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The Best Reformer Pilates Accessories 24 Sep

The Best Reformer Pilates Accessories

5 Props To Grow Your Pilates Practice

Bring the bespoke studio to your living room with our edit of the best tools and kit for your home. . 

Dynamic Pilates TV’s practice keeps your body and mind guessing with the innovative use of Pilates accessories. Mix up your current home practice; build a leaner and stronger body with some of these props chosen by Korin and Tiffany. 

  1. Magic Circle 

The Magic Circle is a small but effective tool, created by founder Joseph Pilates, that’s intended to help practitioners find their center. It’s also known as a fitness circle, Pilates ring, or fitness ring, but “magic circle” is the preferred name within Pilates. 

Korin says, “the Magic Circle is a great tool to challenge your regular Reformer workout, we use it in fun variations, such as the Rock n Ring class, Magic Circle Flow, Jumping Magic and Bikini Body Bliss. Old favorites feel brand new with the addition of the circle which represents your Powerhouse so that whenever you squeeze it, you feel your center.”

A magic circle provides muscular feedback and gentle to moderate resistance during a Pilates exercise. It is not intended to provide a heavy strength workout. 

Grab your magic circle and let’s create some Reformer magic. Watch all of our Magic Circle classes HERE. 

Which Magic Circle should I buy? 

DPTV’s Magic Circle of choice is the Ultra-Fit Circle. It’s specifically designed for home use and is made of flexible plastic with a soft, rubberised shell. Padded handles on both the inside and the outside of the ring offer superior comfort. Resistance is approximately equivalent to a 3-band Spring Circle. 15″ (38 cm) outside diameter.

Available in two sizes: 

Ultra-Fit Circle® Regular

  • Good for larger body types and broad shoulders.
  • More resistance provides more challenge.

Ultra-Fit Circle® Mini

  • Perfect for smaller body types and narrow shoulders.
  • Easier lower body work due to smaller size.
  • Achieve better leg alignment with feet directly under hips.
  • Light resistance is great for beginners.
  1. Small Pilates Ball/ soft ball 

“This is the number one prop I believe everyone should have.” Says Tiffany, “a small exercise ball can help you improve your abdominal, upper body, and lower back strength and flexibility.” When shopping for an exercise ball, look for ones made with strong, burst-resistant material.

Korin and Tiffany find a new way to use your small Pilates ball in their Soft Balls Hard Core, video and TIffany’s personal favourite, The Warmup!

The Togu from Balance Body is DPTV’s choice of prop, the perfect size, shape and texture for improving your Pilates technique. Soft and flexible, it conforms to the body and provides excellent feedback for core exercises including abdominals, oblique abdominals, back extension and lateral flexion. Durable and strong enough to kneel on, it can also be used as an unstable surface under the torso, foot, or knee. Quickly inflates (up to 12 inches/ 30cm) and handily deflates, to desired level of inflation.

View all of our classes where a soft pilates ball is used HERE.

  1. Resistance bands 

Resistance bands are a simple and versatile tool, since they use constant tension to stimulate muscle growth – without putting strain on your joints. They can improve mobility, flexibility, and strength, and have been proven to be a “feasible alternative” to lifting weights when it comes to activating your muscles, according to research published in the Journal of Human Kinetics. The study compared muscle activation during upper-body strength exercises with resistance bands vs. weights, and found the results to be very similar. They believe that the instability created by the bands is what causes muscle fibers to work harder, in some cases, than with free weights.

What resistance band should I buy? 

We recommend the Hip & Booty Resistance bands available on DPTV’s website. We regularly use resistance bands within our Reformer classes, find great examples of them being used in the Loopy Legs, Booty Band Delight and Barre Sculpt Two videos. 

View all of our classes where resistance bands are used HERE. 

  1. Dumbbells

Lightweight dumbbells will add some extra muscle toning potential to your practice. Depending on the exercise, we use dumbbells to target muscles in your arms, back, shoulders, chest and down into your core. Tiffany adds, “in true Pilates style, we practice resistance on both the exertion and release. That way we use eccentric contractions that build long, strong muscles.” One of the reasons DPTV uses lighter weights is to control the challenge level and not invite muscle use that is out of balance with the exercise. Also, even if the weight is light, hand weights will create extra stability work for your shoulders, core, and pelvis. Watch Korin and Tiffany demonstrate this in the DPTV Bring the Bounce, HIIT HOP and No Springs No Problem Flow. 

