Tag Archive for: posture

Amy SmileyAmy Smiley, Age 62

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU

I spent most of my life in California, with a short stint in Sweden in the 1970s. My degrees are in Chemical Engineering and I worked in the biotech industry once I got out of graduate school. I loved working in such a new field at the time. As the family grew, I decided to quit my paid job and stay home with the children. As time went on I realized I needed a creative outlet and took up Plein air painting (with the same fantastic friend who introduced me to Teresa’s classes!). After my family and friends, I love the outdoors, science, gardening, and art.

WHEN DID YOU BEGIN SESSIONS WITH TERESA?

I started classes with Teresa in 2012 and have continued with them ever since. Teresa’s Pilates classes are a priority for me because of the physical and mental benefits they provide. I have celiac disease, which causes any number of inflammatory problems and Teresa’s classes are essential to my ability to manage those issues. When something has to fall off my plate it won’t be Teresa’s class!

 

WHAT MOVEMENT OR PRINCIPLE HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST?

I’d like to choose just one movement or body dynamic principle that I learned from Teresa that has helped me but there are too many!  From ribs down to soup bowl to lifting your toes…I am always learning something new, even ten years later.  I think, for myself, as I continue to become more body aware, I continue to learn in each class.  And, as new issues develop as the years march on, I discover new fixes for them.  Everything that I have learned from Teresa applies not only in class but in other activities and my daily movement.  Not to mention that Teresa is so gracious with her time whenever anyone has a question about alignment or movement difficulties.  She always takes time to answer any questions and I learn from my questions and those of others.  What a fantastic tool!

 

Amy Smiley Testimonial for Aging Strong Pilates

WHAT WERE THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC ON YOUR MOVEMENT PRACTICE?

At the beginning of the pandemic, I dropped the gym and in-person classes.  Although we stayed active, I really missed the benefit and connection of group exercise classes.  I worried about how well I would maintain mobility and strength without the motivation and guidance that Teresa provides.  When Teresa opened her remote classes I jumped right in and was so grateful! Now that some degree of normalcy is returning, having the option of in-person and virtual classes is even better than before.

I absolutely love the energy and camaraderie in the in-person classes.  They are a tonic for the soul.  I can’t think of a single class where I haven’t had a good laugh for one reason or another.  I missed that tremendously until in-person became available again.  But it’s also great to have access to the class online if I can’t make it in person and to have the videos afterward.

 

Have you found navigating my online booking system challenging?
I created these short video tutorials to make everything easy peasy, crystal clear!
  1. First view the “Overview for All” before clicking the video for the category of class that interests you.
  2. Bookmark my scheduling home page BoneSmartPilates.as.me for easy access
  3. If you prefer using mobile devices, download the free app “Acuity Scheduling Client” from the App store. My sisters find it easy to navigate.
  4. Always Log In whenever you’re on the site. If  you haven’t created an account you can Create an Account Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you ever wonder how the hunchback of Notre Dame got his hump? And do you worry that you are heading toward the same fate?  If you spend too much of your time sitting, driving, doing computer work and/or texting, you just might be. Or, if you’re a breast cancer survivor experiencing surgical tissue tightness across the front of your shoulders, you might collapse your chest in subconscious protective posturing.

These activities all promote a forward flexed spine which can restrict our mobility, impair our balance and breathing, and cause all kinds of problems we don’t want to deal with—including the dreaded hump!

How often do you extend (bend backward)? Unless you change lightbulbs for a profession, I bet not very often. Extension is especially crucial for those with osteopenia or osteopososis-a silent disease of low bone density.  Decreased bone density can lead to a forward flexed spine due to common undiagnosed spine compression fractures.

Extension exercises will help to decrease that forward curve inclination. Those with decreased bone density are more susceptible to fractures, especially from falls. Upright posture is associated with decreased falls and studies show extension exercises build stronger bones in the spine. Added bonus, extending the spine just feels great!

In this workshop, discover the secrets of spine extension exercises to

  • Improve your posture and prevent falls
  • Build bone in your spine
  • Promote healthy aging to continue to do what you love

Learn how to do spine extension correctly, avoiding common pitfalls.  Experience simple extension exercises in multiple body positions, to unleash your optimal posture and bone health throughout the day.

You’ll receive a printable follow-along guide that you can also reference afterward to remind yourself of all the things you’ll learn in the workshop.

Extend Yourself!

PURCHASE HERE

We all have our postural faults, especially if we lose focus. Mine is rib flaring, that tendency to jut the bottom ribs forward in a faulty attempt to open the chest or lengthen the body. This often results in excess back tension and pain.

With mindfulness and an awareness of this tendency, I can better control this common error and so can you!

The secret is, no surprise, “connection”.  I like to use the image of 2 vertical bungee cords connecting my front bottom ribs with my pelvis.  Watch the video to test if you’re a rib flarer and learn 2 exercises to help fix it.

Falls are a concern for many of us, particularly for my readers with bone density concerns and those living in cold climates with slippery conditions. With 2 million preventable fractures occurring every year, don’t be a statistic. Pick up some quick and easy helpful hints here!

Studies show that just 5 minutes of daily balance training will significantly reduce your risk of falls. Practice this unique exercise designed by Teresa Maldonado Marchok, licensed physical therapist and certified Pilates instructor.  Improve your bones, balance, strength and mental acuity!

Upper back-or Thoracic rotation is necessary for life activities like twisting to back up your car, golf, tennis… This video demonstrates a rotation exercise to improve your mobility in this area and avoid taking up the slack in your neck or low back.

Cultivate your strength and balance in under 3 minutes with this new fun and challenging standing kitchen counter series.  Try it first without the resistance band, and when comfortable, add the resistance loop for greater challenge.  Safe for those with back issues and osteoporosis. If you don’t have a loop, tie a resistance band around your thighs.

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!

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!