Pilates: The Body’s Reset

Imagine your body feeling alive, moving well, and able to do what you ask of it superbly. Imagine feeling inspired to go walking, gardening, exercising, and accomplishing all your physical chores without pain. Imagine that you can easily squat down and pick a spoon up off the floor, without the task becoming the unfortunate highlight of your day! Imagine your body continually doing what you ask of it, effectively, gracefully, and without needless wear and tear. This is the body I want you to have and the mindset: how well am I moving my body?

All adults require an exercise system that over time is continually  reminding them of proper posture and correct body alignment as they go about their day. This exercise system deeply implants within the feeling of good posture, by effectively strengthening your postural muscles and therefore maintaining optimum health of your joints. Pilates is the exercise system I am speaking of:  it is your body’s reset: setting the body in proper alignment, lengthening the spine, engaging your core muscles , and releasing unneeded tension in the body so you sit, stand, and move most easily.

Pilates exercises puts you on the path to becoming the fittest you can be.

 
Looking to change your life? Pilates exercise is the right exercise system to take care of and maintain your body’s health.

 
The Pilates system of non impact exercise emphasizes joint stability and flexibility, core muscle activation, and correct spinal articulation that together comprises a complete body workout. Technical mumbo jumbo?… the truth is that by doing pilates exercise you become more fit, you stand, sit and move with better posture, and you feel taller and stronger and have more energy to go about your day.
One of the main reasons why so many people exercise very little if at all, is due to low energy, from habitual poor posture and poor daily movement patterns. Constant slouching is manifested particularly when we are not exercising, which of course is the majority of the time. Sitting at work, watching a screen, socializing: most of us are not in touch with our bodies! We are slouching, rounding our spines, developing tension throughout the body. We are putting our bodies through hell without even knowing it! When our posture becomes poor, when our body mechanics and movement patterns become more labored, not efficient, we lose energy, and then ultimately we lose the mental drive to move our bodies.

Our deeper core muscles of the body lack conditioning and awareness. Sure it is a mental task: the more you think about your posture, the better it will be. But what about when we are highly focused on our task at hand and not on our posture?  Your spine may slouch when you are preparing tomorrow’s presentation, or stressing to get dinner ready for the kids. It is at precisely these moments, when we need the spine to be at its finest! We need your spine- based on pilates training- to remember what a strong and lengthened posture is. We need our abdominal muscles to engage automatically: to support our lower backs and to work in tandem with our spine’s to maintain ideal posture. Our core muscles-spine and abdominal muscles- become a sizzling power source to support our bodies all day long!

One more point: it can certainly be detrimental to your body’s postural and joint health to perform physical activity without giving some thought to your form. You are simply damaging your body, imparting needless strain on your joints. One example of this is walking with the spine rounded: gravity is beating down on your thoracic spine and you are simply accelerating the process of the spine becoming permanently rounded and not able to straighten up fully.

It is therefore imperative that we have a body “technique” session where we are practicing our body mechanics and moving our joints correctly. In other words:  where we practice taking care of our bodies. In a pilates session we effectively move our joints, strengthen our core muscles, and learn to coordinate our bodies beautifully. I do not mean to coordinate with the ability of dancer or a gymnast, but simply with a healthy consciousness of how our bodies move best for everyday living. We learn to use the correct muscles efficiently, and relax those that are not required,  The fruits of this work translate into accomplishing our everyday tasks more easily and enjoying our favorite physical activities more fully.

We  must maintain and deepen our connection to our bodies as we enter middle age and beyond. If you suffer from any of the following conditions: obesity, sedentariness, preference for inactivity, an inactive gym membership, high blood pressure, diabetes, neuropathy, general, constant and nagging pain syndrome. I would suggest giving PILATES A TRY! Reacquaint yourself with your body. Reset, feel truly alive and live your best life.

Seniors: Pilates the perfect exercise tailored for you!

How do you experience the best senior living possible? By feeling alive and having energy to be productive all day long of course! How do you give your body every chance to stay healthy and enable yourself to fulfill all your goals and aspirations for retirement? By doing pilates exercise of course! Your body is you: where all your movement habits, movement patterns, and muscle “memories” are stored. If you wish to physically express yourself well and without pain, or if you wish to correct a poor movement pattern and strengthen weaker muscles, you had better take care of the mechanism (your body!) that allows you to move.