These Reebok soft grip dumbbells are ideal for Pilates, as they are covered in a comfortable EVA foam and have an adjustable hand strap to personalise them to the correct fit. Available in three light weights, 0.5 kg, 1 kg and 2 kg.

Watch all of our workouts with dumbbells HERE. 

  1. Swiss Ball  

Also known as a pilates ball, a Swiss ball can be made part of your Reformer Pilates routine, in fact, many Pilates routines will already advise the use of a swiss ball. Check out Korin using her Swiss ball to build core strength in the Double Ball Whammy Workout video. 

What is the best Swiss Ball to buy?

We recommend the eco-friendly Trideer Exercise Ball which is made from extra thick, hypo-allergenic material.

There’s no better workout method than Reformer Pilates, together with these props, Dynamic Pilates TV will provide you with a killer mix of strength, mobility, balance, coordination, flexibility and breathwork. 

Sources:

J Hum Kinet, 23 March 2018 NCBI, Muscle Activity in Upper-Body Single-Joint Resistance Exercises with Elastic Resistance Bands vs. Free Weights <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5873332/> 

Dynamic PilatesTV 17 Sep

The Dynamic Pilates TV Guide To Buying a Reformer

There has never been a better time to invest in a Reformer. With people missing group classes and the feel of pushing off the footbar of an actual Pilates machine (a.k.a. a Reformer) – it’s worth considering investing in one the same way you would a treadmill or an exercise bike, to keep up your studio practice at home. A Reformer at home will help you stay consistent with your workouts, continue your strength building, tone your body, improve your mental clarity and teach you how to use your breath – even during a lockdown! You will be able to enjoy the freedom to do Pilates day or night in the luxury of your own home. Dynamic Pilates TV looks into the best Reformer’s currently available and provides pointers on what to look for.  

 5 things to look for when buying a Pilates Reformer:

  1. Your body size – Ensure the size of the frame fits your body. Does the spring bar have multiple gear settings so it can be adjusted to accommodate? 
  2. Space – Find the best Pilates equipment for the space available. It’s good to have a couple of feet of extra space along the sides and the end of the reformer, less extra space is needed at the top of the reformer. If you need to pack it away does it have wheels and how compact is it once folded? 
  3. Quality – Minimal maintenance is key, for example some Reformer machines use rubber cords instead of springs which may be ok in the beginning for basic, light exercises, but once you progress, you’re going to need a more sturdy, hardworking Reformer. 
  4. Accessories – What does it come with? What accessories do you usually use? Are the accessories easily replaced?
  5. Price You get what you pay for. After working out on professional grade, high quality Pilates equipment in a studio, you may be disappointed with a cheap home model. You really will be better served to invest in something that will last you a lifetime at home with little or no maintenance.  

What’s the average price of a home reformer?

Home Reformer can average $1,000/ £775 – $6,000/ £4,621

What are the 3 best Reformers for home use? 

Balanced Body - Body Rialto™

  1. Balanced Body – Body Rialto™ 

For DPTV owner Tiffany who is 5 ft 10 inches, this is “hands down the best home Reformer for your money, as it was made for home use. I fit best on the Studio Reformer, the carriage and frame size is a bit bigger than most. The Balanced Body Studio Reformer also comes in a “stretch” length with 6 extra inches on the frame. The spring bar on all Balanced Body Reformers have multiple gear settings, meaning it can adjust to accommodate the smallest of bodies to the tallest. Which is hard to find with most Reformers! I’ve had my Reformers for 10 years and they have needed minimal maintenance.” 

A brand known for its innovative design, Balanced Body designs it’s Reformers with today’s group reformer classes in mind, the Rialto packs all the necessary professional-grade features. Tiffany especially likes it’s a quiet carriage ride, quick-adjustment ropes and cleats, and 3 position shoulder rests. The Rialto Reformer also comes with an added accessory, the Sitting Box Lite, for prone exercises, new abdominal exercises, side stretching and seated exercise, and a foot strap to secure feet while exercising.

