fitness

Our Top 4 Tips for Getting Back into Exercise After a Long Break

“I am so unfit.”
“I’m so inflexible”
“I am going to be so uncoordinated”

Do you ever tell yourself these things?
Well, you are not alone!, It’s what almost every new client of ours says. But, once they start they are always surprised By how much they CAN do and how coordinated they actually are!

Getting back into exercising after a big siesta can be scary, it can also be hard to know what sort of exercise is the best to do.
So, here are our top 4 tips on getting back to exercise after a bit of an exercise siesta.

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1.Start gently

One of the most common things I notice as a physio are people who go GUNG HO!
They want to get fit and so they throw themselves into exercise, join a gym or boot camp or start running and they go from zero to 100 straight away. Then they end up injured and sore.

The best and safest way to get back into an exercise routine is to start out slowly.
- Start walking a small distance a couple of times a week.
- Join a fitness class once or twice a week and then rest on your other days

Whatever you choose remember to start slowly and then gradually increase your exercise from there.

2.Build Up You Strength

If you decide your goal is to get back into running, that is great! But it’s also a great idea to add in some strengthening exercises as well.

If you haven’t exercised for a while you most likely will have lost some muscle strength, tone and endurance, and whilst running alone is great, you will also need the strength in your muscles to help you go further and faster, and to help minimise the chance of injury.

HOT TIP

Start with Strength Exercises once per week and then try to build up to the recommended guidelines of 2-3 times each week.

3.Pick Exercise You Enjoy

Exercise is an important inclusion into everyone’s life, as it helps to combat chronic disease, as well as improves mental health.
For Exercise to be beneficial we need to be doing it most days (5-6 times a week), and to be able to maintain an exercise routine you not only need to create great habits, but you also need to find a form of exercise that you enjoy!

HOT TIP
If you aren’t sure what it is you enjoy, maybe try a few different things.
- Go for a ride with your family
- try a new class at the gym,
- try Pilates or yoga.

Whatever you do, find something you love, something you look forward to doing (most of the time) and you will be so much more likely to create a lasting healthy relationship with exercise.

4. Find the right people to guide you

Starting from scratch can be scary and you can often feel overwhelmed with information and questions like; What exercises should I do? How much should I do? How often should I do them?

HOT TIP
Rather than scour the internet for information (which can sometimes be misleading) find someone that knows all of this information and more, someone who can guide you safely on your exercise journey towards your goals.

Our team of instructors at Pilates HQ would love to help you to get back into the exercise game!
We love helping people find their feet again after a big break, and we pride ourselves on providing clients with a safe and welcoming environment.

We have lots of different class times as well as varying class levels and we would love to give you advice on where and how to get started.

Have a Read of Our Where to Start Page Here, and if you are still wanting to know more then Send us an email here OR give us a call on 0429578987 to find out more.


Steph & The Pilates HQ Team
Xx

HQer of the Month - Jo O'Kelly

This month we are shinning the light on the wonderful Jo O’Kelly! Jo is a busy working mum of three gorgeous Children, as well as an incredible Photographer (She actually did all of our staff photos!).

Jo started at HQ just over 1 year ago hitting the ground running with our January Deal and doing 2 Classes a Week. Since this time, Jo has been so incredibly consistent with her Pilates and as a result has showed great improvements in all aspects of her practice.
Read on to find out all the things that Jo loves about Pilates at Pilates HQ, her advice for fitting in exercise to a busy schedule and her tips on where to go in Buninyong.

I don’t ever remember feeling as strong or as flexible as I do at this point in my life.
Reformer Pilates, Long Spine, Pilates Buninyong

Reformer Pilates, Long Spine, Pilates Buninyong

Tell us a little bit about you. (You are a teacher, photographer, mum) what else makes you you! and what do you get up to when you are not doing all of the mum, teacher & Pilates things?

So, where do I begin and what do I choose to share with you all about ME??
I am who I am because of the strong foundation of my extended family. I learnt from a young age that what is most important in life is people and the relationships in which we hold, develop and treasure. So I invest much of my time and effort into the relationships that I am most fortunate exist around me. I have a gorgeous husband and three children whom I adore beyond words could ever adequately express. My children are aged ten, eight and four.

I work as a primary school teacher. I adore supporting children on their journey as learners.

I also work in the professional photography industry and continue with determination to develop my craft, always exploring new avenues to learn and to extend my own knowledge and skill set.

Why did you decide to try Pilates and what made you choose Pilates HQ?

I first became aware of Reformer Pilates when gorgeous Steph made contact with me for my photography service. This was in 2016. I admired from a far for almost 12 months as at the time I had allowed myself to live at the 'bottom rung of the ladder' and I guess in retrospect had chosen to place the needs and desires of others consistently before my own. Prior to having children I was heavily involved as a netballer at my home club in Birregurra.

