What is missing from your core workout? A pilates instructor's perspective.

There are hundreds of exercises you can do to train your core. Chances are most of us have done some form of plank or “core strength” exercise. But are you getting the most out of your workouts? Incorporating these qualities into your regular routine will ensure you are not missing out!


1. Breathing - High quality
If you're holding your breath you're telling your body something is very wrong! In Pilates, we want the opposite of holding your breath. We want a high-quality inhale and high-quality exhale every single time. Your diaphragm is the roof of your core. It attaches onto your spine and it actually stabilizes the spine. As you inhale it should expand and open almost like an umbrella opening. Can you feel your ribs move out as you inhale? Do your ribs just move from the front? Can you get your ribs to open 360 degrees, opening to front, sides and back? As you exhale is your abdominal wall pulling in or is it pressing out? Without a high-quality breath it is next to impossible to tap into the intrinsic core. In Pilates were constantly moving to this high quality breath. Reaching the peak of the movement at the peak of the inhale, and the bottom of the movement at the bottom of the exhale, timing your movement meticulously to the rhythm of your breath. Turning your attention to that high-quality breath can help get you through some of the tough parts of your workout too!


2. Attention - Being present
Joseph Pilates called his work “the art of control”. When you are thinking about your
breathing, controlling your movement precisely, engaging some muscles while relaxing othersthere is lots to think about! It makes it impossible to think about what you're doing later today or what happened earlier in the day. It forces you to become very centred and focussed on the present moment. What is happening right here and right now. Tuning in instead of tuning out. In your daily life this becomes a true skill that you can tap into at any time. Being able to stay centred and focussed into the present moment through all the ups and downs of life. I just love this about the Pilates practice. Bringing your full attention to what you're doing also will allow you to recruit the muscles that should be working a lot more effectively.


3. Consistency - Showing up
This is where most people slip. You get motivated, set your goals and start your training program. It starts out full force then slowly your commitment waivers. You maybe do 6 when you should do ten, maybe your workouts waiver from 4 days a week to just 2. Just showing up no matter what, showing up every single time will make all the difference. Sometimes you may not feel like you have the energy, some days you may really feel like not working out, but it is consistency and committing to that consistency that is going to help you reach your goals.

This is one of my favourite exercises to strengthen your deep core. As your practice this exercise remember to breathe, bring all of your attention to what you're doing and make sure to actually do it! Like really do it right now! Don't just read it do it! Lay on your back with your head supported on a pillow. Once you centre yourself and bring your attention to your low back. Bring your feet off of the floor and bring your knees into yourchest. Take both your hands and press them against your right knee. As you press your hands into your knee exhale and reach your left leg out to the wall in front of you without arching your low back. Inhale to bring the knee back in towards you. Do this 6 times on each side.

This is one of my favourite exercises to strengthen your deep core. As your practice this
exercise remember to breathe, bring all of your attention to what you're doing and make sure to
actually do it! Like really do it right now! Don't just read it do it!
Lay on your back with your head supported on a pillow. Once you centre yourself and bring
your attention to your low back. Bring your feet off of the floor and bring your knees into yourchest. Take both your hands and press them against your right knee. As you press your hands
into your knee exhale and reach your left leg out to the wall in front of you without arching your
low back. Inhale to bring the knee back in towards you. Do this 6 times on each side.

This fall, Liv Activ is offering private sessions and group classes. This is the perfect way to shake up your routine, challenge yourself and work out with other members of the Liv Activ community. Classes will run six days a week at different times. Commit yourself to a stronger core! 

Don't Let OA Scare You From Staying Active!

Don't Let OA Scare You From Staying Active!

Osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative arthritis is a common condition familiar to many.  In fact one out of three of us have a chance of developing OA.  It is defined as the breakdown of articular cartilage which further affects the underlining bones and joints.  The most commonly affected joints include the hips, knees, feet, hands and spine.  OA can be caused by trauma, metabolic disease, congenital malformations and in some cases the cause is unknown.  Clinical signs include pain, decreased range of motion (reduced flexibility), increased crepitus or cracking and occasionally joints can appear red and warm

Take your Medicine

Take your Medicine

What if I told your there was a medicine available that treats and prevents over 30 chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Not only that, but this medicine could also make you smarter, happier, thinner, younger and generally feel better about your ability to handle all the physical and psychological pressures life throws at you. This medicine does have some limited side effects, but strangely, most people start liking the feeling of the side effects as they use the medication more and more. And to top it all off, this medicine was free.

If this medicine actually existed, you would beg me to tell you where you could get it. You would line up for miles to get your hands on it. It sounds like the medicine to cure all ills and you would want it, not just for you, but for your friends and family as well. If only this medicine existed…

But it does…Exercise IS this medicine!

Pain in my neck....

Pain in my neck…..

Myofascial pain is refers to pain and aches in the muscle. We have approximately 640 skeletal muscles and any one of them can develop myofascial trigger points or as some people call them muscles "knots". Myofascial trigger points are small hyperirritable spots/nodules located in tight muscles bands. The main theory explaining trigger points phenomenon is a tightening of cellular components of muscles called sarcomeres. This group of shortened sarcomeres form an active trigger point. The sustained contraction of muscle sarcomeres also compromises a local blood supply causing loss of oxygen and nutrients and in turn energy shortage in the area. This lack of blood flow to the muscle fibres activates pain receptors resulting in regional pain. Trigger points can also refer pain to the different areas of the body. For example some trigger points in buttock muscles send pain to the leg, mimicking a sciatic pain. Their pain pattern happens in predictable locations and is well documented for various muscles.

A Leaky Gasket

A Leaky Gasket

Does this happen to you?  You are out for drinks with friends and a joke is told and suddenly it's not so funny because, well, because you leaked a little?  Or maybe you are like a friend of mine who said, no I don't really leak - except if I drink anything when I am running. Or like most moms, who will NEVER get on a trampoline again. Well, you are not alone.

Runner's Reality Check

Runner's Reality Check

Runners have got to be the most optimistic creatures out there. The personal drive and goal setting qualities of runners sets them apart from their peers putting them at risk of letting their overly optimistic nature cloud the apparent realities that this challenging sport puts one through. When challenged by friends or family about the toll that this sport takes on the body, the runner often digs into a defensive mode, spouting research studies and anecdotal evidence. Personally I am guilty of this too, as I see it as a natural protective mechanism to distract and dismiss because the flip side would question my future training and racing plans. I equate this to watching Clinton and Trump rally interviews with their overly devout supporters.