Price: $2,795.00

  1.  Merrithew - The Elevated at home SPX® Pilates ReformerMerrithew – The Elevated at home SPX® Pilates Reformer

The Merrithew Reformer is DPTV owner, Korin’s Reformer brand of choice – “I particularly love the platform extenders, which allow for added stability in standing work and greater range of exercises, especially when adding the jumpboard for example. These machines are also super slim, making them ideal for home use.”

The Elevated At Home SPX® Pilates Reformer is 16.25 inches (41.3 cm) high from the floor, increasing accessibility and comfort, and making it ideal for people with injuries or mobility issues.  Merrithew provides packages with all of the accessories you need for the maximum performance and versatility. The Elevated At Home SPX Pilates Reformer includes: 

  • Reformer Box with Footstrap
  • Padded Platform Extender
  • Metal Roll-up Pole
  • instructional DVDs featuring over 250 exercises

And delivered 90% assembled, it’s less daunting to put together and get started.

Price: $3,999.00 

Align Pilates - F2 Folding Pilates Reformer

  1. Align Pilates – F2 Folding Pilates Reformer

If space is an issue, the Pilates F2 Folding Pilates Reformer is for you. The Align-Pilates F2 Folding Pilates Reformer was developed to allow you to exercise at home without requiring a large dedicated space, you can simply unfold, get your workout done and then fold, wheel away and compactly store your Reformer. The F2 features the same springs as the professional Align Pilates Reformers. These springs offer smooth and progressive resistance with a range of adjustments to fine tune the Reformer for your workout.

Price: £1,199.99 

 

We would love to see your home Reformers, be sure to tag us on Instagram or Facebook. If you have any further questions on buying a Reformer, feel free to get in contact, we would love to help! 

 

If you liked this blog post you may also be interested in reading the following: 

What are the best Reformer exercises for a strong core

How hard do I have to work to get results from Pilates? 

Can I do Dynamic Pilates before and after pregnancy? 

What_to_expect_at_your_first_reformer_Pilates_class 10 Sep

What to expect at your first reformer Pilates class

If you’re thinking about taking a reformer Pilates class, but you’re not sure what to expect – you’ve come to the right place. The first time you take any new fitness class it can be slightly intimidating, but the good news is Dynamic Pilates TV classes are for everyone!

There are some misconceptions surrounding reformer Pilates, like needing to be ‘in shape’ and at a high fitness level, but this is not true. The Pilates philosophy is to build a strong core and then progress outwards.

What is reformer Pilates? 

To put it simply, reformer Pilates is Pilates performed on specialist equipment (the reformer), which allows for a more targeted and dynamic workout. Incredibly effective, Dynamic Pilates TV (DPTV) classes are a time-efficient full body workout, improving your strength, flexibility, posture and of course your mental health! 

It may help to know a few things before your first Pilates reformer class. We spoke with Pilates experts and Dynamic Pilates TV founders, Korin and Tiffany to get the rundown on what to expect at your first class. 

Five things you need to know before your first Pilates reformer class:

  1. Wear fitted clothing. 

Korin believes this is an important factor, she advises you wear tight fitted, comfortable clothing – such as lycra leggings and a fitted top. Korin explains, “this is not only for comfort and ease of movement, but to allow the instructor to see the shape and alignment of your body – in Pilates we focus on alignment, technique and posture – and all of these details need to be seen.” If you have a good instructor, you can expect the trainer to be correcting you, helping you stay aligned. 

For a better performance we recommend you invest in some anti-slip, gripped socks, such as Toe sox, for stability and for hygiene too. 

The editorial team at Stylist magazine have put together a roundup of the best sustainable and ethical brands to wear during your workout, and we quite like them too:  

  • Girlfriend Collective turn old plastic bottles and fishing nets into bras, leggings and shorts you’ll never want to throw away.
  • Manduka’s leggings are sourced from environmentally responsible materials.
  • Tala is an affordable, new brand made from plastic bottles.  
  • Silou is produced with dedication and care in sweatshop free production houses. 
  1. You will sweat! 

