The importance of taking some time Off

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time off  -jeydancepilates- 

Holidays and summer are around the corner, and you already trying to figure it out: how to continue my routine? Keep my efforts all together and keep on progressing?

One week with no sport and you already freaking out thinking about it;

In this article I will let you know how to compensate 1-2 weeks without sport and which benefits (yes, yes) you can even get from it.  

First question is: How often do you practice?

To understand benefits, you can get from one-two weeks off: you first have to know where you stand. I explain:

-are you a regular practitioner?

-or occasionally workout If you a regular, meaning you train at least 2/ week during the whole year, even more if you’re an athlete: it’s brings benefits to stop your routine 1 to 2 weeks off /year.

The off-season is a necessary part of the training cycle.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with specializing in one sport year-round, it does present a problem when there is no time taken to let the body properly recover.

If you an occasional, you do less than 2 hours / week and you are not strictly regular, then it’s different: it might cause more negatives than positive to stop your sport. It can break down the fragile habits and make you get back to sedentary lifestyle.

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 When you stop your routine: how to compensate?

Now big question is: you are taking some time off, ok, for 1-2 weeks, sometimes more: no regular sport : how to compensate?

  • Eat less

It might not be the advice you want to read. But big truth is: you are less active, you need less fuel: logic.

You need to reduce your amount of food and choose lighter options;

I see a lot of my athletes’ friends’ gaining weight when they stop training, because they keep on eating the same amount of food, sometimes more. It can lead them to sometimes 4kgs a week.

To enjoy your rest without alerting the scale: you’ll have to reduce your carbs intakes, sugar intakes and eat smaller portions;

Choose raw veggies, fruits full of water like watermelon (awesome in summer) and nuts : they will be your best friends.

  • Drink a lot of water

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 Water plays a role in both muscle repair and growth.

Our body is made primarily of water, and water helps carry nutrients, electrolytes and virtually every other substance in your body to your muscles and organs. In fact, most experts affirm that a lot of disease, injuries and infections could be avoided by drinking sufficient water the whole year.

If you exercise regularly during the year your heart rate increased so your muscles can get a quick supply of blood and oxygen. But if you don’t drink enough water, this process becomes less efficient. The result can be muscle pain, spasms, cramps and slowed muscle growth. And of course fatigue.

While you taking some time off you want to get rid of all the toxins accumulated and help your metabolism to regenerate. Water will help with that.

  • Get plenty of rest

 As your’ on holidays all the point is to rest and enjoy with your loved ones right?

And if I tell you, (to make you feel even more guilt-free) that resting is playing a huge role in fitness results & muscles gain: then it’s even better right?When we regularly exercise: some of the fatigue stays with us, gradually accumulating during long periods of intense training dedicated to our favorite sport.

Even as we get fitter and fitter, the mechanisms of recovery and adaptation begin faltering, putting us at risk for chronic exhaustion, difficulty sleeping and loss of motivation, evidenced in part by declining testosterone levels and increases in creatinine kinase and urea.

  • Plenty of sleep

 How many times you heard that sentence huh?

As you taking some days off from your usual routine, it’s the right moment to allow you intense nights’ sleep. And those naps during daytime, along by the pool: why not?

Researches has shown that poor sleep is a major risk for heart disease and overweight;

Sleeping 8 hours a night is an amazing tool for:

-recuperation

-weight loss

-muscle’s gain

-sport performances

Athletes know that and most professional trainers ask for 10 hours sleep to their athletes.

A study from Stanford university women’s tennis team for five weeks as they attempted to get 10 hours of sleep each night. Those who increased their sleep time ran faster sprints and hit more accurate tennis shots than while getting their usual amount of sleep.

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Sleep can, in fact, be one of the best workouts you give your body, enabling it to rest and recover enough to hit the gym with more vigor the next day.

  • Move

Taking a long break doesn’t mean getting overly friendly with the couch and laying down all day long.

You don’t want to fall completely out of shape, and you certainly don’t want to add kgs that will be hard to shed later.

It’s time to diversify: Instead of your usual routine: take it easy an try new things.