I continued to admire Pilate's HQ via instagram and often sat on my couch in awe watching Steph do the most incredible things with her body in the video footage that she posted. In January 2018 I made the decision to improve my self care choices and to value what was important for me to be successful in all facets of life. I had really enjoyed the time I had spent with Steph whilst photographing her. I truly believed in her story and knew that I would feel most welcome and safe at her headquarters.

You started out doing beginner classes and you are now stepping up the challenge to advanced classes? (AHHMAZING BY THE WAY)

What have you liked about the intermediate & advanced classes?

I truly still spin out and some times laugh out loud during classes at what my body has become and is able to do. I love everything there is to a Reformer Pilates class. I love the challenge of moving my body with an instructors direction. I love most the strength and flexibility elements. I don't ever remember feeling as strong or as flexible as I do at this point in my life. Both the intermediate and advanced classes challenge my mind and body in the most positive of ways. I also love watching Steph and her team model an advanced movement. I smile at how incredible their own bodies are able to move and feel excitement at what my body might be able to achieve once I make my own attempt.

Were you nervous about jumping into the next level of class (eg. beginner to intermediate?) and if so how did you feel after a few classes at that level?

I don't remember feeling nervous as such. I did however question in my mind whether my body would be able to do what was expected in the advanced class. Mindset is crucial and it was necessary for me to spend time with my own mind preparing myself. I chose to attend the advanced class with a mindset of growth believing that I could be successful, perhaps not immediately, but that with continued effort I would achieve success. I choose to believe that I can master new poses, stretches and skills with grit, tenacity and determination and genuinely believe in my mind and my body.

Do you have any advice for anyone out there who might be considering jumping up to the next level of Reformer Class but is hesitant or nervous about it?

My advice would be to listen to the suggestions of our gorgeous Pilates HQ instructors. They are all skilled and so aware of our bodies. I encourage you to trust in their knowledge. I also encourage you to trust that if they suggest trying an intermediate or an advanced class that they will guide you every step of the way. I believe this to be part of the genuine beauty of Pilates HQ. The way our instructors monitor our movements and use of the machines, is testament to their skill level and commitment in supporting our bodies to be the strongest they can be.

Have you noticed any benefits or improvements since starting Pilates at Pilates HQ?

Goodness YES! Without word of a lie I have never felt as strong, flexible and toned as I do at this point. My balance has improved and I have even noticed an improvement with my posture. The strength I feel isn't exclusive to one area of my body either. My legs, arms, abdominal area, back and even my neck all feel stronger.

There is an additional benefit. This is one I hadn't considered. I can arrive at Pilates a little like a duck. When I refer to a duck I consider the analogy that 'on top of the surface of the water' I am mostly calm and poised, but 'under the surface of the water' my legs are paddling for dear life. My mind is often so full that I feel it could explode within seconds and I can feel all sorts of mixed emotions. The truth is that once class formally begins and I focus on the instructors voice, her guidance and then allow my body to move; my mind calms, my body calms and when I leave I feel much more in control. I feel much more in control of everything. It is the most wonderful feeling having Pilates HQ allow me to reset and resume a state of calmness, in addition to the physical benefits.

People often say that it is hard to fit exercise in and to make time for themselves, what are you secrets to fitting in your classes?
You are a working mum so we would love to know if you have any tips for other mums out there, when it comes to exercising with a busy life/kids?

This is a really important question. I could give multiple reasons why I could choose not to fit my two classes per week into my schedule. I don't believe I have any secrets. I have simply made a commitment. And when I make a commitment I keep it. Rarely do I make commitments for myself at a personal level, however, when I took some time to reflect I realised that I deserve this commitment. I deserve to feel strong. I deserve to feel balanced and I deserve to practise mindfulness. I deserve time.

We love supporting our little Buninyong Community & We know you do too Jo, so we would love it if you could give us a few Hot Tips

1. Where is Your Favourite Place for coffee in town?

I am not a coffee lover and so couldn't make comment about where you'll find amazing coffee in Buninyong. Jimmy (my 4 year old) and I have lunch on Fridays during the school term at Katrine's, Maggie and Kate. I adore her smashed avocado dish with pomegranates. Jimmy loves her chicken wrap.

2. What is Your favourite place to hang out with the kids?

There are so many places that my family and I enjoy in Buninyong. We love bike riding as a family in and around town, in particular the track around Desoza Park. It is tranquil and full of the most beautiful shades of green. We also love riding to and around The Gong.

If the kids could choose where our bikes would take us, they would choose Chocalatto every time. They adore Zach's spiders.

3. What is Your favourite spot in Buninyong to photograph?

I am most fortunate to open my blinds daily to the sun rising from behind Mt Buninyong. We often sit at our kitchen table admiring the Mount. Some days we see it in its full glory and other days it is hidden by low fog and cloud cover. We regularly reflect as a family about how fortunate we are to look out to such natural beauty when in the comfort of our own home.

