hot stone treatment, passive and active stretching, soft tissue and myofascial release. I take time to understand your background and treatments can be tailored to individual requirements.”

But don’t take our word for it. Here is a testimonial from a client who has seen both Aase for massage and myself for Pilates.

I thought my body was declining at 84 but since starting weekly one to one Pilates with Hannah in July and monthly massage since August I feel my posture is improved and I’m walking tall for the 1st time in years. I know you and Aase are going to keep me going until I’m 100!” Peter Hillier age 84, Farnham

If you would like to see and feel first hand how Pilates and Massage can work so effectively together, join us for our Xmas Wellbeing event. We will have bubbly, nibbles, massage (20 mins with Aase), Heated Pilates (more about this in next weeks blog!) and Positive Mindset workshop.  This will all take place on Thursday 10th Dec at our Garden Studio in Rowledge, Farnham.

12-1pm – Heated Pilates trial (booking necessary)
1-3pm – Coffee, bubbly, nibbles, massage
3-3.30pm – How to have a positive mindset and the importance of this.
To book your place contact hannah@farnhampilates.com.
 
For more details of Aase’s massage treatments do visit her website 
 

 


Can Christmas give you back pain?

Can Christmas give you back pain-There are many activities you may have to do around the Christmas season that can cause common problems and injuries. As back pain affects 80% of us at some point, here is some advice about what to do to prevent problems –

The first line of treatment has traditionally been paracetamol, but new research has found it may be no more effective than a sugar pill. It is better to prevent by strengthening your abdominal muscles and back to help stabilising then stretching and strengthening around your weak muscles.

The most important thing to consider first is what’s actually causing your lower back pain. By considering this question you’ll be able to choose the right techniques or treatments to get to the root cause and move towards a much speedier recovery. For the most part, lower back pain is caused by strains to the soft tissues, the muscles, tendons or ligaments, and/or to the joints underlying the commons problems.

Here are some common activities over the festive period that can contribute to back pain and some tips as to how you can minimise this.

1. Cooking, washing up, prepping food, you may be standing for long periods of time. This can cause sore feet, swollen ankles and puffy legs, tense shoulders and ultimately back pain.

2. Making beds, shaking duvet, bending, lifting, moving items, getting the house ready, cleaning, gardening – clearing leaves and digging, All can cause sore wrists and knees and back pain.

3. Sitting for long periods – writing cards, wrapping etc all causing sore hands and fingers and back pain.

All of the above can cause these common problems ….

REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURYMore commonly seen in the upper body, this type of injury can occur in the lower back when an action is continually repeated over a long period of time, causing stress to the joints or soft tissues.

It happens due to a repetitive pattern in movement usually caused by work or sport.

For example, if at work you constantly have to turn to your right, the right side of your lower back could become compressed, irritated and inflamed.

How to fix it? Try to adapt and balance the movement of your body throughout the day.

If a pattern of movement is unavoidable then stretching in the counter direction would be beneficial. All of the above activities could contribute to repetitive strain injury so try and vary the jobs you do and don’t spend to long on one thing. Your aim is to balance out your body preventing one side taking all the strain.

A regular massage with an experienced therapist may be helpful too. Or massage your feet or have a game everyone massaging feet.
Some preventative measures you could take are as follows …

Always consider your posture, look in the mirror look at how you stand and sit, pull the shoulders back, lift up through the spine.

Stop and stretch every hour. Even going for a gentle walk for five minutes can do wonders.

Low impact regular exercise is best such as yoga, pilates, swimming and walking. This will also help your stress levels over the festive season too.

Regularly move shoulders, roll them and do back stretches.

Be mindful of posture alignment and back pain and use your pelvic floor engage the abdominals before you lift .

ACUTE MUSCLE OR JOINT STRAIN

This is probably the most common injury to happen to the lower back and quite often occurs when lifting, over reaching, so when moving furniture around, making beds etc.

Symptoms can include muscle spasm, pain (which can be severe) and restricted movement.

Overreaching, twisting or stretching causes the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the area to tighten to prevent further damage and inflammation will build up as part of the natural healing process. Fast treatment is the most effective for this.

Some preventative measures you could take are as follows …

Always bend the knees and engage core before lifting

Can Christmas give you back pain

Always bend at the knees not at the back before lifting.

 

How to fix it? Immediately put an ice pack on the area for ten minutes at least. Repeat this several times until the inflammation begins to subside.

If the muscles have tightened up you could also alternate with a hot pack to help them relax, but start and finish with the cold pack to ease the inflammation and reduce the pain.