A lot! Especially if you’re taking a DPTV class. Tiffany explains, “as an intelligent workout, DPTV is choreographed to eliminate the start and stops you usually find in a fitness class, so your body is working longer – for a better overall workout.” 

Korin adds, “we like to think outside the Pilates box, DPTV has a contemporary feel as we blend exercises together; adding bosu balls, jumpboards, hand weights and resistance bands – making our classes a little bit different, keeping it fresh and fun!” 

Be sure to stay hydrated and have a towel handy.  

  1. This isn’t a mat class. 

The exercises that are taken from the mat to the reformer machine will seem more challenging. While the movements may be small and performed slowly – they’re controlled, to target specific muscle groups, many of which you may never work in your usual fitness routine. Reformer classes introduce a whole other element too, utilising the machine to add resistance and leverage to certain exercises. 

If you have a good instructor, they should be correcting you to improve your alignment technique – something to be aware of as this will probably differ from your usual mat classes. 

  1. When in doubt, slow down. 

Slow and steady wins the race. Tiffany recommends that “for the best results, concentrate on your form, not your speed. Considered, controlled movements target your muscles and provide the most gains for your efforts.” 

  1. You’ll be working your pelvic floor muscles. 

In Pilates we talk a lot about the pelvic floor and the importance of using these muscles. At DPTV we focus on supporting these deep abdominal muscles in every class. Korin explains that, “many people do not realise the importance of the pelvic muscle – these exercises are essential to maintain good posture and support the internal organs such as the bladder and uterus.” 

With a busy lifestyle, keeping your pelvic floor in tip-top shape doesn’t always come easy. In fact, according to the The Telegraph: “an estimated one in three women and one in 10 men have some sort of pelvic floor dysfunction.” 

The good news is that in many cases, this condition is treatable through exercise. Like any other muscle, your pelvic floor can be strengthened, but you need to be taught properly how to perform these exercises and engage your pelvic floor correctly – That’s where Dynamic Pilates TV comes in! This will benefit your workout and overall core strength considerably. 

 

Why DPTV is great for beginners 

As a DPTV member you will have access to weekly updated classes, ranging from 30 mins to one hour, as well as shorter ‘flows’ and fantastic beginner classes – providing you with plenty of options to make your first few classes a lot less daunting. 

If you’re a beginner to reformer Pilates and are thinking of joining DPTV but have some questions, feel free to contact Korin and Tiffany through our support page here or direct message our Instagram page here. 

Take advantage of the FREE 14 Day FREE Trial and explore our videos library & we look forward to welcoming you to your first DPTV class! 

If you liked this blog post you may be interested in reading more on the difference between classical and contemporary pilates here. 

 

Sources

L.Faye, Stylist Magazine, Sustainable and ethical activewear for your next workout

<https://www.stylist.co.uk/fashion/ethical-activewear-uk-women-swimwear-gym-clothes-yoga-eco-environmentally-friendly-sustainable-green/226744> 

September 2016, The Telegraph, Why looking after your pelvic muscles is just as important as a gym workout <https://www.telegraph.co.uk/wellbeing/pelvic-floor-dysfunction/importance-of-pelvic-floor-muscles/> 

28 Jul

A new perspective

As a physical therapist and pilates instructor who works with women during and after their pregnancy I had created my own idea of what I thought my journey would look like. Well… I learned quickly that things change and patience is the best thing we can give our bodies, babies, and overall well being. 

My pregnancy was for the most part very easy from the beginning. I did not have morning sickness or many abnormal aches and pains. My goal was to remain active, but be attentive to my body and do what felt best. I ran until 20 weeks pregnant, skied a few times (gently and only sunny days), and continued strength training, pilates, and yoga throughout the entire pregnancy. 

My labor and delivery was more than a little different than I thought it would be, not to mention giving birth during the COVID pandemic. I had a plan that was flexible and my health and the baby’s health were the most important. In the end, I ended up with an induction, 30 hours of labor, and a C-section. As a result of the epidural my first 3 weeks I struggled with leg swelling and foot drop on one side (I could not lift up my ankle and toes), which steadily got better with time. 

Navigating life with a newborn baby as a first time mom, with constantly changing schedules, feeding, sleeping, and prioritizing basic day to day tasks was a learning process. Not knowing what to expect, I envisioned easy workouts at baby nap time, and waking up earlier than they did. Again… I was wrong. 

