Your Gluteus are more important than you think

When it comes to strengthening and conditioning the gluteus are an often overlooked area of the body. There is a lot of emphasis placed upon the core and core strengthening for fitness and rehabilitation – but your gluteus play an important role too.

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Gluteus 101

Essentially, your gluteus are your butt muscles! There are 3 main muscles that make up your gluteus:

  • Gluteus Maximus

  • Gluteus Medius

  • Gluteus Minimus

 The Gluteus Maximus is the largest of these muscles (and indeed the largest in the whole body!) which is primarily used for upper leg extension.[1]

Gluteus Medius and Minimus perform similar functions, mostly to do with supporting and stabilising your body on your legs and helping to internally rotate your thigh.[2]

So why are your Gluteus so important?

Your gluteus play a very important role in keeping your body stabilised and supported. In fact, we use them all the time when running, walking up stairs and even plain old walking. Your gluteus stabilise the hip by counteracting gravity and maintaining proper leg alignment.

Strong glutes keep you balanced and supported, ensuring that every activity your body does is positively impacted. [3] Without them we couldn’t walk upright!

With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles  we spend a lot of time sitting so it is vitally important that we actively and mindfully work our posterior muscles.

Here are some of the benefits of stronger gluteus[4]:

  • Better Posture

  • Improved Balance and;

  • Reduced Chance of Injury

Weak gluteus and hip pain

The hip joint is one of the most powerful joints in your body, playing an important role it’s smooth and unimpeded movement.

In the case of hip flexor strains the origin of the pain is not usually at the front of the hip, but rather in the posterior hips muscles – the gluteus.[5]

[1] https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/butt-ology-101-how-to-enhance-your-gluteal-muscles
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluteus_medius_muscle
[3] http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/facts-about-glutes/slide/3
[4] https://fitstrong.co.za/why-are-strong-glutes-so-important/
[5] http://www.fitnessnetwork.com.au/resources-library/hip-flexor-strains-glutes-may-be-the-answer

Why is it so important to build a strong core?

‘Stronger abs’ or a better ‘six pack’ is a very common desired outcome when people first start a new exercise regime. Having a more defined waist line, flatter stomach and getting rid of the dreaded ‘love handles’ are sought after physical results when working the abdominal muscles.

Most movement starts at the centre and moves outwards, so aside from making you feel more comfortable in your swimmers at the beach, building a strong core can also provide you with important, long term health benefits:

  1. Help prevent injuries – building a strong core can help stabilise your body, improve your overall fitness and make you less prone to injury.

  2. Decrease occurrences of back pain – with our sedentary lifestyles we often spend hours sitting with a tilted pelvis and an arched back – this weakens our core and leads to pain in the upper and lower back.

  3. Protects your central nervous system – building a strong core helps to protect your inner organs and nervous system.[1]

Consequences of weak abs and core.

Your abs are the anchor of your spine, if they are weak then other structures, like your back muscles will have to work harder to support you. Repeated misuse of these muscles can lead to poor posture, upper and lower back pain and ultimately affect your quality of life. By strengthening your core you can prevent injuries and ensure that your movements are pain free.  

How do strong abs protect your back?

The abdominals provide significant protection against wear on the lumbar disks and back muscles. By preventing excessive rotation of the spine and promoting better posture, you control the curve of your spine and limit instances of pain in the upper and lower back.[2]

What’s the best prevention against developing back pain?

Back pain is a complex issue and there is no single reason that explains why it occurs. But there are a number of simple things you can do to prevent back pain. It’s all about reducing pressure, relieving strain and of course, strengthening your supporting muscles.

  1. A regular exercise regime that incorporates abdominal and back strengthening will help you develop a stronger and more flexible back.  A discipline such as Pilates helps to teach you the correct core–control techniques that result in improved general function and reduced back pain.[3]

  2. “If you maintain good eating habits, you not only will maintain a healthy weight, but you also will not put unnecessary stress on your body.[4]" Make sure your diet is full of fresh fruit and vegies, lean meat and diary with a focus on calcium and vitamin D will help keep your bones and spine strong.

