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PILATES & BALANCE*

Mary M. Hoogasian

Standing Pilates® moves are quite hard to achieve, but it is worth the effort because they provide immense benefits. Like Mat Pilates, these moves create resistance through the body's weight in relation to gravity; however, the muscle recruitment is quite different when standing because the base of support is so narrow: it occurs in the feet! Additionally, the narrower the body is in a standing pose the more gravity pulls which requires a great deal of strength and endurance.

My Class Format I begin every Pilates mat class with Standing Pilates poses laced with stretching moves to warm up the body and clear the mind. In this way, each student can give full attention to the class. A great deal of focus (and strength!) is required to generate and sustain these standing moves. Without it, even the most practiced client cannot hold a pose sufficiently. Furthermore, standing on one foot equals a weight bearing force of four times one's own body weight! This type of weight bearing exercise builds bone which over time decreases the risk of osteoporosis. Each of us loses one percent of bone mass starting at age 35; and unfortunately, women lose it more rapidly than men. The Standing Pilates

moves created by The PhysicalMind Institute not only provides greater variety to a Pilates mat class, but also are one of the best ways to build healthier bones. Hence, the importance of incorporating such moves with your corebuilding mat class while improving on strength, endurance and flexibility. Most of the Mat Pilates classes I participated in prior to teaching (and even thereafter as a student) do not incorporate the Standing Pilates moves. As the Standing Pilates moves are signature moves of PhysicalMind, they make your class unique and special while students achieve a different strength and endurance. So if you are not adding any of the Standing Pilates moves to your mat classes, start your next class with a few and know that you are not only building a stronger core, but building better bones in the process.

Stretching & Strengthening Muscles actually weaken when range of motion is limited so stretching has no less of a role than strengthening. It's essential to every workout because muscles can then regain their original length, but also they may further lengthen, strengthen and condition when an individual increases the degree of the stretch and/or the time he/she stays in a pose. Unfortunately, most individuals and even athletes make the same common mistake by not stretching at all or not stretching enough. Eliminate this error and be sure to incorporate stretching into every

workout. A stretch should have mild discomfort but never any pain. Long bouts of sitting result in a tight back and hips which can lead to lower back pain and poor posture. Four out of five Americans experience low back pain. This is a major reason why many people seek out a great Pilates instructor. Furthermore, stretching and strengthening muscles actually enhance one another while helping prevent injury. As stretching promotes long and lean muscles, strengthening defines them; but strengthening plays a major part in the loss of body fat. Not only does strengthening play a key role in body composition and physical appearance, but muscle burns three times more calories than fat boosting the metabolism. Remember when you are teaching Pilates to always stretch the muscles of the same group that have been strengthened. Stated by Judy Alter, "Strengthen what you stretch and stretch after you've strengthened". Comprehensive stretching and strengthening of the body is the most effective means of reducing degenerative disease and injuries while promoting greater endurance, metabolism and physical attributes.

Standing Pilates & Tye4 Additionally, Joan Breibart and PhysicalMind have recently launched Tye4. Tye4 consists of four resistance bands for each arm and leg and is connected to a harness around the chest and shoulders so the unit aligns with the body allowing fluidity in every movement. As stated, the standing moves use gravity resistance to lengthen and strengthen muscles, but by incorporating Tye4 you now introduce another opposing force through these resistance bands. Tye4 does not overlook any area of the body when it comes to the standing moves. The shoulders, arms, chest and upper back now greatly benefit for the reason that the bands on the arms offer a strength resistance which did not exist before; these areas work just as hard as the legs and core offering and achieving an overall effect. When standing on one leg, we are aware of the amount of strength and balance needed to uphold this move, but now with the leg off the ground, there is an added resistance while we lengthen this leg which engages and fires that core even more so to obtain the proper move (and balance). Ultimately, Tye4's resistance bands greatly

benefit the standing Pilates moves because they trigger and build those much smaller muscles, which are crucial for all major muscles to function properly. Tye4 promotes greater coordination and stabilization and studies have proven that stability is a key component to building healthier and stronger muscles. So if you are looking for even more variety with your Standing Pilates routines--or want a more overall effect in these routines -- Tye4 won't disappoint you.

Mary Hoogasian started taking Mat Pilates in 2002 and as a student saw the vast improvements not only to her core, but also strengthening her weakest area--the hips. In 2005 she became certified in mat Pilates as an instructor through The PhysicalMind Institute and has been teaching ever since. One of the main reasons she incorporates standing Pilates and stretching moves to her classes is due to the overwhelming number of people who join her class complaining of stiff or weak knees. Overwhelmingly, students feel the benefits in a matter of a few weeks while benefiting from the much-needed core exercises Pilates offers. Mary teaches one-on-one as well as Uptown Fitness in Lake Forest, IL.

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http://thewisddommtree.blogspot.com/2009/01/standing-balance-moves-are-harder-to.html

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