Feedback from students –
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.
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
We are delighted to announce that we are adding Heated Pilates to our timetable at Farnham Pilates from January, 2016.
But what is Heated Pilates?
Heated or warm flowing Pilates is an effective workout in a warm environment. The class uses the benefit of heat to help muscles into muscles more deeply and effectively and the heat allows for a greater range of movement in muscles, ligaments and joints. A heated Pilates class covers a number of areas including Dynamic Mobility, Strength, Flexibility, Balance and Core Stability Work.
Here are the top 5 reasons to try Heated Pilates
1) Detoxification -Obviously when exercising in heat you will sweat more, and sweating promotes detoxification through the skin. Sweating is very effective in flushing out toxins and it also helps the body cleanse itself and clears bacteria out of the skin. Sweating can improve circulation and the appearance of your skin too.
2) Increased Flexibility – The high temperatures allow you to stretch your muscles further and can reduce the risk of injuries. It can also improve circulation and can help ease bodily pains, strains and stresses. This can lead to healthier connective tissue as the additional stretching helps lubricate your body’s connective tissue which will in turn help your flexibility.
3) Mental Wellbeing – Heated Pilates can help your mental wellbeing by fighting stress and insomnia. This is achieved by inducing relaxation and encouraging sleep by calming and soothing your adrenal system and nerves. All the normal benefits of Pilates are enhanced in a warm class.
4) A healthier immune system – In hot temperatures viruses cannot thrive. Additionally, the heat increases your body’s production of white blood cells, which also fight infection.
5) Weight loss – Sweating will help you lose some weight, but more noteably, the stretching builds more muscle, burning more fat and therefore increases weight loss.
Sound good? We’ve had some great feedback already from a couple of trial sessions we have run.
We will be running a new Heated Pilates course at the Garden Pilates Studio, Rowledge, Farnham on Thursdays at 1pm starting February 4th 2016. We currently have a special offer – a course of 6 sessions for just £75 instead of £90. Email email@example.com for full details
To see our full programme of classes for the New Year, including Heated Pilates visit our classes page.
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
“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.
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.
So 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.