  3. Being mindful of your posture and alignment will help keep your core engaged and prevent slouching and slumping, which is a common cause of damage to the spine and pain in the upper and lower back.

Where can you get help?

At Active Pilates, Geraldton we welcome you to an opportunity to make a difference in your body. We will introduce you to a fitness routine that suits your unique need. Our classes are designed to help you feel great and maintain life-long fitness.  All exercises are appropriate to the needs of our clients to prevent the occurrence of potential injuries. We can also conduct fitness assessments, which enable us to determine the most suitable exercises for your level of fitness and specific requirements.

You can book your initial fitness assessment with Active Pilates by visiting our website here.

“I love Pilates because it is fun, challenging, rewarding, and encouraging.”      
 Deb, November 2015

 

1. http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/5-reasons-to-strengthen-your-core/
2. https://yogainternational.com/article/view/no-more-back-pain-tone-the-right-abs
3. http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/core-promises-20091007-gnbv.html 4. http://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/back-pain/quick-tips-to-help-prevent-back-pain.aspx

 

How to overcome workout procrastination

Finding the motivation to begin or consistently maintain a healthy workout regime can be one of the biggest barriers to lifelong fitness. With our busy modern day schedules it can be a challenge to find the time to fit in a workout. To prioritise your wellbeing you need to overcome the toxic habit of procrastination.

Procrastination is essentially an emotional reaction. The more boring, ambiguous, and unstructured a task is, the more likely you are to ‘put it off’. [1]Most people recognise the importance of regular exercise and understand further the detrimental effects of sedentary lifestyles and how this impacts both your physical and mental health.

So how can you build structure and meaning  within your workout regime and overcome the burden procrastination?

Try these few simple tips:

1.    Be Realistic

Don’t kick off your new exercise regime with impractical expectations. By being realistic and setting achievable goals you’ll build the right mindset to keep you motivated.

2.    Start Small

Don’t take on too much when working out! Start small and build up to longer and more advanced exercises over time. If you bite off more than you can chew you’ll lose enthusiasm quickly!

3.    Make it Fun

Choose exercise that you enjoy. Bringing a friend or joining a group of other like-minded individuals breaks up repetitiveness and helps you to look forward to your workouts each week.

4.    Build a Habit

Schedule a specific time each week when you’ll work out or attend a class. Routine will help you break the ‘I’ll get to it tomorrow’ mentality and assist in building a healthy exercise habit.

5.    Commit to a Short Term Plan

Join a class that runs over a month.  Committing to a specific short term plan with measurable outcomes and goals will kick start your work out motivation. After a month you can re-assess what works for you.

6.    Acknowledge your Progress

Celebrate your victories, however small! Be kind to yourself and give credit where credit is due. Reward yourself with a treat that compliments your goals like new workout gear or a massage.

Active Pilates has just launched a new Unlimited Monthly Pass, exclusive to new clients for only $64!

We welcome you to come and join any of our classes and see for yourself how Pilates can help you feel great and maintain lifelong fitness.

To claim your Unlimited Monthly Pass call Katarina on 0415 128 804. 

[1] http://alifeofproductivity.com/why-you-procrastinate-10-tactics-to-help-you-stop/

How Core Workout can Help Reduce Stress

Competitive athletes often feel enormous amounts of stress. They may feel anxious and nervous in the lead up and right before a big match and then subject their bodies to tremendous pressure when the time comes to perform.

Learning how to manage mental and physical stress is probably one of the most important skills an athlete can have. Preparation and training means nothing to an athlete if they can’t perform during competition, no matter what level of contest.

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In the right amounts stress can actually be beneficial to an athlete, keeping them more alert and focused. [1] However, too much stress – both physical and metal - can be very detrimental to performance, impairing cognitive process, decision making and reaction time. [2]

Telling someone to ‘stay calm’ and not ‘stress out’ is much easier said than done. There are many strategies that top athletes use to stay mentally tough and focused, but one of the lesser known treatments for managing stress is core workout.