I recall talking to patients and clients after they had babies, and when they would tell me that it was hard to find time, I would think to myself and ask them, “can you find even 5-10 minutes?”. I now have a whole new appreciation and understanding. I also want to soak up each moment with my baby as she grows and learns, that my priorities have shifted. 

As I write this blog I am 15 weeks post partum and steadily feeling more comfortable with my new life. My baby is thriving, although not the best day time napper, but she is full of smiles and energy. When putting together my initial post natal classes for Dynamic Pilates TV, I structured them in ways that you can pick and choose what you want to do and have time for. Focusing this first class on foundational movements and things that you can incorporate into your day to day movements with baby. Maybe you even do some of the exercises as you play with your new bundle of joy. 

I have created these classes based upon what I have done and what I would teach patients and clients. You may be able to progress faster or slower based upon your own personal journey. My overall message always is that our bodies were in constant change for 9 months, we cannot and should not expect them to be back to where they were in 8 weeks. I know I will and you will too, get back to the activities that we love, but day to day time with our growing babies goes by really fast. I have chosen to take my time, knowing that soon, I will have a running partner in the stroller and built in resistance to add to my squats and bicep curls. 

Be kind to yourself! 

Pilates Studio After Covid Lockdown 15 Jun

Silver Linings

I know we are all more then ready to get back to life as we once knew it. COVID’s restrictions have hit us all pretty hard.  Many of us suffered financially and or emotionally. As a business owner I not only worried for myself and my family but also for the teachers in my studio. We were all in the same boat. The unknown had to be the scariest part of COVID. How long would we be closed and what would the world look like when we re opened. 

I was one of the lucky ones, as my studio was only shut down for 45 days. Those first few days were filled with fear and anxiety until I came to the realization COVID was beyond my control. I could either spend my lock down looking for fear or perhaps find a few silver linings. 

I used the mandated down time as a opportunity to reset or reboot my business and teachings in a few ways. I sorted through many of my old class content and found new life in many forgotten flows. Took the opportunity to take zoom classes from teachers all over the world and began teaching zoom classes myself connecting me with teachers from all over the world. Zoom was definitely my one of the brightest silver linings for me. Not only did it provide income to help pay the bills (COVID did not lock down my financial responsibilities) but more importantly it connected me with teachers like myself going through the same issues. I loved our chats before and after class. Connecting with people who were in the same boat and facing the same fears and unknown as me really helped me through. Those little chats that grew into friendships made such a difference for me.

The second biggest silver lining was cleaning out my studio!  Before COVID I typically had the studio deep cleaned 1 time per month along with light weekly cleanings. My studio was clean, always dusted and nice looking. However 2 weeks before we were set to reopen I did a massive deep clean. We scrubbed the floors, walls and every hard surface with Clorox. I reorganized every last nook and cranny until the entire studio looked absolutely perfect. Spring cleaning never felt so good and helped me feel as if we would re open and we would be fine. I went about my reopening as if I was opening the studio for the first time. I wanted my clients to feel the enthusiasm and see the studio as refreshed and CLEAN. Since reopening we are maintaining the higher standard of cleaning. I feel like there is definitely a new standard in what a clean studio should be. It’s important your clients feel safe and you are doing everything you can to so. There is a new normal and those who adjust and accept it will go about reopening much easier.  

drinking wine in covid 19 6 Apr

Quarantini anyone?

