Give Yourself the Gift of Sweat

It’s a busy time of year,  but don’t forget that breaking a sweat most days does amazing things for your body and your mind.

Let’s start with what exercise does to you physically. It helps to control weight. I’m not a big believer in “calories in, calories out,”  because our bodies utilize nutrient-dense foods so differently than calorie-dense foods, so let’s move past that way of thinking about exercise and get down to the science of what it creates when you start to breath hard and sweat.

Exercise helps your body to use stored fat as fuel and it gets your heart rate up while flushing your body with fresh oxygen, which rejuvenates the blood and the cells, bringing health to every area of the body. This same process reduces blood pressure and helps relieve stiffness in the arteries. Exercise reduces myocardial damage, it decreases inflammation and improves the immune system’s function. The body can heal so much faster with better circulation. It decreases liver issues and improves insulin sensitivity, reducing your risk of diabetes.

In addition to the phenomenal physical benefits of exercise, it also improves brain function, reduces anxiety and depression by producing serotonin in the brain, which is the same thing that most antidepressants do. The mental benefits of exercise far outweigh the physical and that’s why so many people get addicted to exercise. We start to crave those feel-good hormones once we get a taste of them and that’s a craving we want to indulge. Getting up and working out in the morning can change your entire day. It gets you started with a feeling of accomplishment. You’ve set off all those beautiful endorphins and there’s nothing you can’t do once you finish your workout.

Working out is hard and that’s why we feel so good about ourselves when we’re done with that thirty minutes or hour of breathing heavy and sweating good. We did it! Having one thing everyday that you have total control of is the most wonderful “you time” you can have. It will make you a better mother,  husband, dad, wife, employee, sister, daughter, son- just a better YOU all the way around. Whatever kind of exercise gets you feeling good, do it, don’t wait, don’t be too busy. We have to make time for ourselves even during the holidays and the time you spend working out is not just about you, it’s about every other person you care about, too.

What are you going to do to break a sweat this week?

GMO Corn – Are you eating it?

After watching the very informative film, Genetic Roulette (you can stream this on Amazon for $3.99), I realized that most gluten-free people have been making a grave mistake with our gluten free diets.

For ten years, corn has been my carb-of-choice because it was “safe” for me. Tex-mex restaurants were my go-to for dining out, but guess what? Unless it’s an organic Tex-mex restaurant, we’re adding to the health problem that’s forced us to be gluten free in the first place.

Corn is the most compromised grain when it comes to GMO’s. Everything I’ve read and watched has convinced me that my auto-immune disease is a result of the chemical companies and what they’re doing to our grains.  “Leaky gut” syndrome is a result of the chemicals (BT toxin) on corn that are designed to explode the stomach of the bugs that get on the corn. Problem: those same chemicals have worked great on our small intestine, breaking down the lining of the small intestine, allowing our food to leak into our bloodstream and then confusing the immune system’s function of determining what is an actual virus or bacteria and what is simply our food that has not been digested correctly. Our small intestine is ultimately our immune system and once it’s comprised, it takes daily focus to repair it.

Protect your kids, save yourself and learn more about the chemicals that are in some of our most common foods and what they are doing to your body. The increasing cancer, diabetes, autism and heart disease rates are not a coincidence with our changing food supply. Our health issues rising correlate almost exactly with the introduction of chemicals into our food supply. Keep in mind that most of the chemicals, antibiotics and hormones in American food are not allowed in other countries. GMO’s are more dangerous than anyone wants us to know. Start healing your immune system today by not buying anything except Non-GMO foods. Every time we purchase a GMO product, we support the chemical corps that have infested our food with their chemicals.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being a science experiment. Check this out: http://www.nongmoproject.org

Pull Your Navel into Your Spine

Why do Pilates teachers love to say that?

Well, try it right now- pull your navel into your spine and see how long you can hold it.

Whew…harder than you thought and boy was that good for you!

How was it good for you? You got a stronger core, a stronger back, increased strength in the pelvic floor…wow, the list goes on and on! Try it a few more times.