It is commonly said that exercises like Pilates or Yoga are ‘good for stress.’ How we move, think and feel has a real impact on the stress response in our bodies…but why is this exactly? An interesting article recently delved into research between the neurons located in our body’s axial muscles (the core) and their connections to our adrenal glands. [3]

“There’s all this evidence that core strengthening has an impact on stress. And when you see somebody that's depressed or stressed out, you notice changes in their posture. When you stand up straight, it has an effect on how you project yourself and how you feel.  Well, lo and behold, core muscles have an impact on stress. And I suspect that if you activate core muscles inappropriately with poor posture, that’s going to have an impact on stress.”

– Peter Strick, Professor of Neurobiology

What Professor Strick and this research tells us is exercises that consciously activate the core have a direct effect on stress levels. The professor, once a sceptic, has actually started practicing Pilates himself! Pilates not only activates the axial muscles of the core that link to neurological pathways that control stress, it also incorporates mindful breathing, a technique that releases accumulated stress within the body.

If you would like to learn more about how core workout can help you manage stress, we recently wrote an article about the 6 Core Principles of Pilates. [4] In it we illustrate how the discipline of Pilates unifies the mind, body and spirit, providing everyone from novice to competitive athletes a proven way to manage their mental stress and improve their physical well being.       

At Active Pilates we understand that everyone comes to us with their own fitness goals. We can create a custom program that will improve your performance and suit your abilities and fitness level. Call us on 0415 128 804 to discuss your needs.

 

[1] http://www.peaksports.com/sports-psychology-blog/how-stress-can-affect-sports-performance
[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/roger-covin/stress-sports_b_892562.html
[3] http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/08/cortical-adrenal-orchestra/496679/?utm_source=nl-atlantic-weekly-123016
[4] http://www.activepilates.com.au/blog/2017/1/9/6-core-principles-of-pilates    

 

5 Key Benefits of Small Group Classes

There’s been a lot of research recently into the benefits of smaller class sizes on the academic performance of school students. Studies have proven that smaller class sizes increases student achievement, boosts grades and improves attendance records. [1]

When practicing Pilates and Yoga the benefits of smaller group classes can also be seen.

With less people in a group you are able to receive more individualised attention giving your instructor the space to focus on specific problems and assist more readily in stretching and proper alignment.

If you’re thinking of enrolling in a Pilates or Yoga class for the New Year, here are 5 key benefits of smaller group classes for you to consider:

Customised program

Being able to customise Pilates or Yoga exercises to the individual will allow you to maximise your workout. Everybody’s fitness goals are different. You may be doing Pilates to lose weight, tighten up specific areas or rehabilitate an injury. With smaller classes your instructor is able to customise exercises to suit your specific needs.

Greater Understanding

Smaller group classes afford your instructor a deeper understanding of your strengths and limitations. Smaller classes means more individualised attention. You won’t get lost in a crowd of people and your instructor is better able to track your progress and abilities.

Personalised Approach

Active Pilates group classes are limited to a maximum of 12 people per class. We stick to this limit because we want the ability to address our client’s distinct needs. This personalised approach allows you to feel safe and secure when you come to the studio, confident in the knowledge that we have the time and focus to provide you with a workout that suits you, not just a generalised class with routine exercises.

Transferable Environment

With smaller group classes it is much easier to move around. A balance of indoor and outdoor settings keeps things fresh and interesting and provides a more varied workout.  When indoors you have access to our equipment and studio environment, whilst outdoor training offers many benefits such as increased mental stimulation, exposure to Vitamin D and a healthy mood boost. [2]

Social Interaction           

Smaller classes provide an opportunity to connect with others that isn’t afforded with large, crowded classes. Smaller groups nurture collaboration and cooperation and allow you to forge relationships with greater ease. Because of our smaller groups we often find that our clients continue to build friendships with each other outside of their Pilates classes!

At Active Pilates our small groups of a maximum of 12 people are set up to ensure we can provide you with personalised attention and a customised exercise program that will suit your needs. We offer a supportive, calm and nurturing environment that will help you achieve your goals so you can feel good about your body and your mind.

Learn more about what you can expect from our classes.

[1] http://www.classsizematters.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/benefits-of-CSR-6-10.pdf

[2] http://the-fit-foodie.com/5-benefits-of-training-outdoors/