Seniors standing well from their pilates training, and good exercise habits
Healthy strong seniors!

To take care of your body well it is imperative that you choose the right kind, as well as do the proper amount of exercise for your specific goals. Pilates strikes the correct balance between these two objectives.

Nearly 30% of my studio’s clientele are seniors, and close to 70% of the overall studio clientele is over the age of 50.

Pilates exercise is fast on the rise with seniors and baby boomers with good reason: it targets the correct muscles, it is fulfilling to do, and it’s fun. Simply put, it works.

Here are some of the benefits:

 1. Pilates is tailored to you.

Pilates training is ideal exercise for seniors looking to maintain and even augment the amount of physical activity they have in their lives. Pilates is non impact exercise that strengthens the core muscles in the pelvis and the spine. Pilates training will lengthen your spine, condition your abdominal muscles and help you develop better posture; the method teaches you to be more conscious of how you move, and therefore to move more efficiently-with less and wear and tear on your joints-as you go about your daily activities. In addition, a pilates workout will carefully move all joints of the body, including your hands and feet, teaching your muscles to work as efficiently as possible. Once you have “found” your core muscles, and have put them on continuous “alert”, your joints move better and your whole quality of life improves!

 2. Pilates gives you more energy

Immediately you have more energy. Your body, better aligned, feels like moving more, and is not exhausted from being misaligned and practicing poor posture all day. Superior alignment: how your bones, muscles and vital organs are intended to be aligned as a whole promotes greater energy levels. Respiration is better, because the rib cage is better aligned and not compressing on the lungs so you breath more fully. Nervous system function is improved, since the nerve impulses are flowing up and down your spine more efficiently due to your lengthened spine. Overall result? Your breathing capacity, muscle function, and how well you are attuned to your body functioning through the day is improved. Your pilates exercise routine is best facilitating your moment to moment physical functioning through the day.

 3. Pilates is fun! (you won’t stick with something you don’t like)

Come on, you want to look forward to your workouts, not dread them! In a pilates class you are constantly seeking to move your body as efficiently and as gracefully as possible.You are learning to balance and control your body, thereby your powers of focus, and concentration on the task at hand improve significantly. You are doing sensible exercises that will help you with your daily activities, such as lifting grocery bags, getting in and out of your car, and raising and lowering your body as you look after your lawn and garden. You are not lifting heavy weights, nor getting into extreme poses; a pilates workout leaves you standing tall with great posture, not beat up and barely able to stand!

And of course, preserving your body with pilates allows you to enjoy all your social activities to the max! Your golf swing, tennis strokes, social dancing, swimming, skiing, hiking, horseback riding, did I say walking? All will become more doable and enjoyable by doing pilates.

 Next Step:

Check out Pilates on Main studio in Gardiner, New York (posturefitpilates.com), or a pilates studio near you. In addition, for posture training right at your desk download the Get Fit with Dave posture video for a super posture tuneup and an energy pick me up. The video is only 9 minutes long, but practicing these exercises regularly will ensure your spine’s health all day long.

 Seniors, be smart with your exercise choices and the results will be amazing!

Why do Pilates?

Why would you ask me such a silly question? Well of course to strengthen my body, build core strength, and certainly to feel better about myself! Why to lengthen my spine of course, improve my posture, and experience less wear and tear on my joints. How wonderful! I do pilates to be invincible!David Loewen sitting on a stability ball

Pilates ought to be enjoyable

As a pilates teacher, I sincerely hope you experience all these things from your diligent and hopefully enjoyable practice of pilates. Taught well, you will experience the feeling of contracting the muscles of your spine and abdomen, of using those core muscles correctly and economically, of feeling precise and flowing movement that will send you to a realm of movement euphoria! Notice above I used the word “enjoyable;” your whole self will feel invigorated, your mind clear and thinking well, and your spirit, yes that often downtrodden spirit of yours will soar and be willing to meet challenge and achieve your goals and dreams. Pilates enables you to do this.

 

These feelings are the immediate high following a pilates class, but the greatest benefit of pilates exercise is helping your body cope with the mundane activities of everyday life.

