Keep fit and healthy with Alexandra!
Pilates is designed to increase postural awareness, improve strength and flexibility, and improve balance.
Suitable for any age or ability, these exercises focus on strengthening and stabilising the key core muscles (abdominals, pelvis, shoulders) whilst performing controlled exercises which in turn will promote movement at the same time as protecting the spine.
Pilates exercises can be aimed at any level – beginner to advanced – with or without the use of equipment as outlined below – and can be performed standing, seated, lying face up or face down or on one side, or on all fours.
Because modifications and/or progressions can be offered, individuals are encouraged to work within their own range of movement, strength and flexibility to improve at their own pace at a level that suits them.
There are several types of Yoga, but essentially this form of exercise focuses on lengthening and strengthening the body, working on balance and flexibility.
As well as making you look good, yoga with a perfect posture, it is ideal for protecting your spine and body from conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis and back pain while preventing cartilage and joint breakdown.
Yoga helps to drain lymph nodes and increases your blood flow, boosting circulation to your hands and feet and increasing oxygen to your cells. The exercises help to move blood more efficiently through your body and organs dropping blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart attack and blood clots.
I like to use traditional yoga poses and fuse them together to form dynamic sequences, which link seamlessly together to form a dynamic workout where you strengthen, streamline and stretch the entire body.
Reformer Pilates is similar to standard Pilates, but goes beyond not only working on core stabilisation, working the body and core to targeting arms and legs as well by adding controlled resistance with the of the springs which form part of a reformer machine.
Originally used to break down the flowing movements of mat based Pilates, reformers help to strengthen and isolate muscles, working through a large range of motion which is ideal for building and toning muscles as well increasing stability through the joints.
Reformer Pilates is great for rehabilitation as it allows exercise in a horizontal plane of motion and not be vertically loaded or weight bearing. A larger range of motion can be achieved using lighter resistance than body weight which speeds up recovery through this controlled movement.
The Yoga Ball is a great tool for developing a good muscle tone for your entire body and for rehabilitating back, hip, and knee injuries as well as delivering a powerful workout to improve core stability, posture, and muscle balance.
Using a Foam Roller, especially the deep massage roller helps to reduce inflammation, scar tissue and joint stress and improve circulation and flexibility. Rolling before and after your workout helps to prepare your muscles for the exercise and also to recover afterwards.
Rolling can prevents injuries, promote recovery, break-up scar tissue, improve mobility and flexibility and removes lactic acid.
For the ultimate core workout try hula hooping, this workout burns muscle, tightens stomach muscle and improves your balance and co-ordination.
Nordic Walking is a great way to keep fit for everybody from those with medical problems to the super fit.
Physical Benefits include: Tones upper and lower body; uses 90% of the skeletal muscles; burns up to 46% more calories than ordinary walking; reduces the pressure on knees and joints; great for the heart and lungs; ideal for neck, shoulder and back problems, poles propel you along without feeling the effort and it is one of the most effective cross training techniques for athletes and sportspeople who require ultimate cardiovascular and endurance conditioning.