Let’s talk hydration!
We can go for three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. So, staying continuously hydrated seems to be a no brainer. Water serves as an integral part of the body and has important roles such as:
· Carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
· Regulating blood pressure
· Aiding digestion
· Preventing constipation
· Cushioning joints
· Maintaining electrolyte balance
· Regulating temperature
A common rule that many of us try and follow to stay hydrated is to drink 8 cups of water a day. But where did this rule come from? Well the myth that we need 8 glasses a day likely originated from a study conducted by the U.S food and nutrition board in 1945, where they recommended 2.5 litres of water a day. People took on board that advice without taking into consideration that the fluid recommendation included water that was naturally contained in food. People continued to follow this adage, even though till this day there is no research to show that 8 glasses is the optimal amount.
Maybe instead of following this old and arbitrary rule, why don’t we trust in what has worked for us for thousands of years, our body’s thirst response. We should let our body guide us, drink when you are thirsty and don’t ignore what your body is asking. Yes in certain conditions we need to drink more so than usual, such as when you have a urinary tract infection or diarrhea, or in some medical conditions we need to restrict fluid intake such as people with congestive heart failure, but let your general practitioner decide on that.
Using the colour of your urine is a more robust way to look at your hydration needs. Your urine should be light yellow, if it looks like water you’re drinking more than you need, if it is dark yellow or even orange you need to drink more.
Staying hydrated whilst exercising
While the risk of dehydration is well known and documented, it is possible to become overhydrated during exercise leading to a condition known as exercised associated hyponatremia (EAH). EAH is mainly associated with sporting events lasting more than 2 hours, so sports such as hockey, basketball and soccer would not be at risk. Hyponatremia is a condition where there is low salt concentration. During prolonged exercise excessive sodium loss can occur through sweat, coupled with many athletes consuming more water than is needed causes the concentration of salt levels in our blood to drop leading to EAH.
In 2002 the dangers of overhydration became known when a 28-year-old collapsed during the race and died two days later due to EAH. In subsequent years Harvard Medical School conducted studies and found that around 13% of Boston marathon runners had hyponatremia, with the strongest predictor of hyponatremia was due to excessive fluid intake. In fact, athletes who collapse from heat illness during exercise are often quite well-hydrated.
So how do we avoid this? Well because sodium is lost in sweat, it is very important for those are preparing for a marathon to get adequate sodium before, during and after exercise, especially if they continually drink water. As a safeguard during intensive prolonged exercise drinking fluids that contain sodium can help. However drinking sports drinks can only help slightly, with EAH mainly related to the total fluid intake during exercise.
The key is to simply drink when you feel thirsty, this be during exercise or day to day life. It isn’t necessary to stay ahead of your thirst. Try and have a glass of water with each meal and use the colour of your urine to decide whether you need another glass of water.
As the weather warms up many of us are starting to think about ways in which we can better look after ourselves for the summer months! Not all of this is about vanity – there is some science behind the hibernation like patterns of winter and the increased activity levels of the summer months. Our bodies have natural patterns and rhythms and one of them is the increase in metabolic rates for the warmer months.
So, before you pull out last season’s bikini and stand in front of the mirror judging yourself, be a little kind, thank your body for the wonderful work it did in keeping you warm over winter and make a (fun) plan for gently easing yourself back to your summer self.
This really can be kept quite simple! It involves energy input – energy output – and a little understanding about the body’s requirements and how they change as the weather warms up. To spell it out …
Energy Input = put in less energy than your expending. This can be done in one of two ways, consume less or move more!
Energy Output = use more energy than your consuming. The options here are endless, pick something you enjoy, after all this is a reward to yourself not a punishment!
Body’s Changing Requirements = As the months warm up there are a few things to consider;
- Increase your fluid intake (non-caffeinated)
- Choose lighter options, full of more fluids, fresh fruit and veg are great
- Decrease your meats, especially red meats
- Watch out for the silly seasons sneaks Alcohol – Party Food – Desserts
It’s really that simple! Energy in + Energy out + Body requirements!
To reflect the change in season we have updated our class timetable with more fast paced classes such as Barre and Circuit to give you that extra boost and have you jumping into your bikini body summer ready!
Recovery from the soccer season: Signs you may need Physiotherapy
With the soccer season well and truly over, many players cast their body woe’s aside, pledging to pick them up again before next season. Learn why NOW is the best time to fix those last season injuries and ensure they don’t come back to haunt you in 2019!