As well as loo rolls disappearing of the shelves, there’s been another empty isle in the supermarkets too….booze! Hardly surprising really, I mean we all need some joy out of life over the next few months, don’t we? And a little tipple is bound to take the edge off a long day of attempting to work from home whilst having a shot at home schooling!
But the question is, how long can we afford to bury our boredom in a bottle of vino? Now, don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you that you should avoid alcohol completely – I’m no hypocrite! What we’re going through right now is so far from the norm its overwhelming and our lives have all drastically changed overnight. So, to try and cling on to some kind of normality; ie a social life aka ‘House Party app’ and a couple of drinks at the end of a long hard week, in my opinion is absolutely healthy and what we should be doing.
But, if you’re drinking way more than you would normally on a regular basis, (and feeling worse for it the next day) then perhaps it’s time to rethink things, so that we don’t end up creating new unhealthy habits during lock our down period. Let’s not forget that alcohol is in fact a depressant, and that’s the last thing anyone needs right now. Staying positive and upbeat and doing things that make us feel naturally good and healthy is by far the better habit to adopt if we can!
So, how can we ensure we keep our ‘treats’ to ‘treat nights’ and keep our ‘quarantinis’ to a healthy amount?
  • Try to avoid boredom (which is most probably a key factor as to why we may be drinking more!) Easier said than done right in these current times, BUT not impossible. Fill your days with a schedule. Start with an online workout to set your good intentions for the day ahead, eat well, catch up with friends on the phone, use this time to learn something new, perhaps an online course or something you’ve always wanted to learn, but never before hand the time. You’ll not get a time like this again, so make the most of it!
  • Save ‘having a few drinks’ for the weekend, like you may well have done before in more ‘normal’ times!
  • Ask yourself, ‘would I be having a drink now if I wasn’t in quarantine’? If the answer is no, then you know what not to do.
how I am dealing with the stress - Tiffany Burke 30 Mar

How I Am Dealing With The Stress Of Covid-19

How’s your anxiety level right about now?

On the surface and on social media I may look calm but I am not. Today I lost it at the breakfast table and began to cry. Our dog was barking, 1 kid was crying while the other one spilled a full glass of orange juice. All this while in the back of my mind was a list of all the classes I needed to film / edit for DPTV and, memberships I needed to place on hold or cancel for my studio because we are closing the studio do to COVID 19. Oh and do not forget about the dreaded “home schooling”. Thank god my kids are 3 and 5 years old because I am really half assing this parental duty. Just writing this has me taking deep breaths which is why I am writing this. Not only do I need a find a way to cope during this crazy quarantine life I need to find a way to thrive. My kids do not understand stress yet. To them this quarantine is life is just a really long weekend so they do not understand why mommy was crying at breakfast. The look on their faces when I began to cry was a bit of a wake up call. I need to do better then survive I need to find a authentic way of thriving for my sake and theirs. I say”authentic” because faking it will only cause me more stress. So after breakfast and another good cry I locked myself in my bedroom to breathe and press my reset button so to speak. 

Here are my top 4 steps to “reset” when dealing with stressful situations like COVID 19:

  1. BREATHE. First and foremost I BREATE. Breath is SO important when dealing with nerves and anxiety. Ever notice Olympic athletes such as figure skaters or down hill skiers take a deep breath just before their performance or race? I learned this technique as a competitive figure skater and still practice it to this day. Deep breathing comes from your diaphragm which causes your body to relax and can reduce anxiety. Taking long breaths from your diaphragm will also help:
    • Increase the amount of oxygen and release a sense of calm throughout your brain and body.
    • Lower your heart rate 
    • Relax your muscles
    • Focus your mind on your body and away from what is making you anxious. 
  1. GRATITUDE. Next, to put things into perspective I make a list of everything I was grateful for.  Finding gratitude helps my mindset big time. It also prevents me from feeling sorry for myself. 
  2. PRIORITIZE. With the stress loading building I find it helpful to make a lists. For me I make 3 lists. List 1: family, List 2: Studio and List 3: DPTV. Within those lists I prioritize which tasks are most important or time sensitive. 
  3. SAY NO TO NEGATIVITY I try my best to distance myself from negative outlets such as the media and negative friends. Negative energy can be contagious and damaging. I am not saying to bury your head in the sand but limit your exposure to the negativity. Setting some boundaries is very helpful fo me. 

I remind myself of a daily basis that worrying about things I cannot change or control  is counter productive and damaging to my mindset. Right now my focus is on the things I can control. COVID 19 will pass and my family and business will survive. I cannot let fear control me right now. I hope this helps someone. I am not perfect, I have spent a lifetime dealing with anxiety and this along with CBD (which is a post topic for another time) is what gets me through the tough times.

DPTV-Dumbells-and-Yoga-Mat 23 Mar

Your Home Workout Equipment Guide

It’s a funny old world we are living in at the moment, and without wanting to delve into our global pandemic on this platform (let’s face it we hear enough about it on a daily basis as it is!) Let’s try and focus on the positives and our physical and mental wellbeing.

