Saturday, May 31, 2014

It’s starting to warm up (well a little!) and I have vowed to have my girls and I take our dog for a walk every night after dinner. Claire needs to toughen up on her endurance to make it around the block (After 4 house scooter ride she is complaining of her legs hurting…she’s my drama queen!), Emma is perfecting her ability to ride her bike without training wheels and we could all use the extra fresh air after this long winter!
It’s already May and it’s time to start celebrating Arthritis Awareness Month by taking a walk!
What is arthritis? Arthritis is a term used to umbrella many different medical conditions. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis. To put it most simply, arthritis-related joint problems include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joint cartilage (the smooth tissue that covers the ends of the bones, allowing them to glide against one another). Cartilage damage can lead to joint weakness and instability that can interfere with walking, climbing stairs, using a computer keyboard, cutting your food or brushing your teeth.
Walking is a low impact activity that improves arthritis pain, fatigue levels and overall quality of life. But here’s a staggering stat: over 50% of adults with arthritis do not walk at all for exercise throughout the week!
The American College of Sports Medicine and the Center of Disease Control and Prevention jointly issued national guidelines recommending “moderate intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days each week or vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 days each week.”

Moderate-intensity exercise refers to level of exertion during exercise that raises your heart rate to a point where you sweat and feel you are working, yet you are able to carry on a conversation (i.e. walking at a brisk pace – 4mph)

Does 30 minutes a day seem too intimidating? Break it up throughout the day. Take your dog for a 10 minute walk in the morning. Walk with a co-worker for 10 minutes over lunch to discuss plans for your next meeting. Walk around the fields when waiting to pick up your kids from practice. Breaking it up makes it more manageable, you will help lubricate your joints, and you will feel better at the end of your day!

Now I just need to get Claire on board!

- Jen Bazan, PT, DPT

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Happy Pilates month!!

Let’s face it, there are some days after work when I feel like I can’t do any more. I want to go home, lay on the couch and veg out. And some days, this happens on a Tuesday, my Pilates nights.  So I reluctantly change into my workout clothes, grab my mat, set the mood with some music and begin teaching.

It takes me less than the first minute in to remember why I love Pilates so much and before I know it, I’m revitalized and feeling so much better! This is how I should end every evening!

I have a lot of patients and friends that aren’t even really sure of what Pilates is. You hear of PiYo, Piloxing, hybrid forms of the original version, but the true method of Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates during the first half of the 20th century in Germany. Pilates is a conditioning routine that focuses on building flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in the legs, abs, arm, hips and back.  It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates was developed with the intention of strengthening the human body and the mind through five basic principles:

Concentration: Pilates demands concentration. You must concentrate on what your body is doing in order to produce smooth movements.

Control: You must control every aspect of your movement during Pilates practice. All exercises are done with control of the muscles working to lift against gravity, controlling the movement of the body.

Centering: For participants to control their bodies, they must have a starting place: the center. The center is the focal point of the Pilates Method and is referring to the powerhouse: abs, lower and upper back, hips, butt and inner thighs. All movement in Pilates should begin from the powerhouse and flow outward to the extremities.

Flow of movement: Pilates aims for fluidity of movement, transitioning between skills in the Pilates routine. The exercises are intended to flow within and into each other in order to build strength and stamina.  The Pilates technique emphasizes that physical energy exerted from the center should coordinate movements of the arms and legs, moving outwards from a strong core.

Precision: Precision of movement is essential to Pilates practice. Joseph Pilates believed, “"concentrate on the correct movements each time you exercise, lest you do them improperly and thus lose all the vital benefits of their value.” The more precise you are with your movement, the more benefit you feel from each time you practice.

Breathing:  Joseph Pilates also concentrates on the importance of breathing and saw value in bringing oxygenated blood to every part of the body. Concentrating on full inhalation and complete exhalation allows the participant to fully cleanse and invigorate the body and help fully engage their lower abdominals and pelvic floor muscles. 

I truly feel refreshed, leaner and longer after my Pilates practice. I encourage all of you to step out of your comfort zone and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed! 

- Jen Bazan, PT, DPT