Look for activities that either build up some attribute useful in your main sport or keep you moving but with a different mental focus.

For example if you’re a cyclist or runner: choose low impact activity and it might be the right time to try some yoga and stretch those legs!

And if you play basketball or tennis, dabble in mountain biking to keep the heart and lungs working, while giving the joints a break. 

If you spend a lot of time in the gym normally/ you can just enjoy some outside walks or go swimming each morning, your body deserves a rest and taking a Summer holiday is the perfect excuse.

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I like to take 10 days completely off from my routine, and I feel that’s what my body needs after 10 months of intense training and teaching; During those 10 days I just take walks, slow swimming in the sea and that’s it : stretching, reading, enjoying  sun tanning sessions.

 


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What about your Bones ? Pilates for osteoporosis

Modifying Pilates for Clients With Osteoporosis

 

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Find out who is at risk for fracture and which exercises they should avoid

Osteoporosis is globally epidemic in Europe and in USA : more and more people, younger and younger are concerned. 

Why does this concern the fitness professional?

One in every 2 women and 1 in every 4 men aged 50 or older will suffer an osteoporosis-related hip, spine or wrist fracture during their lives

 Among women over 50, 1 in every 2 who walk into your exercise classes has low bone density and is at risk for fracture.

In France : 3 millions of women are touched by osteoporosis and 130 000 fractures caused it. 

Research has shown that given the fragility of the osteoporotic vertebrae, most fractures are caused by the stresses of everyday life (Cummings & Melton 2002; Keller 2003).

As the disease progresses, bones can become so vulnerable that fractures can occur spontaneously or through such mild trauma as opening a stuck window, lifting a light object from the floor with a rounded thoracic spine or even just coughing or sneezing.

The problem is so widespread that a report called: Bone Health and Osteoporosis—A Report of the Surgeon General (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] 2004)  has been published.

It treated on how to improve bone health and reduce the risk of illness and injury. The document also raises the profile of a disease that too often has been overlooked.

 

What Is Osteoporosis?

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Osteoporosis is the gradual and silent loss of bone and not a normal aging process. It is defined as a systemic skeletal disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, with a consequent increase in bone fragility and susceptibility to fracture (NOF 2005). Osteopenia is mildly reduced bone mass—a loss of approximately 10%– 20%indicating the onset of osteoporosis.

Clients who have their bone mineral density (BMD) tested receive a T-score, which tells them how their BMD compares with that of a young adult (25–30 years old). A standard deviation (SD) of -1 to -2.5 below the mean indicates osteopenia. An SD of more than -2.5 indicates osteoporosis. For every 1-point SD drop below the mean, fracture risk doubles.

The World Health Organization did not recognize osteoporosis as a disease until 1994. Since it is not only a newly recognized illness but also a “silent” one (bone loss stays hidden until we see its effects through changes such as height loss or kyphosis [dowager’s hump]), our lack of awareness is one of its biggest allies.

This lack exists even in the medical world: Studies have found that doctors and physician too commonly fail to diagnose and treat osteoporosis, even in elderly patients who have suffered a fracture .

Persons with osteoporosis usually discover bone loss insidiously or later at their on cost: often they find out  that their pants, clothes  are too long; People around notice that they are shrinking in height, they’re developing a dowager’s hump or their arms look longer. Other persons complain of waistline pain (caused when the ribs sit on the iliac crests), mid-back pain or neck pain. Hip pain is not common with osteoporosis and is present only after a fracture.

A Question of Lifestyle

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In my practice as  a Pilates instructor, I am finding that clients and even Pilates teachers are discovering they have osteoporosis at younger and younger ages.

Now I’m frequently seeing osteoporotic clients in Pilates studios, and health clubs where I teach Pilates mat classes. What are we doing wrong?

Evidence suggests that lifestyle is a major culprit. Studies have found that Americans & European are not engaged in enough physical activity, do not take in enough nutrients to support good bone health

Researchers working on the China-Oxford-Cornell Project studied rural Chinese farm families for incidence of osteoporosis, heart disease and cancer and found that even with low calcium intake the incidence of these diseases was extremely low (Hu et al. 1994; Campbell 2005).

