With many of us sitting daily for hours in front of a desk, exercises to improve posture are becoming one of the most frequent requests for us Pilates teachers.
And whilst it is always a good idea to avoid immobility for long period of time, even if that means to leave your desk and stand up for only few minutes, specific Pilates exercises, can help a great deal to restore a good postural alignment and ban those rounded shoulders.
The Swan Dive is a Classical Pilates exercise, that requires a good ability of the spine to extend, control, core activation and coordination, and it is generally deemed to advanced for the ordinary student to practice.
Here is a preparatory exercise for the Swan Dive, that will strenghen the muscles in the upper shoulders and get you familiar with the idea of “lenghtening the spine” wich is fundamental in back extensions to avoid generating too much pressure on the lower ( lumbar) vertebrae of the spine.
Here is a video of a mentor of mine Joanna Cobbe, who used to be the principle tutor at the Pilates institute. Enjoy watching her beautiful and precise instruction!
We teach matwork, both traditional and dynamic, Barre our fusion Pilates/Barre and if you already have a Reformer at home, we will be happy to teach you a Pilates reformer session or a bespoke session that combine all of the above.
We are also teaching corporate Pilates classes in the office in the area, so please get in touch if you would like to organize one for your company.
Spring is now here, and so it is a wider choice of delicious green vegetables. Here is a simple, but nutritious salad that you can use as side for fish and meat, or on its own for a light dinner. This simple seasoning of apple cider vinegar and olive oil, will also be useful to maintain an healthy gut, and will provide a good balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Ingredients (serves 2-3)
a bunch of asparagus
a cup of fresh peas
a packet french beans
apple cider vinegar (organic)
extra virgin olive oil
a teaspoon of raw honey
sea salt to season
Wash and prepare the vegetables and steam them for a few minutes. Remember to keep the vegetables crunchy, so it is important not to overcook, both for taste and to maintain nutritional value. Prepare the seasoning with the apple cider vinegar, honey, extra-virgin olive oil and mustard, mix it up, pour it on the vegetables and serve. Leftover from this salad can be used as an healthy lunch box for next day, like in our quinoa and spring vegetable salad.
Go for the grain. Whole-grain snacks — such as whole-grain low-salt pretzels or tortilla chips and high-fiber, whole-grain cereals — can give you some energy with staying power.
Bring back breakfast. Many breakfast foods can be repurposed as a nutritious snack later in the day. How about a slice of whole-grain toast topped with low-sugar jam? Low-sugar granola also makes a quick snack.
Try a “hi-low” combination. Combine a small amount of something with healthy fat, like peanut butter, with a larger amount of something very light, like apple slices or celery sticks.
Go nuts. Unsalted nuts and seeds make great snacks. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts, and other nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full (unlike chips or pretzels). Nuts have lots of calories, though, so keep portion sizes small.
The combo snack. Try to eat more than one macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) at each snacking session. For example, have a few nuts (protein and fat) and some grapes (carbohydrates). Try some whole-grain crackers (carbohydrates) with some low-fat cheese (protein and fat). These balanced snacks tend to keep you feeling satisfied.
Snack mindfully. Don’t eat your snack while doing something else like surfing the Web, watching TV, or working at your desk. Instead, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and eat your snack like you would a small meal.
You can take it with you. Think ahead and carry a small bag of healthful snacks in your pocket or purse so you won’t turn in desperation to the cookies at the coffee counter or the candy bars in the office vending machine.
A delicious and easy to make salad, filling and packed with nutrients.
Ingredients ( serves 2 )
1 bag of mixed green salad
1 packet of king prawns ( ready to eat)
1 large avocado
extra-virgin olive oil
half a lemon or lime
a small piece of fresh red chili ( optional)
sea salt and pepper to season
Put the sald in a bowl, add the chopped avocado and the prwans. Season with a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. You can also add a finely chopped small piece of chili.
1. You diet too much. Yes, that’s right. Most “calories restricted” diets, will only crash your metabolism, making it all too easy to pile on the pounds as soon as you stop them. The reason behind that, is that your body will “adapt” to survive with less, considerably slowing down your metabolic rate.
2. You don’t eat healthy fat. You need fat to metabolize fat. So in order to “burn” those extra fat cells deposits, you will need a small amount of “good” fats. Fats are essential for important cellular functions, you cannot deprive yourself from them. They also help to give your skin some glow and help prevent wrinkle formation. On top of that, “fat free” food are bound to be laced with sugars and artificial flavorings to make them more appealing to the your taste buds.
3. You don’t sleep enough. Research have shown that lack of sleep has a negative impact on our overall state of health. Prolonged lack of sleep have been linked to anxiety, depression and even cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Lack of sleep will increase the production of the stress hormone “cortisol” which research has shown to be a key player in storing fat around the waistline.
4. You do too much cardio. Whilst cardiovascular activity is necessary both for health and weight loss, too much can be counterproductive. On the contrary strength training has been proven effective in helping burn more calories even post-workout. Building lean muscle is crucial in speeding up our metabolism, therefore to loose weight. A combination of both cardiovascular and strength training seems to be the most effective with regards of weight loss.
5. You worry too much. Too much stress can have a negative effect on both our mental and physical wellbeing. Cortisol will help storing fats, especially around our waistline.