As with any injury rest is important to allow the body time to heal, but don’t spend hours sitting or lying down as this could make it worse. Find a good balance and when it has calmed down a little, stretch the area out with exercises such as shoulder bridge, rock on your lower back. You may find massaging arnica cream into the strained area beneficial.

So do enjoy the festive season, but don’t overdo it. Make time for yourself and make sure you enjoy some exercise too which will help keep your body in tip top condition.

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

Back Care for Parents (and what to do if it hurts!)

Back care for parentsWhen you’re a parent lifting is part of the job, but like most aspects of parenting you don’t get any training for it. However if you don’t take care of your back when lifting this can have serious consequences down the line. Here are some tips and ideas to help keep a healthy back when you are a parent.


Be careful when lifting – don’t bend from your hips. Use your legs and keep your child close to you. Injuries will occur if you pick your child up with your arms outstretched. This happened personally in the summer when moving pilates equipment. After 4 weeks off with no core strengthening, my back just went. It was agony! I had to just lie down and move slowly, so I understand and had to follow my own advice of keep stretching and moving and slowly building up the core exercises.

 

Kneel or squat where possible – when buckling your child into a car seat it’s a pretty awkward position to stand outside the car and twist in. It’s much easier and better for your back to try and kneel or squat in front of your child.

 

Use alternate arms – when carrying your child, try not to lift for long periods on just one side.

 

Check your breastfeeding posture – whilst breastfeeding make sure you are sitting straight and lift your baby to the breast, don’t lean over bringing the breast down. Use pillows to make yourself comfortable and try and sit in a chair with a firm back to support you.

 

Never twist whilst lifting! – Always lift and then turn.

 

Pay attention to your fitness – work on your core and strengthen your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. A great way to do this is by joining a Pilates class. During pregnancy the abdominal and core muscles weaken. It is important to rebuild them to help improve your posture and reduce back pain.

 

Avoid standing for long periods – this increases the pressure on your back. Keep mobile and enjoy gentle exercise such as Pilates, yoga, walking or swimming to keep your muscles and joints flexible.

 

Don’t rush – you may be lifting heavy, unfamiliar objects such as car seats and push chairs. Move slowly and pay attention to what you are doing.

 

Don’t overdo it – take a break when and if possible.

 

What to do if you get an injury:

    • If it’s a chronic tightness, stiffness or nagging pain try applying a heat pack.
    • If it’s a sudden acute injury, e.g. a pull in the back or twinge in the neck, stop and rest. Use an ice pack if you have one and consult your health professional.
    • Do some appropriate stretching or strengthening exercises to stretch tight muscles and improve joint range of motion. You can find exercises online or get a specific programme made up for you by an osteopath. We have a number of back care exercises for you to try here

  • A massage is a great way to relax and unwind whilst relieving your sore muscles, so go on, treat yourself!
  • Painkillers might be a short term solution but if you want to look after your health in the long run you need to get to the cause of your pain. If pain continues to be a problem or becomes more severe, visit your doctor or osteopath – don’t just put up with it!
  • If you notice any other symptoms such as neurological signs (headaches, numbness, weakness), general unwellness or bowel or bladder changes you should contact your doctor immediately.

Here at Farnham Pilates we are running a specific Back Care course small group course in the garden studio from Nov 3rd – Dec 8th. These sessions will take exercises slowly to increase strength, mobilise and stretch muscles, check your imbalances and correct bad habits. If you would like to know more visit our classes page.

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

Back Care Awareness Week 2015

Back Care Awareness Week 2015

This week is back care awareness week 2015. I will be looking and asking you to participate in back care awareness to raise awareness of the problems back pain can cause as well as prevention and treatments. A main message from the organiser BackCare is to stand and not sit at work. Charity “getBritainstanding.org” encourage active working.

There is recent research below on the advantages of standing at work. It does suggest there are advantages of standing but there are a few cons that I will look at as well. I will examine the advantages of standing or being more active at work to help prevention of problems, and then treatments such as exercises to do to mobilise stretch muscles and strengthen your back. I will also look at other treatments available to help prevent or relieve pain.

This week I want you to be aware of your posture as you work, How long you sit for in the day, posture of your shoulders and lower back. Draw a picture and send it to me.

What is the distance away and height of your computer? If you carry things at work how do you lift them? Think about engageing your core muscles before you lift (message me if you want more on that). Use the stairs at work not the lift. Are you a carer? Do you lift properly?