To name a few: pilates will help you get into your car with ease and elegance; sit (better yet stand) in front of your computer screen with moment to moment consciousness of your spine and overall posture; rise gracefully from your chair using solely your legs and core muscles, and not grabbing and pulling with your arms. Pilates exercise will have you walking your dog with pristine posture and control: your chest will feel wide open, the crown of your head will reach toward the sky, and you will have a lightness in your step that comes from being in tune with your body. Pilates enables you to do this.
Walking the dog with strong posture

More benefits?

How about keeping your spine long when eating and brushing your teeth. By bringing your hand up to your mouth, and not stooping over the sink, you are saving your spine! How about possessing the core strength and flexibility to get down to the floor and play with your kids? Better yet head to the playground and climb the monkey bars with them. Instead of watching them, be with them, and enjoy playing with your children. Pilates enables you to do this.

Play with your children!

It is true that our peak physical ability is usually at some point in our twenties, however this is hardly to say that you are not capable of gaining strength and improving your fitness. A 45 year old adult is more than capable of climbing steps, ducking under bars, sliding down slides and swinging on swings. Play is not just for the young. Be wise with your body. Abraham Lincoln said: “ I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” Apply this wisdom to your physical well being;  practising pilates will help you manage your body all through the day. There is no magic pill, no magic drug, no magic food; if you do not engage your muscles they will fail you. Engage them well and they will serve you, with good practice really well. Pilates enables you to do this.

Bananas and apples
Healthy food is essential to a healthy lifestyle

Couple your pilates diligence with sound nutrition and a healthy attitude, so that your whole overall approach to life is one shining example of health.

I can hear the skeptics saying “boring, no fun.” Hardly am I saying not to party! Of course we should celebrate our achievements and “indulge” once in awhile. As long as you return to your daily consciousness of regular exercise, sound nutrition and a healthy attitude. Balance, proportion, and consciousness-it is all  within your power! Life is better looking out than down. Lengthen your spine, DO PILATES, and seize the moment.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle with 5 Essential Habits We Can All Do

Here is a quick reminder of 5 essential habits, that are easily doable, and that you can immediately adopt into your life:

Healthy Breathing: the First Key to Healthy Being

Every hour or so take 3 really good healthy breaths. Practice it! Breathing is the basis of everything! Try this: sit up straight in your chair, and take a full breath through your nose, and feel your ribs expanding sideways. Now exhale through your mouth, pull in your navel a little, and really expel the air. Inhale again through your nose and feel the breath flowing up your spine, lengthening your spine to its fullest height. Now exhale out your mouth again and maintain this new found height. Breathe in fluidly one more time and feel your chest opening up; try to be conscious of this breath pattern through the day: ribcage inflated, spine lengthened, chest open. Intentional healthy breathing will invariably calm you down, give you a shot of energy, and help you perform your work at your very best!

Healthy Posture: Stand Up Straight for a Healthier You

Whether you are sitting, standing, or moving, good posture is essential for optimum health! Try this: Simply stand against a wall and feel your tail bone, the middle of your back, and the back of your head against the wall. If this is difficult, you have some work to do! So practice adjusting your posture as often as you can. When sitting at your desk, position your ears are directly above shoulders, and your shoulders are directly over your hips. Maintain this posture as you stand and move.

  • Healthy Posture Tip: Try the Get Fit with Dave posture video. The more you practice the movements in this video each day (done right at your desk for 9 minutes) the more you strengthen your spine, and the more your spine stays alert to good posture. Result: Your body works better! There will be far less wear and tear on your joints through the day. Most importantly you will feel better, and feel like moving more.

Healthy Momentum: Get Moving

Now, why not take that good posture and put it to use? Some studies say we should be aiming for 8000 steps a day. Sounds like a lot, but you will be surprised how many steps you take if you simply decide to move more!  And why should we move more? Why not take the car, or simply not bother? Simply because you will feel better, and enjoy better health! Your joints need to move to stay healthy and vital. An inactive joint becomes stiff and fatigues more quickly. The muscles around the joint atrophy and lose their resilience. Soon the body does not feel like moving. But the body craves movement, you just have to give it the impetus to start!