By now most of your bruises, aches and pains should have subsided! Any acute swelling should have gone down and what you might be left with is a body that’s feeling reasonably good in comparison to the post game soreness of the last few months. However, that little niggle on your ankle, the pinch in your groin and the ache in your lower back are signs that your body hasn’t fully recovered and rather than waiting for those compensations to rear their ugly heads next year, why not get on top of them now!
Physiotherapist – Lana Johnson, explains why “the off seasons is often a time when players don’t think too much about training, but it is in fact THE BEST time for injury rehabilitation and skill improvement!” By addressing any weakness in the biomechanical chain and the necessary compensation you developed to get you through the semi’s, you can ensure that next season your back on the field for longer, performing to your best!
The reason being, during the playing season, there is little room for technique correction, unloading and skill enhancement. This is because so much time is taken up by conditioning, team skill set’s, game day and recovery. The off season is the perfect time for picking apart your weaknesses and zeroing in on them to ensure your core strength is where it needs to be, your hamstrings are as mobile as they need to be and your ankle stability is on point!
Lana suggests the following exercises which she finds of benefit for many top soccer players in the down season, to ensure their game day ready when the next season rolls around!
- 1) Core Stability: it’s been a big buzz focus for the past few years, and for good reason. Soccer requires a lot of direction change under high speeds and all that agility comes at a necessary price. Good core control is essential on the field, and unfortunately is often over looked in a typical mid-season program. I find these following exercises great additions to your off-season protocol for reducing the risk of spine, pelvis and groin related injuries.
- a. Bridging: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bridging/
- b. Side to Side: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/side-side-feet-off-floor/ :
- c. Femur Arcs: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/femur-arcs-2/
- 2) Hip Dissociation: all that kicking required can mean soccer players are able to dissociate their hips from their pelvis at high speeds and under high loads. We often see this element of training ignored in mid-season training programs which are heavily focussed on fitness and ball skills. The following exercises are a must in the off seasons to continue to ensure players are able to dissociate their hip mobility from their pelvis stability and ensure a great kicking game.
- a. Bent Knee Fall Out: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bent-knee-fall-2/
- b. Arabesque: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/arabesque-2/
- 3) Lower Limb Strength and Agility: we all know soccer isn’t gentle on the lower limbs, ankles and knees in particular. While strength is an important requirement, the agility that is required of the feet, ankles, knees and hips in soccer is almost unparalleled. These exercises will keep you strong in the off season while ensuring your agility is not lost from too much concentric loading.
- a. Bulgarian Lunges: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/bulgarian-lunge/
- b. Split Squats: http://www.movebeautiful.com/topic/squats-and-split-squats/
If you have a niggle that hasn’t resolved by now it may well be worth while seeking out the advice of a Physiotherapist to determine if there is any lasting damage or biomechanical abnormalities they can be improved before next season! After all prevention, as always, is better than cure!
Many people ask me “how do I get a lean, toned, summer ready body?” and while some of it is body type and genetics, a large portion of it is plastic … meaning it’s up to you and the types of movements and foods you eat!
Pilates was originally developed to rehabilitate injured dancer’s in NYC. Joseph Pilates realised that many dance injuries occurred when the dancer’s bodies weren’t strong enough to control both concentric and eccentric movements… um, in lay person terms please? … their bodies weren’t strong enough to control the lengthening phases of many of their movements. This lengthening phase known as ‘eccentric’ muscle work is one of Pilates best kept secrets!
All too often we hear people saying “I don’t want to do resistance training at the gym because I don’t want to look like a body builder I want to look like a dancer!” and while this is a slight exaggeration (you won’t look like a body builder doing the right resistance training) there is no mistaking a Pilates body is supple, lean, toned and lethal ;) and it’s all thanks to its use of eccentric control.
So, what is this ‘eccentric control’ all about and how can it help me create my ultimate summer body? To build muscle you first need to apply some stress to it, but it’s the type of stress you apply that effects how the muscle is built. Big loads, small ranges and little reps create big robust muscles. Whereas in Pilates the load is reduced (but the burn is still there!) the range is increased and the muscles are required to work both in a lengthening and a shortening phase. The result … muscles that are long lean and strong as heck!
Now you know our secret – Pilates will get you there this Summer and if that’s not enough we have a red hot offer for our new clients 2 weeks of unlimited classes for just $29 (which if your with a health fund you can claim 100% of it back!) SO … what are you waiting for? Make this summer your year and get your best body yet!