When you pull that navel into your spine, you engage your deep core muscles and that helps to support your spine. Our spines are meant to be flexible, thankfully, but they do need support and that is what the core muscles do for us. Those muscles include stabilizing core muscles (transverse abdominus), flexion and extension core muscles (the 8 pack), the obliques (rotation), and your deep core moving muscles, the psoas (which connect to the top of your leg bone and help to pick your legs up). More muscles that work with the core are the back muscles, latissimus dorsi (largest muscle in the body), back extensors, inner thighs and the glutes. The core is actually made up of a lot more than just abdominals, but all of these muscles work together to support your spine and that helps us age better, move better and feel better.

Athletes need strong cores to swing (bats, gold clubs, tennis rackets, throw baseballs, you get the idea), to run (the psoas), to do yoga (oh yeah!), it’s called the core for good reason, it’s the powerhouse of the body, and the stronger yours is, the better off you’ll be and that’s a promise!!!

Do you have any supercharged core exercises? What’s your favorite way to work you abs? We’d love to hear about it :O)

Start Your Day Like a Cat

If you have a cat, watch them wake sometime. They don’t hop up like we do. Cats take their time. They stretch, one foot reaching forward, the back leg reaching back. They arch their back, they extend their back, then they go. It’s a smart way to start the day. Once they’re up and moving, they typically have a little play time, running around, getting the blood flowing, another really smart way to start the day. Then they settle back down until they start that whole process over, several times a day. What could that mean for you? It could mean that you stretch, that you get your blow flowing (heart rate up) and then you settle back down, several times a day, just like the other smart predators. So here’s your challenge:

Before getting out of bed, curl your hip bone towards your bottom rib (low back pushes down into your bed) then press the pelvic bowl away from your ribs (low back arches up). Do this 8-10 times, using the abs to make the movement happen. Then try dropping one hip bone down then the other hip down, knees bent, legs still, moving the pelvic bowl side to side. It feels funny at first, but you will feel a stretch across your low back. After releasing your low back, stand up and do 20 squats, right off the side of your bed. Make sure your knees stay behind your toes, engage your core and simply bend your knees, and straighten, pressing up through your heels- 20 times. Your heart rate will go up, but you won’t break sweat. Then start your day. Try doing this 5 times a day, but when you’re at your desk, just do the pelvic bowl rolls standing. You will draw your navel to your spine, feeling your hip bone curl up towards the bottom rib, then release it, press your belly out and feel your low back extend. Do this 10 times and then your 20 squats. If you don’t want to do your pelvic rolls standing, try them sitting, but you’ve got to get up and do the squats.

Doing this simple routine will get you off to a great day. It will release some muscles that might be tight from sleep, and start your metabolism with the increased blood flow created by the squats. We are the smartest animals, we just need to follow our instincts for movement to keep our beautiful bodies healthy.

Have questions? I’d love to hear them. Thanks for reading and have a STRONG day!

Pilates and Sex

Have you ever been in a Pilates mat class or a private Pilates session and had your instructor tell you to squeeze your heels in Pilates “v” position? Wonder why? Squeezing your heels together activates your inner-thighs (go ahead and try it now). Maybe you were told to put a ball or a magic circle between your knees and squeeze? What does that have to do with sex? Activating your inner thighs is the gateway to activating your pelvic floor. A strong pelvic floor is a great way to improve your sexual response.

Strength in the pelvic floor is important for everyone. It helps before childbirth (improving your sexual response), during childbirth and after childbirth (helping you to reconnect those muscles). Not having kids? It’s no less important unless you have a secret desire to wear a diaper prematurely in your geriatric years :O).

The pelvic floor muscles are also know as your “kegel” muscles and although you don’t have to do Pilates to strengthen them (you can learn to contract these muscles without inner-thigh activation, think stopping the flow of urine), Pilates is the perfect way to get you connected mindfully to your body. The connections in the body that Pilates teachers offer their clients become positive life-changing habits. Learning to contract your pelvic floor muscles is just one of the outstanding benefits you’ll get from Pilates, and one that many people are never even aware of.

Want more information? Check out this article:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kegel-exercises/WO00119

Got questions about Pilates? Send them to me! I love to talk Pilates and what it can do for you.

“Do Pilates 10 times, you’ll feel the difference, 20 times, you’ll see the difference, 30 times, your body will be changed for life.” Joseph H. Pilates