The one thing that will lengthen your life

The one thing that will lengthen your life

Amazing fact of the week- A recent study shows that men and women who ramped up their activity gradually to about seven hours a week by the age of 40-61 reduced their risk of death from any cause in the years that followed by about 35%.

All the more reason to not miss your regular pilates, dance and stretch classes, and if anything try and do more. It’s great if you manage one class a week, but by increasing what you do to say two or three classes a week, along with increasing the activity in your day to day life you will be protecting yourself against many of the illnesses related to inactivity and ageing.

Exercise Yourself Happy

We’re all aware of the physical benefits of exercise, but what is becoming more and more apparent is the positive effect it can have on your state of mind. Exercise can actually make you happier. And here are five good reasons why:

1. It boosts the ‘happy’ chemical in your brain

Exercise releases Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is vital in creating feelings of pleasure and happiness. It’s also responsible for feelings of motivation so the more your exercise, the more motivated you’ll feel in general, which will help in all areas of your life. 

Dopamine decreases with age so all the more reason to get out there and get active if you want to be smiling well into your twilight years.

2. You’ll feel less stressed

When you exercise you are submitting your body to low levels of stress as it raises your heart rate and triggers hormonal changes. By exercising regularly your body learns to cope with this level of stress, which in turn enables it to cope much better with any stress you encounter in day-to-day life. 

More exercise equals less stress. And less stress means a happier way of life.

3.You’ll have more energy

There is no doubt that exercise leaves you feeling energized, rejuvenated and ready to take on the world. So when you have that nagging voice in your head saying, ‘I’ll just skip it today. I’m too tired/ busy/ stressed’ remember that you always feel better when you’ve done it.

Exercise equals energy! And energy gives you the get up and go to enjoy life.

4. It will ease anxiety

Anxiety along with stress is one of the worst offenders of our modern world. If you suffer from anxiety, exercise may be a way to cure those difficult feelings.

Recent studies on people suffering from anxiety show that exercise gives an immediate mood boost, which is followed by longer-term relief, similar to that offered by talking therapy and meditation.

So when you’re feeling anxious, have a workout, you’ll feel happier for days afterwards.

5. It will boost your confidence

Feeling good about your body and how you look is so important to your overall wellbeing. No one is happier than a person comfortable in their own skin.

If you suffer from low self-esteem due to how you feel about your body, this can have a negative affect on many areas of your life from relationships to career and personal aspirations. Exercise can change this. Getting into a regular routine you will see your body start to change and be amazed at how quickly you begin to feel better. Not only will you like the way you look, you’ll also have a sense of pride and achievement at what you’ve accomplished. Because the bottom line is, you did it for yourself.

And what if you don’t like exercise? Well, I believe everyone can enjoy exercise, it’s just a case of finding something you like doing. Remember it doesn’t have to be going to a gym; it could be a walking club, cycling, archery, yoga, pilates, dance, a team sport like football or netball, anything to get you moving.

Whatever your gender or your age there is something out there for you. Be open minded, look at what there is available in your area. Be brave and try something new. You’ll be amazed at how it can change your life; you’ll meet new people, you’ll get fitter and most importantly, you’ll exercise yourself happy.

© Rachel Lawrence. All rights reserved. No reproduction without permission.

Christmas Message

Well I have hung up my ballet shoes for 12 days, after the last ballet barre class of 2014!

I'll still be inhaling and exhaling for one more day doing my Pilates personal training with private clients keen to hone their bodies on Christmas Eve, as well as those who I have been working with remedially this year. 

Have you got 'Text Neck' ? How technology is damaging your spine

Oh yes there is actually a word for it now. And not only that, scientific studies have been carried out to test the stress on your neck when constantly looking down at your technology device. With an average head weighing 12 pounds, the poundage increases with each degree of curvature in your neck. At a 15-degree angle the weight is about 27 pounds, at 30 degrees it’s 40 pounds and at 60 degrees it’s a whopping 60 pounds.

Real Men do Pilates by Rachel Lawrence

I guess the overuse of this headline (try putting it into google and see what you get) reflects the fact that it is much harder to encourage men to try Pilates for the first time.  One of the challenges I face as a Pilates instructor is the idea that Pilates is just for women, that it’s easy and not challenging enough for the male psyche. And this is the perception I love to blow out of the water. Pilates was, after all invented by a man who was incredibly strong, athletic and dedicated his whole life to fitness. If you’re in any doubt as to how manly the exercise regime can be, you only have to look at the picture below of Joseph Pilates himself, taken in the 1940’s when he was already 60 years old.

By any standards, he had a very impressive physique for a man, let alone a 60 year old, and when you take on board that it was solely down to practicing daily Pilates there must be a lot more to it than you think. So what do you get out of it if you are a man?

                  The men I train all want a powerful core, defined muscles and most of all to feel strong and look good, and Pilates delivers this on all counts.  One thing I should add here though is visible muscle definition does depend on weight, and the muscle to fat ratio in the body. If a man is overweight to begin with, and doesn’t adjust his eating/drinking plan along with his exercise regime, he’s never going to look as good as a man with a healthy diet, and that goes for any form of exercise. But every man who attends regular Pilates sessions will see an improvement in core strength, stamina, muscle definition, back strength and better posture- all of which makes a man look and feel better.  

                  The first thing men notice with regular Pilates sessions is a reduction in their waistline- one of my clients who trains three times a week has gone from a 36 to 34 inch waist which he is delighted about. The reason being that in Pilates we work the abdominals continually due to the breathing technique we use, and the use of both isometric and isotonic movements (so a static hold using the abdominals whilst performing a dynamic movement with the arms or legs, or both). Also, the Pilates session is always focussed primarily on correct postural alignment throughout every exercise, therefore whatever you may be doing you will be using your core to stabilise whilst you do it. Simply broken down that means you get an hour of abs every class, no matter what other exercises you are given.  So why not try it? Are you man enough?!

Written material copyright of Rachel Lawrence.

 All Rights reserved. No reproduction without permission.