Monthly Archives: April 2013

Quick Tip: 10 Tips To Avoid Injury At The Gym

MACHINE CHEST PRESS

MACHINE CHEST PRESS

WARM-UP

Start your routine with a warm-up.  Spend 10 minutes on a cardio machine, and work up to a light sweat.  

COOL-DOWN: Finish your routine with stretching.  Hold each stretch for 20 seconds.

WEIGHT MACHINES: Most machines have instructions, and illustrations showing proper body alignment.  Read the instructions so that you know how to use each machine.  If you need more help, ask a floor trainer.

LIFTING TECHNIQUE

  • Do not lift more weight than you can handle.  If your face turns beet red, and you can’t breathe, you’re lifting too much weight.  Overexertion leads to injury.
  • Do not swing dumbbells.  When weights are too heavy for your level of strength, you’re going to resort to swinging them instead of lifting.
  • Learn how to control free weights.  Barbells and dumbbells, known as free weights,  are more difficult to use than weight machines, because you have to control the weight while using correct alignment.  An out-of-control barbell is very dangerous to you and the people working around you.
  • If you’re new to lifting, start with machines, not free weights.

SEEK ADVICE

If you need advice, ask a trainer.  Gym members are not a reliable source of information.  Just because they belong to your gym, doesn’t mean they know any more than you do.

GROUP CLASSES

Let your instructor know if you have injuries before the class starts.  Ask their advice on whether the class is suitable for your level.  

PROPER CLOTHING

Always wear athletic footwear when training.  Proper footwear gives your feet support, and protects them from injury.

Copyright 2013 Irene Pastore and Blue Moon Personal Training

Good Posture vs. Bad Posture

Picture A shows a normal spine.  B, C, and D show poor posture.

WHAT IS GOOD POSTURE?

When you have good posture, your body is straight, with the ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in a straight line.

WHY IS GOOD POSTURE IMPORTANT?

Muscles work as a team.  When you have good posture, your muscles are balanced, and keep your spine in proper alignment.  You feel healthy, and look good.

Muscle imbalance occurs when some muscles are stronger because you use them more often, while others are weak because you use them less.

If the muscles supporting your spine are weak, you’ll eventually experience muscle spasm, neck and back pain. Spinal misalignment also contributes to inefficient breathing.  Without proper exercise to bring the spine into its neutral position, these conditions get worse.

Muscle balance creates good posture, prevents injury, backache, spasms, and neck pain.  Good posture enhances self-esteem.

RETURN TO LIFE

In his book, Return To Life, published in 1945, Joseph Pilates wrote about the problems caused by spinal misalignment, lack of exercise, poor breathing habits, and the harmful effects of modern living on human health.   The same problems prevail today, if not more so.  The pace of life is fast, our society is sedentary, we overeat, and don’t exercise enough.

“Physical fitness is the first requisite for happiness” – Joseph Pilates

Copyright 2013 Irene Pastore and Blue Moon Personal Training

Correcting Poor Posture with Pilates

This is a photograph of two women in their early twenties.  Both have poor posture.  If it’s not corrected, it will get worse.

POOR POSTURE AND BODY LANGUAGE

What does their body language say about them?  Do they appear confident, heathy, fit, lethargic, dull, or happy?  The way you carry your body, tells the world how you feel about yourself.

POSTURAL ASSESSMENT

Both women have an exaggerated curve in their upper back, their shoulders are rounded forward, their chests are caved in, their abdomens protrude, and their heads are forward and upright.

HOW DOES POOR POSTURE HAPPEN?

Postural problems develop from one or more lifestyle habits, such as leaning over a computer terminal,  lack of appropriate exercise, habitual slouching when eating, doing homework, or reading.

CORRECTIVE PILATES EXERCISE

Pilates exercise can improve poor posture.  Both women should begin their Pilates exercise routine with basic, modified exercises.

Strengthen the upper back:  Modified Breast Stroke, Modified Swimming on All Fours, Modified Double Leg Kick.

Strengthen the abdominals: Modified Roll-Up With Pilates Band, Single Leg Stretch and Hundred on the Spine Supporter.

Open the chest and the abdominals: Pilates Chest and Abs Stretch on the Stability Ball.

Copyright 2013 Irene Pastore and Blue Moon Personal Training

 

Pilates Improves Your Posture

A Healthy Posture With Normal Spinal Curves

Good posture is necessary for efficient movement. When someone has good posture it means that all muscles are in a balanced state, the spine maintains its normal curves, and the pelvis is in a neutral position.  When these requirements are not met, we experience poor posture.

WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IF YOU HAVE POOR POSTURE?

  • Backache
  • Headache
  • Stress on bones, joints, muscles and ligaments
  • Muscle injury
  • Pain
  • Postural deformity
  • Bone injury

LIFESTYLE HABITS CAN CAUSE POOR POSTURE

  • Wearing a heavy purse over your shoulder.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Obesity.
  • Carrying an overloaded backpack, or briefcase.  

    Poor Posture With Misaligned Spinal Curves

  • Slouching over your desk.
  • Sleeping on your stomach.
  • Wearing high heel shoes.

HOW PILATES EXERCISE CAN HELP

Poor posture creates muscle imbalance, meaning that some muscles are strong while others are weak.

Pilates exercises strengthen and stretch the muscles that support your spine, and can help you reclaim healthy spinal alignment.  The goal of Pilates is to bring  the spinal curves into their neutral position.

Copyright 2013 Irene Pastore and Blue Moon Personal Training

Vegan Papaya Mango Smoothie

A sweet, filling drink with a smooth and creamy consistency.  Healthy, quick, lots of fiber, and 155 calories. 

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup fresh papaya

1/2 cup fresh mango

1 cup soymilk

1/4 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS

Put all ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Serve in a tall glass.

SUBSTITUTIONS

Replace the soymilk with your favorite milk.  

For a thicker consistency, experiment using plain yogurt instead of milk.  

Double the recipe for a bigger drink, or put some away in the fridge for later.  

Chill the ingredients if you prefer a cold smoothie.

Copyright 2013 Irene Pastore and Blue Moon Personal Training