Key Findings

1) A School in Bradford West Yorkshire took part in a seven week long study with students standing rather than sitting in July 2015 to prevent sedentary behaviour. They compared to a school in Australia and discovered it increased their step count and in class activity levels increasing blood circulation, heart rate and calorie expenditure and additionally showed improvements in behaviour, engagement and academic performance.  You can read more about this project here.

2) A 2015 study published in the Oxford Journal of Public Health shows that sit-to-stand desks in classrooms appear to be an effective way of reducing sedentary behaviour (prolonged sitting) in a diverse sample of children.

3) At their 2013 annual meeting, the American Medical Association adopted policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting and encouraging employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting, such as sit-stand desks.

4) A 2011 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that when workers are equipped with sit-stand workstations, prolonged sitting is reduced and mood states improve.

5) A 2009 University of Queensland study found that even when adults meet physical activity guidelines, sitting for prolonged periods can compromise metabolic health.

Disadvantages

If you stand there are certain postures that will make your lower back pain worse – So if you have a lordotic lower back curve (Ie, postnatal, an excessive pelvis tilt and lower back curve. Don’t lean on one leg, have a moveable chair, keep mobile, still be aware of your shoulders.

So if you are worried about your back at work why not try this stretch?

If you are concerned about your posture come and see me for a posture analysis and I will give you exercises and stretches to help prevent back pain.

 

Pilates and Dance – Strictly Amazing!

10 weeks ago I had an email request for volunteers for a Phyllis Tuckwell dancing event. I answered the email as I thought we’d be interviewed and auditioned, but no, suddenly we were in and our first rehearsal was on Sunday! Now I had to admit to my husband now what I’d got us in to. My husband has never really danced apart from when he’s a bit tipsy at weddings, but he said he’d do it for charity and if I really really wanted to do it! As I used to dance and do ballet and perform with my dance school I was overjoyed – I missed it.
Pilates and Dance

A moment to cherish! – with Strictly professionals Janette and Alijaz

Unfortunately we couldn’t make the 1st week or second because of prior commitments, so when we made it we were really behind. I didn’t tell anyone but I had fallen and I had a really bad back from an old hip injury caused by a car accident 10 years ago. So I went with a back support (hidden under clothes). My other half had knee pain but we got in with it.

 

Each week we got to know the other dancers but were always late as both self employed and 2 young kids with parties, Sunday swimming etc – you know how it is. Even though I had done modern dance and ballet with we just couldn’t remember the steps –  it was so disappointing and we were beginning to panic! But luckily another hall was organised for extra practice on Thursdays and we could walk through and ask each other for help.

 

Due to the back and hip pain I stopped running so I wasn’t putting pressure on my back and joints and walked instead. I doubled the Pilates strengthening flexibility moves so was getting stronger with Pilates in my core muscles and balance for the leg kicks. I was also stretching all the time, especially after each dance and Pilates class. Bit by bit my back and hips were easing and getting loser, increasing flexiblility meant less pain in my bottom and lower back – I could move in my sleep without crying!

 

Last week I accepted the performance was last Friday so started telling my clients.  I have been raising money through family and friends and had 26 coming to watch.  I’m so grateful for all the support and had to admit I started getting excited especially when we realised we raised nearly £2000. The excitement built with nails, hair trial, last practice then drinks, we bonded with the other couples in our joint nervousness! Then friday performance night came and I was so excited and nervous, but my husband was relaxed! We performed to a clapping standing ovation! What an amazing thrill! The adrenaline was going round my body so I was nearly sick. In the performance I had to try to stop giggling with nerves especially the serious paso doble. The little mistakes didn’t matter but immediately after we wanted to do it all again – what a lot of work for 6 minutes!!!

Pilates and Dance

Me and my amazing hubby!

I’m so proud of my non-dancing totally supportive husband who just wanted to do it as he thought I’d love it, and I did but he worked so hard. We became firm friends with the others and want to start a dance class and have drinks and practices together with the lovely Angie of Angela’s School of Dance. I really can’t believe it’s over !

 

If you get get the chance do it the teachers at Angela’s School of Dance and Stephanie Bower are amazing, supportive and helpful. Go for it, it’s scary but it’s good for you, it helps you stay mobile and flexible and is a great fit with Pilates and apart from a bit of stretching after the splits in our final freestyle I feel pretty amazing!!! 20 all over again!
Pilates and Dance

Our fellow dancers

If you practice a sport or dance and feel Pilates could benefit your performance with added strength and flexibility do take a look at our Pilates classes or get in touch – hannah@farnhampilates.co.uk

 

Hannah’s top reasons to do Pilates

Pilates has really worked for me which is why I became a teacher. The first time I needed to do Pilates was after a car accident, and then throughout both of my pregnancies. Today, if I ever feel out of alignment or in pain, Pilates is the only answer – I can do it in five minutes and I know I’ll feel better. I believe it’s about a balanced, happy body and mind.

