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.
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!
Stationary and sedentary jobs, the majority of us have them, and unless you have been living under a rock we all know the health risks associated with them. It seems like there are more and more diseases both mental and physical that are being linked to sedentary lifestyles. Depression, Lower Back Pain, Cancer, Increased levels of Stress and Anxiety, Poor Work Performance, the list is endless.
We have seen the rise of the stand-up desk, workplace social events, health insurance for employees all with the aim of improving employee’s productivity and their mental and physical wellbeing. But when push comes to shove, the only thing that has proven to combat the negative impacts of a stationary work environment is … wait for it … activity! Who would have thought!
So, while we all know an active lifestyle is the way to go, it’s not always easy to increase your levels of activity day to day. If you’re like the majority of Australian’s, the building pressures of work, family and social life tend to get in the way of that hour walk after work, the Saturday morning bike ride or the mid-week game of golf.
So, in the interests of your health, physical and mental wellbeing here are 5 easy ways to increase your activity when you’re at the mercy of a sedentary job!
1. Be Active to and from Work
This is a simple one and it has been said time and time again, but if you want to increase your step count, think about the ways you get to and from work as opportune times for adding activity. If you catch public transport, get off one or two stops early and walk the rest of the way. If you drive park a few extra blocks away from your destination and get a brisk walk in before you reach the desk. Is your desk in a high-rise building? Choose to take the stairs instead of the lift or escalators. Once you start actively looking for ways to move more on your way to and from work it’s amazing how many creative options you can come up with!
2. Be Active in your Lunch Break
More and more workplaces are realising the importance of this little gem. Not only for the health of their employees but also for their productivity, creativity, and general workplace moral. Encourage your employer to bring in external companies who can run a Pilates class in your lunch break. Sign up for a local session at a studio near you – many will run a high intensity 45min lunch time session that will have you back in your desk before the bell rings. The great thing about Pilates? You can work hard and still be sweat-free enough to head back to the office without your colleagues needing to move up wind from you on your return!
3. Actively look for opportunities during the day to leave your desk
Offer to do the Office Coffee Run, answer the phone, do the photo-copying or any other task that allows you to get up and out of your seat. Why not even throw a few wall squats in while you’re waiting for page 59 to scan? Re-fill your water bottle more times than you would normally, this has the added benefit of getting you to drink more water and use the bathroom more often, another great excuse to get up from your desk!
4. Enrol in a class that forces you to pay up front
The trouble with good intentions is that often they remain just that. “I intended to go to class after work / get up 45min earlier / enjoy that Sunday morning session”. However, all too often the pressures of work deadlines, family and social engagements are just that little bit more pressing and before you know it, Monday has rolled around again into a new week and you’re no closer to increasing your activity than you were last week. As much as it hurts to admit it, sometimes making a financial commitment to a class in advance helps to nudge the importance of this tasks a little higher up the to do list and soon you will find yourself in a routine of heading to your exercise class 3 times per week. Added benefit – most studio’s will give you a discount for paying in advance so not only are you committing to your health and wellbeing but you’re also helping your purse strings in the process!
5. Quit your job
Ok so this may not be a reality for many of us. However, there are a few of us who really could consider this. Perhaps a career change has been on the cards for a while and this might be the opportune time to look for a position which allows a little more movement flexibility. There are more and more roles available with flexible hours, work from home options and opportunities for scheduling your own activities around your work schedule. Have a think, you might be surprised at how you can still earn your keep while making work fit around you so your health doesn’t have to suffer. After all … what is wealth, money, or the ability to enjoy your life?
At BPS Tensegrity we offer a wide range of classes to work in with your busy lifestyle. Visit our classes page today to book: https://bpstensegrity.com.au/classes
Pilates is for everyone! Whether you are 12 or 92 years old, the Pilates method can improve the way you move and thus the way you feel! Joseph Pilates, who called his method “Controlology”, originally developed it in Germany in the 1920’s
The main difference between Pilates and other forms of exercise is balance. Balance in strength and flexibility. Obviously a Golfer or Tennis player will be dominant on one side of their body, the one holding the club or racket. They may be able to rotate further on one side of their body. A weight lifter will focus on strength, a Yogi on flexibility. Pilates is not “better” than any other form of exercise rather it compliments ALL forms of exercise. Pilates focuses on the minor muscle groups often forgotten in other types of movement. These smaller muscles are responsible for stabilizing joints and preventing injury.
