Takes a Walk
Starting position: Lying on your back with your knees bent, feet
flat on the floor, feel the weight of your head, ribcage and pelvis.
Action: Wrap a band around your right foot and extend that
foot to the ceiling while holding the ends of the band with your
right hand. Do not allow any part of your torso to come off the
floor, even if the stretch is small or you have to bend your knee.
Try to feel the stretch at the top of the hamstring by the sitz
bone. The goal is to stretch the leg without moving the pelvis.
Breathe deeply. Repeat other side.
Back, Outer Hip, and Side Stretch
Starting position: Lay on your back, knees bent, feet flat on
floor hip width apart, arms out to T position. Feel your head,
ribcage and pelvis heavy on the floor.
Action: Without moving your feet together drop both knees to one side,
the pelvis and lower back will rotate. Stay here, breathe, and
relax the tension in your legs, hips, and low back allowing the
legs to release as much or as little as possible. On an exhale
use your abdominal muscles to bring your legs back to center.
Use your breath here to help you access the deepest layer off
your abdominals. Repeat other side.
Flexor and Quad Stretch
Starting position: Kneeling, with your body upright, keep one
hand on a chair for balance. Feel the abdominals working by pulling
in the spot 3 to 5 below your belly button.
Action: Place the right leg forward, almost to straight. Gently begin
to shift your weight into the extended right leg by bending the
knee (lunge forward). Do not let your back arch and tighten or
take the right knee past your right foot. Move into the stretch
breathing and trying to feel a lengthening at the front of your
left hip. Repeat other side.
Starting position: Lying on your side in the fetal position, hips
and knees bent, arms long and reaching forward, hands together.
(If your head/neck is uncomfortable place a towel or pillow under
Action: Reach top arm towards the ceiling, keeping your hips fixed in
place on the floor, allow the spine to rotate and the chest to
open and face the ceiling, while the arm continues towards the
floor. Follow your hand with your eyes. Relax the upper back and
breathe deeply. On an exhale engage from the abdominals and rotate
arm and torso back to starting position. Change to other side.
Broyles and Jerry Roylance
Pilates? It is a system of exercises designed to strengthen and stretch
the body while improving tone and posture. Through slow controlled movements
that build in complexity and difficulty, Pilates challenges strength,
coordination, flexibility, alignment, and balance. A certified studio
should be dedicated to offering a complete approach to injury prevention,
rehabilitation, and core conditioning. (The goal of core conditioning
is to effectively recruit the trunk musculature and then learn to control
the position of the lumbar spine during dynamic movements.)
million Americans are walkers, which makes walking Americas top
sport. Out of the readers of Walk About magazine about half are Pilates
enthusiasts. Why are so many walkers turning on to Pilates? Stretching,
stretching, stretching. Walking tightens the hamstrings, calves, hips,
and the lower back just to name a few areas that need stretching. When
those muscles get tight and overused they can cause imbalances in the
skeletal system creating inefficient gait and pain. Pilates aims at
releasing those areas through stretching and core education. By witnessing
our own gait we might notice imbalances in the muscular and skeletal
system, which not only affects our feet, but knees, and hips as well
as the whole body. Look at the bottom of your shoes what is the
wear pattern? Is one side more worn then the other? Is the heel the
most worn- down part? All these are indicators of foot placement while
walking. In Pilates we not only focus on stretching and core strengthening,
but also on correcting posture tendencies. It is these posture tendencies
that affect gait.
postures are Lordotic, Kyphotic, and Sway Back. The Lordotic posture
is an excessive C curve in the lower back with the butt sticking out
and usually with the stomach falling forward. This causes a tight lower
back, short hip flexors, and lack of abdominal tone. Walkers who have
this posture type need to stretch out their lower backs and hip flexors
before walking, and while walking keep their abdominals pulled in and
let their legs swing freely from their hip joints.
posture looks similar to the old man look with an excessive
curve in the upper back, shoulders rounded forward and the head either
dropped forward or turtled up. This causes the back of the neck to be
short, upper chest to be narrow and closed (which hinders correct breathing),
and spinal extensors overstretched. Walkers with this posture type should
focus on deep breathing and opening their chest before walking, and
concentrate on keeping their shoulders back and down, their breast bone
lifted and allowing their arms to swing freely while walking.
Back posture or slouch, looks like a typical model pose
with the pelvis placed forward and the chest sunk back, which causes
a compressed lumbar area, short hamstrings, and depressed ribcage. Walkers
with this posture type should stretch their hamstrings and lower back
before walking and while walking concentrate on keeping the abdominals
engaged so the ribcage aligns over the pelvis, as well as keeping their
breastbone lifted. Most people are not just one posture type but a combination
of two or more.
some stretches to complement your walking. This is just a sampling of
stretching exercises. We hope that using them will make your walking
experience pain free and enjoyable. Perhaps Pilates can provide some
new stretches for you to use but just as important it can help you,
while walking, to stay in the present, keep in alignment, and ensure
that your whole body works smoothly and efficiently.
PhysicalMind Institute Certified Pilates Instructor. A professional
who has been instructing private and group classes since 2000.
She is also an active member of the local dance community and
holds a BA in Visual and Performing Arts.
PhysicalMind Institute Certified Pilates Instructor on all apparatus.
She is also Certified in Pilates Mat Work and Fundamentals, Advanced
Mat Work as well as Standing Pilates with focus on functionality.
She has been in the fitness environment for over eight years.
Tracy and Jerry practice at Pearl Pilates Studio; 1211 NW Glisan
Suite 206; Portland, OR. You can contact them at 503-860-0250