I’ll be the first to admit, group exercise is not always run well! If you’re like me you might be having visions of the person in the session who asks never ending questions, or the guy in the corner with cringe worthy technique. But it doesn’t have to be this way! In fact, there are numerous benefits to Group Exercise classes when then are structured and run correctly, and you don’t have to be the extraverted type to reap the rewards!
The most obvious plus side of group exercise is the motivational aspect. When fatigue kicks in and the little monkey in your mind says ‘give up, it’s too hard’ there is a lot to be said for the energy in the room picking you up and carrying you just that little bit further. It’s a lot harder to quiet when there are 9 other people struggling alongside you. Some of you may argue that a one on one trainer could have the same effect, and while this may be true for some of you, many people need that group energy and dynamic to help them fight fatigue and dig deep for those last 5 reps!
Of course, how hard you work doesn’t matter if you can’t even get to class in the first place! The second great benefit of group exercise is the accountability factor. When Sue, Jim and Sally are expecting you to be there on a cold rainy Tuesday night, even if your dreaming of your PJ’s and a hot chocolate, there is something about the group mentality which says ‘don’t let them down’ and almost against your will you find yourself pulling on your tights and getting pumped for a class you probably would have otherwise not attended.
Then there is the biggest plus side, fun! For most people a work out is simply more enjoyable done with a group of people. The banter, camaraderie and all round good time is much harder to create by yourself and one on one with a trainer. It is worth mentioning here that it takes a special kind of instructor to balance the fun times with serious training which requires concentration and technique. After all you don’t want the session to turn into an all-out comedy fest, but there is no denying it, exercise is more enjoyable when shared with friends!
Finally, and mostly because of the above reasons, it is often found that long term results are better when exercise is performed in a group. Providing your trainer is skilled enough to still deliver a specific and appropriate session to your body’s needs, the enjoyment factor means that participants often stay committed for longer and thus your results are better than if you were relying on ‘when you feel like it’ approach.
So, there you have it, group exercise, it’s not for everyone but when done well it has a whole host of benefits!
But why take my word for it, book your next BPS class here and start seeing the benefits for yourself!
Barre, no it’s not where you head on a Friday arvo to wind down with your work colleagues and have a sneaky few … although maybe it should be!
Barre is a fusion of Pilates, old school cardio and Ballet all mixed together into a 60min heart pumping class - guaranteed to have you laughing, sweating and wondering why you hadn’t been doing this your whole life!
It solves the age-old question of ‘Cardio vs Weights’. The result - a lean and toned physique similar to that of a ballet dancer, minus the leotard (although you can wear leg warmers if you like!)
In all seriousness, this class is great for those who are looking to improve their cardiovascular fitness but at the same time want to strengthen the small core muscles of their spine, pelvis, hips, shoulders and feet. With its roots in ballet and Pilates, Barre class focusses on teaching you how to use your connection to the floor to create strength throughout your body. While the assistance of the barre enables you to work on your balance and control – ultimately aiming to be able to perform the class without the assistance of the barre.
A word of warning, this class is not for the faint hearted. The blood pumping tunes, thigh burning squats and general ‘no rest’ choreography means you will need to bring your best cardiovascular fitness. Not to fear – if you’re still working on it, the barre is the place to challenge it!
Ready to give it a go? Book into a Barre class today!
Lower back pain can be very debilitating and the last thing you may want to do is move! However, movement is the key ingredient to expediting your recovery from and prevention of future bouts of lower back pain. Here’s 10 reasons why:
- Fear avoidance and guarding – lengthens healing process
- When we are in pain we want to avoid pain and discomfort. Seems natural. But in doing so, the muscles in our back guard up and prevent free flowing natural movement. The bigger, superficial muscles take over while the deeper, stabilising muscles turn off. If this is not corrected, the body will form maladaptive movement strategies which may lead to chronic lower back pain or other musculoskeletal injuries. Sound familiar?
- Physical Activity vs. Structured Exercise
- Unstructured physical activity includes activities of daily living such as walking, sitting and standing, cooking and other housework. This differs from exercise which is planned and repetitive. Getting back to physical activity early is essential in recovery from acute lower back pain in improving blood flow and promoting local healing. Normalising movement is also essential early on to prevent chronic issues.
- Blood flow
- Physical activity increases blood flow to the lumbar spine and surrounding structures which is essential for soft tissue healing. Not moving will restrict blood flow and weaken the supporting musculature, prolonging healing time.
- Release of hormones – endorphins
- As well as increasing blood flow and nutrients to the soft tissues in the back, exercise increases the release of endorphins in the brain (especially aerobic exercise), which bind to opiate receptors in the pain control system in your brain to decrease your perception of pain – like how morphine and codeine work. Movement and exercise is the natural drug!