Mount Buninyong Photography, Jo O’Kelly

Mount Buninyong Photography, Jo O’Kelly

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Steph and her team for all that they offer at Pilates HQ. I personally feel so grateful to be a member of the Pilates HQ family. It is a beautiful place and one that Steph should feel incredibly proud of creating and nurturing. I look forward to continuing to care for my mind and body at Pilates HQ into the future.

Thank You Jo for bringing your beautiful bright personality and amazing attitude to our Studio each week. We truly are blessed to have you as part of our community and we look forward to seeing what you achieve both in and out of Pilates HQ in 2019.


Love
Steph & The Pilates HQ Team
Xx

Don’t let MenoPAUSE put a stop to living your life!

The benefits of physical activity during menopause.

It’s the M word every woman dreads. Menopause. Whether you’ve experienced it or not every woman has heard about this period of life, whether it be from their mother, sister, grandmother or even movies and social media. It’s commonly portrayed as the evil step sister to the reproductive period of our lives, characterised by stories of hot flushes, night sweats, fatigue and headaches.

So, what is menopause?

It’s a time during a woman’s life, usually between the ages of 45-55 years of age, when menstruation has ceased for a period of 12 months or greater. In the absence of ovulation the body fails to produce progesterone or oestrogen, two primary sex hormones. This can cause a number of side effects that you may be familiar with:

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https://cdn.mamamia.com.au/wp-https://cdn.mamamia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/menopause1.png

  • Hot flushes

  • Night Sweats

  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping

  • Irritability and poor mood

  • Forgetfulness

  • Lack of self esteem

  • Aches and pains

  • Lack of sexual drive

  • Depression and Anxiety

  • Increased weight or central adiposity

  • Incontinence

And with all these symptoms the last thing you probably want to do is be active right?

Why becoming or remaining active during this time in your life should be a priority.

 

INCREASE BONE DENSITY

The lack of the female reproductive hormones, particularly oestrogen can directly impact your bone health. This is typically due to the protective role estrogen plays on our bones. This puts women at greater risk of developing osteopenia or osteoporosis and increases risk of fractures. (Women, we get it all right!)

BUT,  participating in weight bearing and strength exercise during this time can have great effects on strengthening and maintaining bone health.

Not only this, strength exercise has also been linked to increased muscle mass, weight management and a reduced risk of falls later in life.  

 

REDUCED WEIGHT GAIN & RISK OF CHRONIC DISEASE

Changes in hormones, along with lack of activity due to menopausal symptoms can also result in weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region. Increased abdominal or visceral fat increases a person’s risk of developing many forms of chronic disease including: heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and some cancers.

Exercise can have a powerful effect on managing not only weight, but all these risk factors through improving heart and vascular health along with increasing insulin sensitivity and regulating blood glucose levels.

 

BETTER PELVIC FLOOR HEALTH

As hormone levels continue to decline, there are also a number of changes that occur in the genital region. These can include thinning and reduced elasticity of the vaginal wall along with atrophy of the pelvic floor muscles. This can lead to continence concerns along with pelvic floor dysfunction. Gentle exercise targeted at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, such as Pilates, can therefore have a positive impact on not only reducing incontinence but also the stress and anxiety that can occur with such conditions.      
 

Ready to tame the menopausal beast?

Just a little activity everyday (at least 30 minutes) can assist with the management of menopausal symptoms and help YOU live the happiest and healthiest life YOU deserve. Not only for yourself but also for your family, partner and friends!  

Abby Byrne & The Pilates HQ Team

P.S - Stay tuned for details on our upcoming Women's Health Workshop this September

5 Key Ingredients to the Perfect Pilates Posture

Any one that has been to a Pilates Class before knows that there is a lot to think about if you want to achieve the Perfect Pilates posture. Tuck this under, stick this out, suck that in…. oh and don’t forget to breathe. It can all get a bit confusing, and sometimes overwhelming, especially if it is your first time in a Reformer Class. New machine, new space, new people and new posture…woah. Well, I am going to try to make it all a bit simpler and break it down into 5 Key Points.

When setting up your posture, the easiest way to make sure you have everything in check, is by doing a little body scan. So, lets start at the top shall we?

Start lying on your back with your knees slightly bent and feet on the floor and let’s scan from the head and neck first.

1.       Head and Neck Position

Gently tuck your chin towards your chest, as if you are holding a peach between your chin and your chest. You just want to hold the peach softly without squishing it.

Then imagine that your head is a helium balloon, and think of your head just gently floating above your shoulders

2.       Shoulder Position

With your arms resting by your side, reach your finger tips towards your toes letting your shoulder blades reach down your back. Then shrug the shoulder blades towards your ears. Once you have done this find a resting place half way between the two of these positions

Next gently open out through the front of your chest and feel the backs of the shoulders sink down into the floor.

