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Don’t be the Fall Guy

Falls are the greatest health risk for most older adults. Here’s how to protect yourself.

Every second, someone age 65 or older suffers a fall, making it the No. 1 cause of injury-related death in this age group. According to the CDC, about 20% of falls in adults lead to life-altering changes, primarily from broken bones or head injury.

“The best way to protect yourself is to address the three main physical conditions that contribute to falls: weak stabilizer muscles, poor core strength, and balance issues,” says Carina O’Neill, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Stabilizer muscles. The stabilizer muscles keep you upright and allow you to easily change directions. Two essential stabilizers for fall prevention are the gluteus medius (located on the side of the hip) and the gluteus maximus (the largest buttock muscle). “These work both together and independently to allow us to stand upright and stabilize the back and pelvis as we move during activities,” says O’Neill.

Core strength. Core strength is vital for fall prevention, as your body’s core is the epicenter from which every movement revolves. “As we walk, our bodies constantly have to adapt to ever-changing ground levels,” says O’Neill. “Adequate core stability and strength help you better react to these sudden changes and prevent potential falls.” The core consists of several muscle groups: the rectus abdominis (the “six-pack” or “abs”); the obliques, located on the sides and front of your abdomen; and the transverse abdominis muscles, which lie under the obliques and attach to your spine.

Stabilizer and core muscles weaken over time as men naturally lose muscle mass, a condition called sarcopenia. “These muscles further weaken from a sedentary lifestyle or when people follow a regular exercise program that neglects these areas,” says O’Neill.

Balance. Sense of balance naturally wanes over time, as do reflexes and coordination. This makes it easier to topple and harder to catch yourself if you do have a misstep. Another cause of poor balance is deterioration of the inner ear’s vestibular system. It feeds information to the brain about motion, head position, and spatial orientation, and it, too, becomes less effective as we age.

Defense is the best offense when it comes to fall prevention. “Take steps now to address areas that place you at a higher risk for falls,” O’Neill advises. Here are some strategies for shoring up your stabilizer muscles, core strength, and balance.

One of the best ways to improve balance is practicing Reformer Pilates. While all Pilates consists of slow controlled movements focusing on weight distribution and proper rotation, Reformer Pilates supports the limbs, allowing stress-free focus on the core. Numerous studies have supported its use to improve balance and coordination and reduce fall risk among older adults and others at high risk for falls, like stroke survivors.

By first understanding what balance is, you can take the appropriate steps to improve your balance. Balance is largely an automatic reflex. And as you move into your 50s and 60s, you may notice yourself becoming less stable.

Loss of muscle mass, slower reflexes, and worsening eyesight can affect your sense of balance. Certain health problems — such as inner ear disorders, hearing loss, heart rhythm disturbances, and neuropathy (nerve damage that causes weakness, numbness, and pain) — may upset balance, too. And shaky balance can lead to a downward spiral.

Pilates is for anyone who has experienced the fear of falling and craves more stability.

MELT Mornings with Mindfulness and Meditation

MELT MORNINGS Tues and Thurs morns 7:45-8:45 am at the Corydon Studio with Annabel

Great for beginners to use the props
10 class/5 week BEGINNER LEVEL MELT Method BOOT CAMP Program

STARTS Jan 10 & 12, 2023
ONLY $139 plus tax for 10 classes/5 weeks

Learn FAST and EASY WAYS to release fascia and accelerate healing! The health of every cell in your body depends upon its ability to receive nutrients and eliminate waste through the connective tissue fluid surrounding them. Discover how fascial release can enhance energy, boost mood, eliminate pain, and unravel deeply held tensions, fear and repressed emotions held in the body. You will also learn and keep joint stability and regulation.

