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Teresa Maldonado Marchok, physical therapist and certified Pilates instructor, shares BoneSmart Pilates® Healthy Supported Sitting Tips when you want to sit at the back of a chair.

Having a husband and son who are hard core hikers,  I’ve  had to figure out how to keep up. With much encouragement  (and trepidation on my part) I made it up Yosemite National Park’s iconic Half Dome for the first time just 4 years ago.  Since that extremely challenging hike which literally wiped me out, I’ve discovered the magic of trekking poles and it’s made subsequent hikes so much easier!

What are some of the advantages of trekking poles?
  • Stability and balance-you’ve just added 2 more points of contact on the ground in addition to your 2 feet.
  • Power-as you pull yourself forward with your upper body, it creates more power and force to propel you
  • Integrated workout– you find you’ll use your upper body, core and hips in an integrated full body work out as you propel yourself forward in space.
  • Strengthening myofascial connections-For those interested in fascia, the connections of the posterior oblique fascial sling are magnified as you engage your latissimus dorsi on one side simultaneously with the gluteal muscle on the opposite side of your body. As the right arm extends back-you fire that right latissimus muscle, at the same time you are extending your opposite hip (left) gluteal muscle. They work in tandem in a powerful way to propel you forward.
  • Aesthetics-you look sporty!
When I ascend a steep hill, I’m working both my upper body and my hips and legs. The extra support from the poles and recruitment of my upper body almost feels like someone is offering me a boost from behind. It’s a tremendous help.
When I descend, the poles take some of the weight off my joints helping relieve possible overuse and stress to my knees.
Since incorporating trekking poles into my hikes, I feel more powerful, have better endurance and feel more stability with the enhanced balanced provided by additional points of contact with the poles to the ground.  I’m more sure of my footing as I’m able to test the terrain with my forward pole.
The mechanics of walking with the poles is simple but requires awareness and practice.  As you step forward with your right heel simultaneously the left pole touches done in front and vice versa.

Try this now with me.  As you step forward with the right heel, your upper body is rotated toward the front (right) leg-left pole on the ground in front.  Then your left lats fire as you pull back w/your left arm, rotating your upper body to the left as you shift your weight onto your rt leg and your left leg swings forward.

The kinetic chain continues with firing of the opposite right gluteal muscle in a diagonal pattern.  This is the myofascial posterior oblique line of connective tissue in action, firing in a coordinated fashion to promote healthy gait.

Recently my husband and son hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up in 1 day.  Though I had no desire to put myself through that, I joined my daughter and the rest of our friends for some challenging hikes offering breathtaking vistas and with every facilitated step I was grateful to have the poles ease impact on my joints during the descent and have the poles assist me to power my ascent.

The collapsible poles that I own provide absorption of forces, increased power to propel myself, and more stability and balance to reduce the risk of falls.  Poles come at set heights and adjustable heights.  If you’re buying ones at a set height- make sure your forearm is parallel with the ground when you’re holding them (elbow at a 90 degree angle).  If you want to share your poles, it’s better to buy adjustable poles where you can vary the height.

For me, the features most important were collapsibility (to 24 inches) and weight. I wanted to be able to tuck them in a backpack or hang them from a carabiner on my fanny pack and wanted them to be very lightweight.  I have no ties with any trekking pole company. I just wanted to share my experience in the hopes that it might inspire others to get moving more and enjoy the amazing beauty we have at our fingertips.

Stay tuned for my next blog post and video where I’ll share helpful stretches and warmups for hiking using the trekking poles.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I hear – I just don’t have time to get to a fitness class as often as I want to.     Here’s a quick workout that you can do in your kitchen.   It’s a short, time efficient standing workout you can do in your kitchen between latte’s! This workout targets hip and leg strength, core, flexibility and balance – great for when you’re tight on time and want a quick fix!   Let me know how you like it!

If you, your mom or dad would like to weave in some hip and leg strengthening while getting in and out of a chair, watch a short video below of my mom as I cue her in this process.

 

STREAMING OPTION!   BoneSmart Pilates® Exercise to Prevent and Reverse Osteoporosis is now easily available internationally in a Streaming Option! People have been asking for this throughout the globe — so I am excited to partner with Vimeo to offer this  streaming link.

What this means for you!

1.  If you live outside of the United States:  Before this option was available, you would have had to purchase the DVD for $29.99 (US Dollars) and then pay international shipping to have it delivered to you. Now you pay the same price, and you can watch thru any device on the internet (phone, tablet or computer), as many times as you wish!
2.  If you’re traveling outside of the United States: You don’t have to take a DVD player (or a device that has a DVD player) with you on your trip!  You can watch thru any device on the internet (phone, tablet or computer) by purchasing a subscription through this link, and watch whenever you have access to the internet!
3.   If you already have a BoneSmart Pilates DVD – you may want to purchase a subscription – so you have easy access when traveling in the United States!

Aging Strong Pilates Volume 2 is at the printer right now and I’m so excited to make these workouts available to you!  This DVD is a brain body challenge with 2 efficient workouts ~ 25min each, for when you’re tight on time!  In addition to standing weight bearing exercise and core mat work, It includes a bone building stomping dance and a bonus posture coaching section. If you have all 3 of my DVDs, you’ll have a workout for every day of the week!  Pre-order by 8/19 and enter code FREESHIP to get Free Domestic Shipping!

What do we know for sure?
Resistance exercise stimulates not only muscle but bone formation.