As instructors we look for your body to move well on both sides. We want you to be strong yet flexible and mostly we want you to be able to move through life without pain.
Often pain brings people to explore Pilates after trying other types of pain management. Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Massage etc. all have their place in treating acute pain, but unless you improve your movement patterns in day to day life – pain will return, injuries will keep happening.
The introductory moves of Pilates may look simple, but they take precision and control to do well. A level of concentration and focus is required to be able to marry your breath with core control and then move your body at the same time! There is a strong emphasis on technique and posture that with practice will become second nature. You will find yourself standing taller, moving more freely.
In the last few years 'Fitness Pilates' performed on Reformer machines has become trendy. Instructors of this type of Pilates often don’t have the same level of education as Diploma Accredited Instructors and Physiotherapists, nor the ability to work with clients with pain or injury. Therefore while this type of exercise is great fun, if you are in pain or want to learn Pilates correctly you should begin with Mat or Studio classes and a certified instructor.
So you pumped! Baby is here and although you're full of love for your new little family member you're starting to think about ways to get back to loving YOUR body, after all, it's been through quite a lot in the past 9 months! While I want to encourage all new (and seasoned) mums to get back to moving as soon as possible post their birth, there are some considerations to take into account. Everyone is different and everyone's birth story is different. Understanding your birth experience and making decisions that are guided based on your body is imperative for a successful and enjoyable return to exercise after pregnancy!
The basic time frame given by most Obstetricians and Physiotherapists post pregnancy is the 3 - 8 - 12 - 16 week guideline. Which states;
0 - 3 weeks = gentle walking and pelvic floor exercises avoid abdominal exercises
3 - 8 weeks = if all is well gentle low intensity fitness begin gentle abdominal bracing exercises
8 - 12 weeks = if all is well gentle increase body weight exercises and endurance of abdominal bracing exercises
12 - 16 weeks = if all is well gentle increase
16 weeks beyond = return to previous physical activity levels
and while this is a nice starting point, Im sure you feel as I do, that it leave a lot of room for interpretation. What is I had a C - section? What if I had stitches? What if I was incredibly fit right the way though my pregnancy? What if I have never exercised before? What if I have back pain / neck pain / wrist/hand/elbow pain since the birth of my newborn? And probably the biggest question of all, how do I know if I am doing my pelvic floor and abdominal bracing exercises correctly?!?
The Best Advice
The best way to being your journey towards your return to your 'pre-pregnancy' body is with the guidance of a Womens Health Physio (even better if they happen to also be a Pilates Instructor!) There is simply no substitute for an accurate self assessment that will show up the strengths and weaknesses of YOUR body as it is right now. Stats, averages and estimates a great for making sweeping judgements, but every body, every pregnancy and every birth story is different and as such there is no room for a 'one size fits all' approach when it comes to returning to movement after birth. To give you an example of the varieties of situations I see in my day to day work as a Physiotherapist and Pilates instructor let me highlight for you two ends of the spectrum.
Mum A - is 2 weeks post the birth of her first child and comes to visit me for her post pregnancy assessment. I know mum A well as she has been doing Pilates with me well before her pregnancy and carried on doing it through out her 1st 2nd and 3rd trimester. She was also an avid runner and generally looked after her body. Her birth story involved a natural birth with a few stitches but otherwise no complications. Her and bub are doing well and intact bub comes with her to her post pregnancy assessment! We use the real Time Ultrasound to check her pelvic floor recruitment and transverses control in a variety of positions and discover that while she has great PF and TA control in 4 point kneeling and sidling, when she is lying on her back it is not so well controlled and intact her pelvic floor slightly depresses instead of lifting. We also assess a variety of every day movements, walking, sitting, stairs and while her general biomechanics are good she is still feeling quiet loose in her joints at the end of range of some of her movements.