If this immersive class is not for you, try our 30 min ZOOM classes Wed and Fri morns 30 min $11 per class

OR

Fridays on ZOOM 60 min $16 per class

MELT Beginner In-Person Hybrid Classes
Mon  8 pm mixed with Pilates
Thurs 5:15 mixed with Pilates and ELDOA

Happy New Year 2023

The year ends and we begin a new circuit around our own beautiful sun star, twirling amidst the galaxies.
Take a breath, quiet your heart and listen deeply.
There is so much coming and going, and yet…
feel how underneath it all is a vast silence and a spaciousness that holds everything in its balance.
Living in these seasons of change, I feel deep gratitude for the teachings of the dharma and for being connected to a loving community.
In the long run, I am hopeful.Yes, in human incarnation there are inevitable periods of difficulty, personal and collective. Yet with wisdom and a good heart, our personal sufferings can temper us and help us live with dignity and find an indestructible spirit in ourselves. And in the same way, we can learn to bear the difficulties of the world with compassion and courageously do what we can to mend the broken places.
Yet difficulties are never the end of the story. There is always a return of the light.
Solstice, Christmas, New Year’s, Kwanzaa and Chanukah are outer celebrations of an unstoppable renewal that is life itself. There is always grass that pushes itself through the cracks in the sidewalk. You are this life force constantly being reborn every morning at breakfast.
And while the news often features the worst of humanity, there are a billion acts of human kindness every hour of every day! Take another breath and sense this truth.
Recognize that even our big problems are part of a long march demanding us to honour our human connection, our interdependence with all life.
Our fears and terrors can be activated by the news, but they are not who we are.We are consciousness itself, loving awareness, born into this body and having a wild human ride. What will you do with this human dance?
A most trustworthy and blessed project is to align yourself with compassion,to plant seeds of goodness, to use the creative force of your life to bring understanding, awakening and love to all. Foster trust in life’s renewal power.
Martin Luther King, Jr. describes our collective journey with hope:
“The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
And Pablo Neruda explains further,“You can pick all the flowers, but you can’t stop the spring.”
Renewal is happening.
Take quiet time to listen to your heart, to meditate and to rest amidst the great turnings.
Feel the renewal of spring that can be born in you.
Align yourself with goodness.
Let yourself blossom like a lotus or whatever unique flower you are, shining in the world, spreading your seeds of love amidst it all.

Reprinted from Jack Kornfield “Opening to Love ” @ jackornfiled.com

Thank you for being our students, co-creators, and supporters of our wonderful teachers.

Positive Fitness with Annabel and intenSati

Discover mixing the simple techniques of Positive Psychology with your exercise routine…to help experience deeper joy, cheerful contentment, and long-term happiness…

It’s often said that happiness is a choice: You can either choose to be happy or choose to be sad, stressed, or anxious.

But simply choosing happiness doesn’t always make it so. Many times, you can’t simply force a smile and make believe that everything is coming up roses.

Thankfully, there are much more effective ways, based squarely on research-proven Positive Psychology strategies and concrete techniques that can help you deal effectively with life’s challenges and attain long-term happiness now mixed with mood-lifting cardio movements, positive spoken affirmations and lots of smiles… exclusive interactive resource that helps you apply the same tools that are widely used by mental health professionals to help treat a variety of condition, from stress, anxiety and anger to coping with grief and loss while aligning your joints and body and breath.. to build a happier, more positive lifestyle. 

  • Get into the happiness “flow” — that happy zone where you’re super engaged and absorbed and the movements and affirmations match this mindset.
  • Keep the burden of “too many choices” from robbing you of pleasure. Discover the powerful impact of a stress-relieving “choice diet.”
  • Let go of resentment, envy and grudges — emotions that hurt you more than they hurt people who may have wronged you.
  • Develop the resilience to handle difficulties more easily and bounce back more rapidly after dramatic or unpleasant events.
  • Stop procrastination or beating yourself up when things go wrong with powerful “self-compassion” techniques.
  • Develop an unshakable attitude of gratitude with movement techniques that help lead to more positive emotions, stronger relationships and a greater ability to deal with adversity. Neurons that fire together, wire together.
  • Increase your focus and alertness with these simple stress-relieving “mindfulness” techniques you can use today.
  • Savor more pleasure in your life with specific “enjoy the moment” activities — and why multitasking is the enemy of savoring.
  • Experience the “warm glow” of happiness by re-discovering a universal trait of a life well-lived.
  • Enjoy happier, more resilient relationships with the help of surprisingly simple activities.

Put the power of Positive Psychology and exercise together…to work for you now. Enroll in intenSati  now and see how you can gain a happier, more contented outlook on life!

Have you heard of “Glimmers”?