Even more so than the physical effect of being cooped up all day, is how this is all effecting our mental health. Ironically, mental health has never been such a widely discussed topic and here we are today, putting each and every one of ours to the most extreme test it has probably ever faced. Now is the time more than ever we need a physical output, in order to keep ourselves marginally sane through all of this. The top and bottom of it is, we need exercise NOW more than ever before.

So, we realise that not everyone has fancy Pilates equipment in their own homes (we certainly don’t) so, with this in mind we are now releasing Dynamic Mat/floor work content and encouraging you all to move with us daily!

For many of our matwork classes you won’t need any props. However, props do make things more fun plus they can help challenge your abilities further.

So, what props do you need?
If I had to pick the basics that will see you through this spell, without having to invest too much or take up too much space in your home, I would say first of all a Mat, a Soft Pilates Ball, some Dumbells and some Loop Resistance bands.

Here’s my pick of the best:
Mat
If you don’t already have a mat, then go pretty! My Sugar Mat has the most gorgeous designs, they are super soft, plus they do these cute and convenient travel mats that fold up into a compact square.
Click Here To Discover The Sugar Mat Range

Soft Pilates Ball
These are so versatile and we use them a lot on the reformer as well as on the mat. They can really help assist and at variation to so many exercises, especially core work. You will need a 26cm ball (you could go slightly bigger).
Click Here To Check Out Sissle Pilates Ball. 

Dumbells 
Most people already have a pair of dumbells hanging around the house, and if you don’t then yes, you could use tins of beans etc, but in all honesty, they aren’t really heavy enough. I would go for a pair between 2- 5kg/5-11lbs for our workouts.

Loop Resistance Bands/Booty Bands 
These little bad boys are soooo good! They usually come in a pack with 5 different strengths and can be used for lower and upper body moves and adding that all essential burn factor! Plus, they are perfect for taking away on holidays for when all this is over!
VICTORIA HOOPER 16 Mar

What type of exercise can help boost our immune system?

Victoria Roper is a Stott Pilates Instructor Trainer and is passionate about anatomy and optimal movement. Check out her website for her up and coming workshops we have included a link at the footer of this article for you..
What type of exercise can help boost our immune system? 
It’s time to focus.
To focus on what we can do and not on what we can’t do
What we can do is look after ourselves (and loved ones) and most of all look after our bodies.
Before we start delving into what the science says about exercise and the immunity, I feel it’s important to mention that the clue is very much in the title…….immune SYSTEM.

This system does not work alone and therefore we must take into consideration what is already going on in the body. For example nutrition, daily habits, the gut brain axis, stress and psychological well being all play an important role in building a resilient immune system. There are still many fascinating studies ongoing that explore the role immunity plays within the body. The message, common within the conclusions of most research,  is that a balance of all the system within the body needs to be considered.

For example a poor diet, cannot be made up for by a multi vitamin supplement!
What we know for sure!
The benefits of exercise on heart health and maintaining optimum bone strength are all well documented and supported but what about training in such uncertain times. Can staying fit, keep us healthy? And if so what does the ideal fitness regime or workout look like?
Moderate intensity exercise over a long period has been shown to contribute to good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Macrophages, the cells which attack bacteria, see a temporary boost in production and continue to flow through the body at an increased rate for a few hours, following moderate intensity exercise. The more seasoned an exerciser, the greater this benefit is thought to be. The rhythmic action of most moderate intensity exercise methods such as brisk walking, swimming, Pilates and gymnastics, moves the joints, ensuring the lymphatic system pumps fluid around the body to remove debris effectively.

Dr. David Nieman found that 40 minutes of moderate exercise on most days was most beneficial and decreased the number of sick days due to cold and flu symptoms by half.