- Postural muscles weaken – susceptible to future injury
- The bones in our vertebrae are not designed to withstand a lot of load for extended periods of time. This is the role of our deep ‘core’ muscles in our back and abdomen. The longer we restrict movement following a bout of back pain, the more these muscles weaken and forget how to be recruited in functional movement. This will lead to longer recovery and potentially recurring bouts of lower back pain.
- Changing positions to offload passive structures
- Vertebral bones, discs and ligaments are passive structures which need to be placed in positions of mechanical advantage. By adjusting postural positions appropriately, the load can be shared away from the injured structure.
- Improving your function
- Improving your function will improve your pain. Functional movement will recruit the appropriate muscles, improve blood flow and protect the spine from further damage. It will also allow your brain to maintain healthy movement patterns and avoid maladaptive strategies.
- Improving and maintaining range of motion, not only in your lumbar spine but also in your hips and thoracic spine, will reduce load on your lumbar spine and reduce your recovery time. Not moving will further reduce flexibility, may cause imbalances in other parts of your body and lengthen recovery time.
- Psychosocial factors – pain is a function of the mind!
- The more we think movement will cause damage to our back, the more our brain will reinforce this belief by sending pain signals. Appropriate movement will not cause further damage to your back, especially in the acute stage. In fact, it’s essential that you move to show your brain that it is okay.
- Body of research to support movement in lower back pain recovery
- Don’t take my word for it. There are countless clinical trials and research articles to support the necessity of returning to normal activity rather than bed rest in recovering from lower back pain.
Pilates vs Running, they seem like worlds apart. On one hand you have the precision, control and detailed focus on body awareness of Pilates, on the other hand you have the ... precision, control and detailed focus of running! Oh wait - they may not be that different after all.
Great runners will tell you they are always aiming for that extra 1%. The extra 1% off their time, the extra 1% that enables their breathing to improve their endurance, the extra 1% of technique that prevents knee pain, shin pain and all the other niggles that plague runners. The question is how do they find this extra 1%? Running specific drills, time trials, routine and strength and endurance training can get you so far. However there comes a point where to improve your running you must focus on the nitty gritty details of your biomechanics. This is where Pilates comes into it's own.
The Pilates principles of;
- Core Control
- Lower Limb Dissociation
- Upper Limb Dissociation
- Head, Neck and Shoulder Organisation
all have a role to play in the perfect run technique. As any great runner will tell you, if you can't control your breath you won't last long on the track or course. If you're lacking in core control it won't be long before knee, hip and pelvis problems begin to plague your runs, changing them from an enjoyable pastime to a painful chore. With lower and upper limb dissociation you look more like a novice than a pro and without head, neck and shoulder organisation much of your well preserved energy will be wasted on holding you up right, and lost on your endurance and speed.
Still unconvinced? Picture your favourite runner, Usain Bolt, Shalane Flanagan, Rob Krar and think about what they look like when they run. Isn't there a fluidity and beauty to their movements like a well trained orchestra, each muscles, joint and bone performing perfectly to create a symphony of movement. How is it that they learn this coordination of power, strength and endurance seemingly without breaking a sweat? Pilates! They practice off the track what they display on the course. Complete and utter control and mastery over their bodies, an art form which doesn't come from repeating high knee drills or hammering out mile after mile of cross county track work. They take it one step further and break their movements down into simple hip flexion, spinal rotation, ankle flexion and so on and so on. Only by working on the individual parts can the whole become truely effortless.
If your looking to implement a bit of Pilates into your running programme might I suggest starting with some Pilates Studio work. The use of the equipment is a fantastic way to begin to reconnect with your core muscles and start to learn the basics of the Pilates principles. The push-pull of the springs replicates the spine like motion we are trying to recreate in running and there really is nothing better than slowing down your gait on the reformer and having the time to process all the unique movements your body goes through in each phase of your running cycle.
For more information about Studio Pilates work you can chat with our friendly reception team on 8544 1757
I’ve suffered from chronic and sometimes acute lower back pain since I was 14 years old. That was until I found Pilates!
I remember skipping Thursday afternoon High School sports because if I ran, jumped or turned my body, my back would seize up with pain. Instead, every Thursday afternoon was spent in a Physiotherapist office where they would treat me with Ultrasound and tell me to do sit ups to improve my core strength. Needless to say it was a waste of time and money, my back pain only worsened.