“Trigger” has become a commonplace term in our cultural lexicon, but few people know about the opposite of triggers: glimmers. Coined by Deb Dana, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in complex trauma, in her 2018 book “The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy, “glimmers” refers to small moments when our biology is in a place of connection or regulation, which cues our nervous system to feel safe or calm.”We’re not talking great, big, expansive experiences of joy or safety or connection,” Deb says. “These are micro moments that begin to shape our system in very gentle ways.”So, what is a glimmer? Glimmers aren’t just tiny moments that bring joy or happiness, they can also spark ease, relaxation, safety, connection or a feeling that the world is OK even for a fleeting moment.Glimmers can be found in different places and senses….

“You feel something happen inside,” Dana says. “There’s an energy that happens around a glimmer, and then your brain then marks it as well.”

Glimmers – small moments of joy –  how about these?

Raise your arms above your head in the ELDOA arm position –  invigorating
After 5 cycles of the general ELDOA – calmness
New clients reaction after releasing out of a cervical ELDOA – a sigh
The look on peoples faces after L5/S1 at the end of a class –  elation 

 There’s more. Find them when you move with us…our Movement “Pharmacy” is just what the integrative medicine and healthcare mindset ordered.

How You Exercise Impacts Your Mental Health—3 Surprising Findings From a Movement Therapist

Physical activity is good for you, there’s no arguing with that. But we want you to pay more attention to your relationship between movement and mental health. That’s because it’s not just a matter of if, but how, you’re moving that determines whether the connection is positive or negative.

Most of our communication is nonverbal and yet, when it comes to mental health, we rely on the 10 percent of our communication that is verbal to uncover, release, and rewire these huge mental and emotional issues. Pilates therapy and small group training is about using movement to tap into our body’s needs and get at the root cause of why we’re feeling what we’re feeling.

Here’s how movement—whether as part of exercise or daily life—plays a role in our overall mental and emotional health.

Taking a “bottoms up” approach to our mental health can build better thought patterns and behaviors

To truly comprehend how the way we move impacts our mental health, we have to understand just how deep the mind-body connection runs. This acknowledgement is often lacking in traditional mental health interventions that focus just on talk therapy, affirmations, or changing thought patterns.

While sometimes those mind-focused strategies can work well on their own, we content that this is taking a “top-down” approach, instead of the body-first, “bottom-up” approach that we have found (as well as thousands of clients over 20 + years of business more helpful. When our nervous system is stuck in a stress response, we can’t reason our way out of it—we have to feel our way. To really change our thoughts, we have to look at how our bodies contribute to and support those thoughts, because, believe it or not, that’s actually where they originate. It’s sensations, it’s experiences; taking in information through the body creates those thought patterns and habits.

The first step in this “bottom-up” approach is noticing how your body is responding when you feel a certain way: “Am I tense? Am I rigid? How much space am I taking up? What’s the rhythm of how I’m moving through the day? If we can start to notice that and then start to challenge it, or expand the way we’re moving in that moment, we can circumvent the mind patterns.

Exercise without self-awareness can negatively impact your mental health

This deep mind-body connection doesn’t turn off when you’re in workout mode—in fact, when we move more, we feel more—and that’s not always a positive thing. Take running, for instance. If I’m on the go, go, go, and I have a hard time slowing down, sprinting is not actually going to help me change that pattern. It’s just going to perpetuate the go, go go (some runners have, upon reflection, realized they were running away from something). The idea is not to give up the exercise you love but to approach it with more intention, and to implement other spectrums of movement—which for the “on-the-go” runner may be something slower-paced, like Pilates or yoga.

That’s not to say that how beneficial a form of exercise is to your mental health is correlated to its intensity level alone. Even yoga can lead to anxiety. It’s not the practice, it’s the execution.

How do you know if your current fitness routine is detrimental to your mental health? At Pilates Manitoba and MELT Method Winnipeg, we do a pre- and post-consultation, taking notice of how you feel before and after your workout. While exercise may leave you physically exhausted, she says, it should make you feel emotionally energized and recharged, or like you’ve been able to release something.Come and learn how to incorporate this in your workout life.

Movement can build emotional resilience

Just as changing up your exercise routine can make your body stronger, creating a “robust movement vocabulary” can also build emotional resilience. If you are used to moving all around; if something comes at you, you may not be expecting it, but you will be more able to get back on your feet to handle whatever is coming.

The same logic applies on an emotional level. It’s about trying new movement, or expanding the reach or the range of the movement you currently do, which could mean identifying if you are only using your lower body, or noticing that you’re often moving forward and backward but never twisting or moving side to side. We also suggest “expanding your definition of movement,” by incorporating more playfulness  in everyday life—like dancing while you do chores, or kicking a ball around the park.