In fact patients with mild cold symptoms and no fever, partaking in light or moderate exercise may feel better and actually boost their immune system.
So why not try a brisk walk in the park or a Pilates class? Neither of these need to last more than an hour and science aside, I for one have never felt worse for going for a walk or taking a Pilates class!
So what about high intensity exercise? The kind of exercise that takes 100%of our effort and energy and at times can leave us feeling drained.Although there is a time and a place for this kind of exercise, does it play a role in our immunity?
The risk of illness was actually found to be increased as the intensity of training increased in a study conducted by Nieman and Wentz
This was generally supported in the research papers I went on to look at. Heavy/endurance style training, (longer than 90 minutes) was seen to have a negative impact on the immune system. This was due to a surge in the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which remained elevated in subjects for up to 72 hours post workout. These stress hormones suppress the immune system, leaving exercisers more susceptible to illness.
So we can see that too much of a good thing is not great for the immune system and that we need to be aiming for 40 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, on most days. For women especially weight bearing exercise or resistance training is a hot topic right now for the prevention of osteoporosis and osteopenia.
One area that is being looked at in particular is the reduction of bone marrow and therefore stem cells as we age. The stem cells are responsible for fighting off infection and are produced by bone marrow. Therefore if we can find out workout of moderate intensity that includes resistance training we could be on to a real winner in terms of immunity and long term health.
Reformer Pilates anyone?
Those of you that have ever taken part in Pilates will know that it is very hard to think about anything else. There is a strong mind muscle connection during the session, that, in a nut shell teaches us how to use the right muscle, at the right time and for the right purpose. The breathing pattern promoted in Pilates helps stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and relax our body. Via the release of hormones this can have a calming effect on the mind and body. Psychological stress, when too high has been shown to impair immunity and lead to an increase in cold and flu infections. Therefore by calming both the mind and body and linking the two together through mindful movement, we can can have a strong and positive outcome in the control of our stress hormones.
So I hope this round up helps you to choose your exercise wisely in the coming months. There is clearly no need to stop doing anything, but we also don’t want to be working out so intensely that we put ourselves on the back foot in terms of staying healthy.
PREGNANCY-PILATES-AND-THE-PELVIC-FLOOR 15 Jan

Pregnancy, The Pelvic Floor & Pilates

Pregnancy is an exciting, beautiful, but sometimes overwhelming and challenging time, especially physically. It can be a time when we don’t know what is safe to do, we have minimal energy and don’t know where to focus it and we can read very contradictory advice. Pelvic floor and Pilates seem to come to the forefront and are often widely recommended, but often women think ‘well I don’t know where my pelvic floor is or how to contract it’ and ‘I’ve tried Pilates before and well….its boring!’

I’m hoping to try and help with these two common thoughts and show why Pilates is so beneficial to a pregnant woman, and as the wonderful ladies at Dynamic Pilates show Pilates is much more than lying on a mat, which is often the misconception.

The Pelvic Floor
So let’s start with the pelvic floor…and a bit of anatomy. This image is an aerial view looking down into the pelvis showing the pelvic floor in light pink extending from the pubic bone, at the front of the pelvis, to the coccyx at the base of the spine. It wraps around the urethra, vagina and bowel keeping us continent and contributing to sexual pleasure, and also relaxes to allow us to open our bladder and bowels – so pretty important!

 

PREGNANCY-PILATES-AND-THE-PELVIC-FLOOR 15 Jan

Pregnancy, The Pelvic Floor & Pilates

Pregnancy is an exciting, beautiful, but sometimes overwhelming and challenging time, especially physically. It can be a time when we don’t know what is safe to do, we have minimal energy and don’t know where to focus it and we can read very contradictory advice. Pelvic floor and Pilates seem to come to the forefront and are often widely recommended, but often women think ‘well I don’t know where my pelvic floor is or how to contract it’ and ‘I’ve tried Pilates before and well….its boring!’

I’m hoping to try and help with these two common thoughts and show why Pilates is so beneficial to a pregnant woman, and as the wonderful ladies at Dynamic Pilates show Pilates is much more than lying on a mat, which is often the misconception.

The Pelvic Floor
So let’s start with the pelvic floor…and a bit of anatomy. This image is an aerial view looking down into the pelvis showing the pelvic floor in light pink extending from the pubic bone, at the front of the pelvis, to the coccyx at the base of the spine. It wraps around the urethra, vagina and bowel keeping us continent and contributing to sexual pleasure, and also relaxes to allow us to open our bladder and bowels – so pretty important!