Joseph Pilates designed this revolutionary system of exercise in the 1950s and he is still very much respected and referred to today.
“Pilates is the complete coordination of body, mind and spirit” Joseph Pilates

Hannahs Top Reasons to do Pilates

1. The most important thing Pilates does is support your core, strengthen abdominals, back and pelvic floor. This is important for spinal stability. We don’t guarantee a flat tummy but you’ll certainly get a smaller waist- however we will focus on that next week and how you can improve your tummy with “Hannah’s 7 steps to a summer yummy tummy and her favourite abdominal exercises

2. Your balance will improve – try and balance on one leg – if you wobble you need to do Pilates!

3. Your body will have a better posture and proper alignment which improves your self esteem. Look in the mirror – You will look and walk better as more straight and confident with 2 inches taller!

4. Pilates keeps you fit and toned as you age. As our body and hormones change through the seasons of our life. So its right for all stages i.e. post-natal recovery; amazing 40s; sensational 50s; and sexy 60s plus# whether an athlete or recovering from an injury, the level can be adapted for you!

5. Pilates breathing will help you focus and relax the mind – it will improve your circulation, stimulate the spine and muscles. You will sleep better and learn to relax when stressed, as we run such busy lives. As you focus on the movement, the body and mind will work together more giving mind body awareness.

6. You may well look slimmer as the muscles lengthen and tone and it encourages better body circulation to aid weight loss.

top reasons to do pilates

Pilates can enhance your life in so many ways

7. You will improve your pelvic floor (which in turn leads to a better sex life!!). We rely on these muscles more than you think – they are our foundation like a tree’s roots. Your Pelvic floor is so important not just during and after pregnancy for women ALL their life. We need it strong to support our organs and prevent incontinence – if you have a slight leak when you cough of laugh you need to address this now – it means something is wrong . Your pelvic floor may be weak or Pilates will help you relax other muscles so it can get stronger.

8. You will improve the tone of your muscles (less wobbly bits!) as Pilates wont over develop some areas more than others and each movement lengthens the muscles, Pilates focuses on long lean muscles using eccentric contractions – lengthening not on the contraction like a bicep curl but the return phase i.e. lowering your leg.

9. Your joints will be more mobile and therefore help you feel better and prevent injury – not so stiff keeping fluid moving to prevent stiff joints and less pain which is relevant for all ages!

10. You will feel more flexible as Pilates stretches works on the stretch and increasing of the muscles and range of motion within joints. Clients say they feel so much better and their body feels lengthened and lighter after stretching the muscles and with more relaxed muscles tension in your neck, shoulders and lower back can relax and you’ll have less tightness and pain.

11. It is amazing pain relief as the exercises will isolate or focus on one or a few muscles at a time i.e. your bottom or one leg this will stop your dominate side taking over -as it may when you walk/ run or work. Your body will learn to isolate a muscle and therefore your body and muscles will be more balanced so no pain down one side if you over use it. Or as we get older people tend to lean, so working the weak side will stop this. So it is relevant for rehab after injury, also athletes and all ages – we adapt the exercise for different levels and give modifications so classes tailored to all.

12. Pilates will increase your energy and help you sleep well –and keep you pain free to do more of the things you enjoy like gardening, golf, running, skiing, cycling.

You will get addicted to Pilates plus any exercise you enjoy with make you happy, you will look forward to your session or class and you will stick to it. Pilates classes are fun and relaxing and you may make some friends that motivate you to want to do more!

Testimonial from a client “We started Hannah’s Pilates classes when we were training for the London to Paris Bike Ride to celebrate our 40th birthday and the classes saved us! They made an amazing difference to my body while training and helped relieve stiff limbs and a bad back as Hannah stretched us out and corrected our bike posture. The exercises and stretches were essential for our tired muscles during the challenge at the end of each day, and I’m sure a strong core contributed to us completing the ride with no injuries. We have continued the classes and I have found it is a huge difference to how my body feels and releases any tension after daily work and home stresses. Thanks Sophie Hardy Farnham.

For more info on our Yummy Tummy Programme click here