I had scans, which revealed bulging discs. I tried Acupuncture and Osteopathy, they later left me unable to stand or walk for three days. Doctors suggested I consider surgery, which seemed like a drastic solution for a skinny 17 year old.
Mostly, I simply got used to it and thought it was just going to be a part of my life. Eventually I became active again, moving through the pain and going home to aspirin and heat packs. I would get regular massages, which gave me some short-lived relief.
I remember a holiday to Costa Rica spent drowning my sorrows with a bottle of wine, as I couldn’t even enjoy a swim in the ocean without gut wrenching agony.
In my twenties my passion was Yoga. I was attending up to five classes a week. I loved the first part of the classes but hated when we would get to backbend section. I was naturally flexible and back extension came easily, but no amount of Child's Pose would relieve the back spasms that inevitably came afterwards. At the time I assumed Yoga teachers had extensive training and would take their advice about postures, it’s only now after completing my own Yoga Teacher Training that I realize how generally ill equipped Yoga Instructors are to give advice about pain or anatomy.
A few years ago I returned to Australia after almost 20 years in the United States and again my back pain flared its ugly head. I thought maybe I’d irritated it with the 16-hour flight or packing and lifting boxes. Regardless of how, it was impossible to get through daily life. I couldn’t lift anything at work, avoided yoga completely as it was too painful to stand up after a class. It would come on randomly, while cooking dinner or brushing my teeth. Pain so bad I’d find myself in tears in a heap on the floor. It was so frustrating being an otherwise healthy young woman with a pain that wasn’t visible. Pain affects your mental health as well as your lifestyle.
I decided I couldn’t live like this any longer and was determined to find a solution. I had several more scans and X-rays and varying diagnosis and treatment plans. Every Physiotherapist I spoke to gave me a different opinion. How was I, a laymen, supposed to know which was correct? Who to trust?
One Physio suggested I try Pilates, which I knew nothing about.
My initial consultation with my Pilates instructor was fascinating. She walked me though the basics or core control and several basic mat exercises. During the next few weeks I learned about my pelvic floor, my Transverse Abdominus muscle and my posture. I used all the bizarre looking studio equipment including the Reformer and Wunda Chair. The whole time I was attending sessions, two times a week, I wasn’t convinced. I was used to high intensity exercise that made you sweat, and couldn’t see how these small, controlled movements were doing anything! That was until a few months in I realized my pain was gone. For the first time I could run, and jump and backbend to my hearts content without pain! It was incredible.
So convinced was I of the power of Pilates, I signed up to undertake my Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction. Today I love helping people with chronic Back Pain, as I personally understand how horrible it can be.
Pilates is often thought of as a women’s domain but did you know it was originally created by a man for men! Joseph Pilates (yes that's right ... Joseph ... as in a male) developed Pilates to assist in the creation and maintenance of flexibility, core strength, postural control, breath work and physical performance for men! Many professional male athletes have discovered the benefits of Pilates including; Christiano Renaldo, Andy Murray, David Beckham and Tiger Woods.
Here are seven reasons why Pilates is great for men:
- Improved Flexibility. Typically, men naturally tend to be less flexible than woman. Pilates combines both strength and flexibility. This can help to prevent injury, strains and increase range of motion, which in turn can help with everyday life and other sporting activities.
- Increase Core Strength. It’s common for men to desire a “six pack” a la Hugh Jackman. However merely focusing on sit ups and crunch type exercises is unlikely to achieve this. Nutrition and physical activity are important for weight loss, but Pilates focuses on overall core strength. This goes beyond the 6 pack, Rectus Abdominus muscles. Pilates works on your deeper core muscles including your Transverse Abdominus and Pelvic floor muscles.
- Develop Stabilizing Muscles. Often gyms direct men to focus on their large muscle groups and neglect their smaller ones which can help stabilize joints. Imbalances in muscle strength and recruitment can lead to injury and pain.
- Stress Relief. All exercise releases endorphins, pleasure giving hormones which reduce stress. Pilates also focuses on moving with your breath in a similar way to Yoga giving an added stress reducing benefit.
- Reduce Pain. Pilates is an excellent form of physical rehabilitation pre and post surgery or injury. Many Physiotherapists will insist on clients improving their movement patterns with Pilates.
- Better Sex. Pilates teaches men to control and strengthen their core and Pelvic Floor. This can lead to more long lasting and satisfying sex. Another great stress reliever!
- Better Posture. Pilates is all about moving well and with ease, this includes good posture. Good Posture can make you appear taller and more confident.
Pilates is hard!
Make 2018 the year you give it a try!