3.       Rib Cage Position

Try to imagine that you have some heavy books resting on your ribs and let the base of your ribs sink into contact with the floor.

4.       Lower back position – Neutral Spine

To Find your neutral spine keep everything else nice and still and then gently flatten your lower back into the floor, reaching your tail bone to the ceiling. Then arch your lower back pressing your tail bone to the floor, creating space between your lower back and the floor. Once You have found these two positions come and rest half way in between, in Neutral Spine.

5.       Hip, knee and foot position

Finally, with a slight bend in the knees, try to make a nice straight line from your hip to your knee to your foot on both sides. And try to have your weight nice and even through both feet.

 

Once You have done all of this you have found your Perfect Pilates Posture, and it is time to activate those deep abdominals… and Breathe. But, that’s a lesson for another day.

 

This may seem like information overload to begin with, but I promise you, if you practice this, it will all become second nature soon enough.

Next thing you know you’ll be strutting the streets of Buninyong with the best posture ever!

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team

 

HQ CLIENT LOVE

The one thing we love most about seeing everyone's smiling faces  in class each week, is when we see people achieve something they didn’t think they could, or when we see how much people have improved since they first walked through our doors.

This month we would like to shine the spotlight on one of our HQ clients, Suanne Murdoch, and everything that she has achieved since starting Pilates Classes with us.

Suanne started coming to our classes around nine months ago with the aim of improving her posture and helping her aching shoulders. She began with beginner exercises, learning how to activate her deep abdominals and trying to get both legs into table top (in the air). Suanne has attended classes once a week, almost religiously since her very first session and in this time has improved so much.

In the nine months that Suanne has been coming to Pilates HQ, she has gone from attending beginner classes once a week, to now, being able to jump into an intermediate class, when the time suits. 

We had a chat to Suanne recently to ask her a few questions about her Pilates Journey so far.

 Why did you start Pilates?

 I was having trouble with my shoulders and lower back at work because I work at a desk all day. 

How long have you been doing Pilates for?

I started in March/ April this year.

What is your favourite thing about coming to classes at Pilates HQ?

 The laughs, comfortable environment, the new challenges every class brings and Steph for her caring nature and knowledge. Thank you. 

 What has kept you interested in Pilates and why do you keep coming back to class each week?

 Comfortable environment, the small personal sized classes, the challenges each class brings and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of a class.

 What improvements have you noticed since coming along to Pilates Classes regularly? 

I can now get through a day at work without aching shoulders. I can get my legs into table top with no problems (this was impossible when l first started). The other bonus for me has been, l have dropped a dress size. This wasn't my aim but a great result. 

Anything else you want to add about your Pilates Journey so far?

I have felt very comfortable and at Ease at Pilates HQ. Thank you.
 

Well Done Suanne!

 

WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR FIRST PILATES HQ REFORMER CLASS?

It can be daunting and scary thinking of starting something new, venturing into a new environment with people you don't know and machine's that look like they may be some form of medieval torture device.

Everyone who has walked into a new gym or studio has felt this way at some point. Perhaps if you knew what to expect before your first class, this experience would be a little less daunting.

Your First Visit to Pilates HQ

When you walk in the door you’ll see 7 Reformers, all lined up in rows and will be greeted with a smile from your Pilates Instructor. You will be asked to fill in a small pre-exercise questionnaire, so we can find out a little bit about you, and will be shown the Reformers. We will then explain a little about the Reformer and how to use it.  If you forget, it’s not an issue, because the instructor will be there throughout the class to help you along. The Reformer Classes run smoothly from start to finish aiming to get you moving and working on each area of your body.

 

The Class

You will probably feel a bit strange gliding up and down on the reformer for the first time, and will no doubt feel somewhat vulnerable the first time you put your legs in the straps. Don’t worry though. I guarantee you that everyone in the class is remembering back to the first time they did these same things and feeling reassured that they aren’t the only ones that found it weird and awkward.

BUT you will be comforted by the fact that the other people in your class were all once in your position.

And YES they did came back a second, third, maybe even tenth time.

 And YES they now look very comfortable on these strange machines.

And YES, this will be you in no time!

The longer the class goes on the more you will get used to the way the Reformer works and you will soon realise that the sweet Pilates Instructor who greeted you at the start of your class, is not as sweet as they seemed.

You will leave your class at Pilates HQ, surprised that such small movements could leave your muscles trembling.  You will feel energised and invigorated and will be excited to book your next visit, or two or three or more.

Soon enough you will be the person making those once weird and awkward movements look easy, smooth and fluid.

 

So come on in and try your very first class at Pilates HQ, I guarantee you we will try to make your Pilates journey as enjoyable as possible.

We can’t wait to see you soon.

 

Steph & The Pilates HQ Team