We do these movements as kids, and then as we get older, we don’t have time for play when we need it most. We don’t have movement at our disposal, or we’re like ‘I’m not free anymore—I can’t do that.’ So having a robust movement vocabulary is literally building the embodied dictionary we carry with us.

5 Workout “Rules”to stop following right now…and that highlight the efficacy of what Pilates has ALWAYS been (we just wish people would stop beating themselves up and call it “fitness)

Here are the top five, all-too-common workout myths that should have been retired long ago. But, most people and research does not understand Pilates…the ultimate Stability NOT Soreness WHOLE PERSON workout with your own mind-body feedback as the superior marker of success!

We think these five workout “rules” that just don’t hold water. Whether you think that you have to be sore for a workout to “count” or believe that 10 minutes isn’t worth the trouble, get ready for a perspective shift that’s sure to make you feel a little bit more free while doing the movement you love. And if you can’t do the movement you love, do Pilates to make your joints stable and aligned so you can!

1. Only modify exercises if you want to make them easier

People often equate modifications with less intensity; however, choosing a modification may be the most-effective option to maintain proper form and the full range of motion for the body. Taylor Bogenschuetz is director of training and development at Solidcore, a high-intensity, low-impact workout performed on Pilates reformers and says “Every workout should meet you where you are. For example, you may think that modifying a push-up, either by lowering your knees to the floor, or elevating your hands, is less “effective” or “impressive” than completing a full push-up. But the truth is that the modified version will also work your triceps, core, and shoulders. Then, when you gain the necessary strength, you’ll be able to perform a full push-up safely”.

2. You have to use a fitness tracker to get good feedback

If you’re working out to seek the approval of your smart watch, Bogenschuetz says there’s another way. “From the moment you begin a workout to the second you end it, your fitness tracker measures your heart rate and displays an estimate of calories burned. These numbers alone are not a strong indication of the efficacy of your workout,” she says. The superiority of the way you FEEL is key here and MUST include joy and happiness in a measurement of good feedback.

The reality is, the stats on your fitness tracker are good—but they don’t paint a full picture of the mental and physical benefits you reap. The lesson here? Make sure your wearable isn’t the only way you’re measuring your progress. Consider keeping a fitness journal or clocking how you feel before and after a workout, as well and notice the energy and sensorial feedback increases and benefits.

3. You haven’t worked hard enough if you’re not sore

According to Bogenschuetz, many factors play into soreness including how hydrated you are, how much sleep you got the night before, and how well you’re recovering. In other words: It’s far too variable to use as a metric for a successful workout. Luckily, we are big fans of focusing on how your muscles and breath feel throughout the workout and always preach to listen to your body and make that mind-body connection when training. It can become a more efficient way of training, and it’s eye opening when you can truly understand your body and how it moves. We are also big fans of fascial hydration BEFORE the muscular workout, to prep the fascial continuum and flow, and some AFTER to restore the cellular hydration used up.

4. Always opt for long workouts over short

You don’t need to work out for 60 minutes straight to reap the benefits of exercise. If you only have 10 minutes, do that. If you have 10 minutes, five times a day, that is 50 minutes spread throughout. We have time for what we want to have time for, and sometimes you need to prioritize yourself. Short-and-sweet workouts are also a great way to manage stress, improve your overall health and build health habits.

So whether you have two minutes or a full hour today, make time to stretch, walk around the block, stand up and stretch and breathe, or move in another way that feels good to you.

5. Consistency counts, so don’t take rest days

“‘No days off’ is another ‘motto’ that could be more harmful in the long run. Your body needs rest in order to function properly and to its full potential. Exercise is stress on your body, and if you are constantly putting your body through stress, there will be a point where it could lead to overuse and injury.  

Instead of pushing yourself to exercise every day, listen to your body: If you feel tired, try active recovery like soft foam rolling or fascial flossing with the MELT Method or the Pilates “bubble-gum” balls or stretching. Or, opt to skip movement altogether with a smile in your eyes and heart…no inside voice saying mean things!

Pilates & ADHD

Read more about Pilates therapy and feel-good treatments for ADHD

We offer private lessons for children, teens, and adults with ADHD as well as small group classes for schools and learning centres.