Mums B - is 8 weeks post the birth of her 3rd child (previous 2 natural births) and her 3rd was an unplanned C - section. Her 3rd birth story also involves some back and hip pain as well as some rectus diastisis separation and she admits with two other little ones she was not as diligent with her exercises throughout her 3rd pregnancy as she was with the previous two. I have never seen mum B before, so we take a full history of her movement and past injuries prior to her pregnancies and throughout the last 5 years of her birth stories. Her biggest concern is, although she has been active before and through out her pregnancies, she doesn't class her self as a 'gym junkie' rather she enjoyed walking, yoga and the occasional spin class. She is now concerned that when she looks in the mirror her body does not resemble her pre pregnancy form and although she has tried a few times in the past few weeks to reinstate some activity, she felt concerns with the increasing back and neck pain she is now experiencing. We use the real Time Ultrasound to check her pelvic floor recruitment and transverses control in a variety of positions and discover that while she has great PF and TA control need a little bit of work. We also assess a variety of every day movements, walking, sitting, stairs and find there are some general postural corrections and weakness we could begin to work on.
What I am hoping you understand from these two very different examples is that the 3 - 8 - 12 - 16 timeframe will be drastically different for these two mothers. Gaining an understanding of where you lie on the spectrum early on and understanding what unique strengths and weaknesses your body has experienced will go a long way towards effectively choosing a return to exercise program that will work best for you.
Having highlighted the differences it is also important to acknowledge there are a few 'global rules' that most women should take into consideration post birth. These include;
- Abdominal 'Crunch' like movements really should be avoided for the first 8-12 weeks. This is because there is a certain amount of stretching that occurs, especially in the last trimester, of the abdominal muscles which are target in a crunch. Allowing these muscles time to shrink and close the gap is important when trying to avoid prolonged abdominal separation.
- High Load and increased Intra-Abdominal Pressure should be avoided for the first 6 - 12 weeks. During pregnancy the anatomy of your thoracic canister has gone through significant changes. One of these is the stretching of your uterus to accomodate your growing baby. These muscles and organs do not just snap back to their original shape and although baby may no longer be inside you the weight, size and shape of these organs will take time to come back to their 'normal' shape and size. For this reason it is important to avoid activities which cause increases in intra-abdominal pressure such as running, jumping and some types of heavy weighted exercises.
- Joint Laxity while you may have been aware of the stretching of ligaments in your body during pregnancy it is important to remember that these ligaments also need time to regain their previous tensile strength. So while you might be getting itchy feet remember to take into consideration movements that involve deep end of range movements such as deep stretching, fast direction changes and unstable surfaces and all these things require your body to be performing at optimal balance and coordination which may still be 12 months away for some women!
Fatigue and Tiredness
I hate to break it to you, but if you thought the fatigue and attacks of tiredness were all behind you now that you have given birth, don't get to excited. A new baby means often a new (and drastically reduced) sleep routine. And while this is often just accepted in the world of motherhood, it's effects on exercises are not to be overlooked. If your feeling tired, try sneaking in a quick nap while baby sleeps BEFORE you work out. Sometimes a even a quick 20min shut eye is enough to rejuvenate your body and make your exercise more effective and not to mention safer! If you are struggling to get motivated to return to exercise, try choosing activities that include incidental exercise such as walking to your local cafe, mums and bubs classes which teach you how to safely use your body with your new born, mum and bubs time in the park, even just consciously increasing the number of times you walk up and down stairs with your bub in hand!
All in all, this is a beautiful time for you and your new born, be kind to your body and give it the time it needs to heal and strengthen while not forgetting that movement has many great endorphin and bonding benefits. If in doubt get expert advice! If something doesn't feel right, don't ignore it even if you have friends and family telling you 'it's ok' and 'safe' for you to start exercising. In the same way if your feeling good, challenge yourself, increase slowly and alway listen to your body and use it as a guide! After all, it will let you know if it's enjoying your new movement routine or not!