Healthy Momentum Tip: Try this. Stand up. Squat back down on your chair. Do this 5-10 times. Can you move up and down using only your legs and not your hands? Now get walking: walk around your house, around the block, to your local grocery store. Gradually increase your distance. Take the time to feel your legs, organize your thoughts and show off that tremendous posture! Once movement becomes a habit you will start noticing some pleasing things: you will have more energy, your torso will look and feel longer, and your body will gravitate towards its ideal body weight.

Healthy Eating: Lifestyle Choices That Taste Great

There is no excuse not to enjoy a healthy amount of nutritious vegetables and fruits in our diets. Include a banana with your breakfast, pack an apple or carrots, or better yet some blueberries for a mid-day snack, and make the color green a staple in your diet.  And please reduce the crap food! Minimize chips and chocolate bars, and eliminate soda completely.  Have that well deserved glass of wine at the end of the day, but do so in moderation. Understand that what you put into your body corresponds precisely to what you are able to accomplish with your body and brain! Eat well, and you’ll feel the difference, physically and mentally, so you’ll accomplish more in life. Remember, your body is a shrine for all that is you, protect it, feed it well, and it will reward you.

Healthy Outlook: Lifestyle Changes are About Attitude, Attitude, Attitude.

Your aura, the impression you project to your world, is discernible to those you interact with on a daily basis, as well as to people meeting you for the first time. You will make a better impression by exhibiting exceptional posture and conveying positive statements in conversation as often as you can. By choosing to be truly present when we speak with people‑‑and that means lifting up our spines, making eye contact, and acknowledging what other people are saying and feeling‑‑we send a clear message that we care about them and ourselves! By carrying through with a healthy lifestyle and by practicing the basic healthy principles in this article, you are making a choice to better yourself, and allowing yourself to truly perform at your best. Don’t underestimate yourself! Sense what you are capable of and go for it.

Gina Hill

“Under the patient, gentle,yet challenging instruction of Melissa Bierstock, I continue to develop strength and increase flexibility. Melissa has an uncanny way of making each student feel as if they are in a private session. Each class leaves me feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and strong!” Gina Hill

Ian Singer

Pilates works from the inside out, and that’s just the way Melissa teaches it. Group lessons feel like private sessions because she has an uncanny awareness of what is going on in each student’s body and knows how to help each of us with the subtle adjustments that make real progress possible. Melissa has a gentle way about her and it is always easy to focus and unwind in her classes. I come away feeling energized and relaxed. -Ian Singer

Nicole Porter

Practicing pilates is a wonderful experience for me. The atmosphere is friendly, welcoming and non-judgemental. Working with David Loewen, I learned to appreciate myself as a woman. David instills confidence, self-esteem and a sense of positivity about fitness and life. His pilates routines are paradoxically challenging yet relaxing, once all was said and done! He is a fantastic instructor with a flare for teaching, a compassion for those trying to get fit and a very optimistic and motivational outlook. Nicole Porter

Sarah and Meagan Vincett

“Our family has taken pilates from David for the past four years. David is an excellent teacher, able to cater to a class of multiple skill levels while challenging each person individually and still managing to keep it fun. Pilates never felt like exercise with David. Through varied routines and a great atmosphere, none of us ever felt ourselves looking at the clock. I would recommend David’s class to anyone at any skill level looking for a great workout in a fun environment.” Sarah and Meagan Vincett

Robin Hayes

“After taking one group and one private Pilates class per week for a couple of months, I felt ready to put on a bikini for the first time in years. David’s classes are fun and he conducts them in a way that is instructive, supportive and effective.” Robin Hayes, Gardiner, NY

Glen Newell

I studied privately with David for two years. David is a cheerful, dedicated teacher who motivates all of his students just because he cares. That’s the first thing that you’ll notice. And then you’ll discover that David knows every exercise in the book. David created a challenging pilates program that helped me to achieve my objectives. David’s experience in teaching is broad and he is able to incorporate dance and other fitness regimens with pilates techniques to develop unique programs for students of all abilities. With David, you can succeed in mastering pilates, whether it be on the mat, foam roller, ball, reformer or cadillac…. Glen Newell

Pilates on Main studio / Pilates Exercise