How?
When you do resistance training that’s more intense than what your muscles come to expect (like lifting more than your purse), the tendons that attach muscle to bone, pull on your bones stimulating the bones to respond. Depending on your age and the workouts, “it can either increase or maintain bone mass density” according to Steven Hawkins, PhD, professor of exercise science at California Lutheran University.

Which is Better-Weights or Bands?
Resistance training in all forms is good for our bones and in one Connecticut study, it didn’t seem to matter whether you used weights or bands, they all produced positive results for bone in general. Evidence by a recent a study in Taiwan of women over 60 y/o doing resistance band training for 40 min 3x/wk for 12 weeks demonstrated that elastic resistance band exercise resulted in increased bone mineral density.

Lots of Options
There are many options out there to increase strength such as: machines at the gym, dumbbells, your own body weight and resistance bands.  In my BoneSmart Pilates® Osteoporosis and Aging Strong DVD’s, I chose to use resistance bands versus weights to build muscle and bone strength for a simple reason. Bands are lightweight and portable (so you can travel with them) and they’re inexpensive compared to gym equipment.

What is weight bearing exercise?
Weight bearing exercise is exercise in which you are supporting your own body weight through your feet and legs or hands and arms. Weight bearing exercise is proven to be essential for maintaining and building bone. When we combine standing weight bearing exercise with resistance band training, we challenge our balance, agility and coordination-key components for preventing falls. Falling is a concern for us as we age, including those of us with osteopenia or osteoporosis. Remember that 1 of 2 women over 50 will have an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime (NOF) and most of those fractures result from falls.

It’s important to note that after we hit 30, our biological balance of bone building and bone breakdown tips towards bone loss. If you’re sedentary and not getting adequate weight bearing and resistance exercise, your bones will pay. Add to that the arrival of menopause, where a drop in estrogen causes a big drop in bone density and you have a recipe of swiss cheese for bones.

The good news is, studies show during post menopause that with just 2 resistance workouts per week, we can slow down or even halt our bone loss. As we age we need to be vigilant about our overall health in general and our bone health in particular.

My BoneSmart Pilates Aging Strong series targets areas of decline as we age – including hip and leg strength, spine strength, bone strength and balance. The workouts in all my DVD’s capitalize on resistance to build muscle and bone strength. With my researched approach as a physical therapist, “Movement becomes your Medicine”.  The workouts are designed to be safe for people with osteoporosis, herniated discs, chronic pain or general back and joint issues.

The BoneSmart Pilates® Aging Strong Enhanced Prop Bundle that accompanies my Aging Strong Pilates DVD’s includes among other things:

  • 3 resistance bands of varied strength, for increasing upper and lower body strength (and flexibility) These 5 foot long resistance bands are low-protein and powder-free, reducing skin irritation and making them ideal for sensitive users.
  • 2 resistance ankle loops of light and stronger resistance. These smaller cousins of the long bands pack quite a workout for your hips and legs and because you’re not tying a long band around your ankles, there’s no risk of tripping on a loose end that could come undone.

To summarize, Bands do Build Bone. I still include hand weights and Pilates machines like the Reformer and Cadillac for my studio clients for interest and variety but there’s nothing like putting your bands and loops in a zip lock bag, slipping that into your purse and having your workout with you wherever you go!

 

 

 

 

 

  

I was honored to present at the 23rd Annual Health Living Retreat for Women sponsored by the Stanford Health Improvement program which is part of the School of Medicine. My workshop entitled BoneSmart: Movement Strategies to improve Posture, Balance and Bone Strength was attended by an enthusiastic audience of Stanford Alumni who are interested in aging strong.

My sister Mercedes flew from New York to serve as my right hand assistant. We enjoyed engaging conversations with many of the alum and took advantage of the beautiful surroundings at Fallen Leaf Lake. Amidst much laughter we hiked, kayaked, and ate healthily and abundantly!

It is a privilege to be able to give participants the ability to change the course of their lives through BoneSmart Pilates workshops.

Enjoy the video highlights above. I had so much fun sharing with this lively, smart and inquisitive group of women. If you know of a group that would like to host this workshop, please contact me by replying to this email.

Description of my BoneSmart Workshop below.

“1 in 2 women over 50 will experience an osteoporosis related fracture in their lifetime (NOF 2005) Despite common misconceptions, this is not just a concern for the elderly. This workshop will provide an overview of the scientific research and current guidelines to improve your bone density and decrease your fracture risk. Learn 5 simple strategies you can apply right away to improve your muscle and bone strength, posture and balance.”

As a professional dancer in NYC with Martha Graham, Pilates was the buzzword for injury prevention and building functional strength and core stability. Taking a recommendation from friends, I sought out training with one of the Pilates elders “Robert Fitzgerald”.  It was 1989, a hot, humid day. His studio, also his living quarters, was on the upper west side of Manhattan. As I entered the studio with all this Pilates equipment that resembled torture devices, I was greeted with Robert’s warm smile and embrace.

I will never forget my first time doing leg circles on the Reformer and thinking  A) how good it felt, and B) how much it replicated a certain move we do in dance. I discovered so many similarities between Pilates exercises and the Martha Graham technique, which is the core vocabulary of the Martha Graham Dance company. It helped me avoid injury and definitely improved my performance.  I took class with Robert regularly and at any given session, he’d have 4-5 people there, many of them luminaries from theater and dance, entering at different times overlapping each other. We all knew our warm ups and he’d offer suggestions and corrections as he supervised our workouts. We were very independent.  I felt stronger than ever!