In contrast, the researchers found a positive link between urbanized cultures and these diseases, which Campbell has even called “diseases of affluence” (Campbell 2005).

In modern societies : we base our habits of daily living on convenience and time management. We have computers for shopping: TVs to entertain us; and microwaves, washing machines, elevators, escalators, cars and high-tech devices to “save time” and to make our lives more “efficient”. M

More efficiency means we are increasingly sedentary, and sedentary living is bad for our bones. We walk less, we bear less weight, and we do less physical labor.

In short, our high-tech assistant labor-saving lifestyle is destroying our bones. 

Who is at risk ? 

Instead of what we think osteoporosis is largely spread out among populations. We estimate that 30% of women at 50 years old, and 50% of women above 5Os have osteoporosis. 

Women are more subject to osteoporosis than men: 

Factors that help increase osteoporosis

  • Hormones (lack of oestrogen during menopause or before)
  • Some medications like pain killers, corticoïdes and hormones. 
  • High intake of alcohol and caffeine 
  • Big smokers
  • Lack physical activity
  • Lack of calcium and D Vitamin Intake 

The Solutions: Two types of bones:

Two cell types are at work in our bones: osteoblasts (bone “builders”) and osteoclasts (bone “cleaners”).

In the healthy skeleton these two cell types are continuously working together, with osteoclasts breaking down old bone and osteoblasts replacing it with new bone. In someone with osteoporosis, however, the osteoclasts continue to break down old bone, while the osteoblasts get lazy. Bone breaks down more quickly than it is renewed, and over time, bone mass and density decrease.

While modern medicine offers significant benefits for those at risk for osteoporosis, studies with no doubt suggest that individuals can do a great deal to promote their own bone health.

For example: Engaging in regular weight-bearing exercise, following a bone-healthy diet and avoiding pattern such as smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can all contribute to strong & healthy bones.

The Role of Pilates

The importance of weight-bearing exercise that loads and strengthens bone cannot be underestimated.

In fact, research has shown that physical exercise alone can decrease the progression of bone loss.

One program that is often suggested for building strength is Pilates.

For most people, this is a great idea. Careful!

Despite the media hype: is Pilates safe for clients whose bones are compromised?

To teach safe and effective osteoporosis Pilates exercises, all Pilates instructors should be educated about osteoporosis and know the precautions that apply to clients at risk for fracture.

What instructors must know—if they are to help rather than harm these clients—is who is at risk and which moves are contraindicated. Without such knowledge, their clients may end up breaking a bone even as they’re exercising to build bone strength.

Let’s say a client in her early 50s says she has had a BMD (bone density) test and was diagnosed with osteopenia, or slightly low BMD.

Do the same contraindications apply to her as would apply to a client with osteoporosis?

The thoracic spine is the area of the spine at greatest risk of fracture. That’s because the vertebral bodies get smaller as you move up the vertebral column and also because the thoracic vertebral bodies’ orientation toward flexion loads the spine anteriorly. However, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA)—commonly used to test bone density—does not view the thoracic spine because it is surrounded by ribs and the sternum, which would skew the results of the BMD report. DEXA views the lumbar spine.

Statistically, we know that bone density decreases from the cervical to the lumbar spine. However, bone size and ability to distribute force load decrease from the lumbar to the cervical spine.

So if someone has osteopenia of the lumbar spine, an exercise specialist should assume that the person may have osteoporosis of the thoracic spine.

What’s more, until the results of the client’s next bone density test are known, the instructor doesn’t know if bone loss is progressing as he or she is working with the client. Therefore, all exercise specialists should use the same precautions for clients with osteopenia as for those with osteoporosis.

Forward flexion causes excessive compression force on the anterior (or front) surface of the vertebral bodies, where most of the trabecular bone is located. 

Compression forces on the vertebrae are also excessive during side-bending of the thoracic and upper-lumbar spine. Forward flexion, side-bending and particularly forward flexion combined with rotation are therefore contraindicated for clients with osteoporosis—and hence for clients with osteopenia.

Spinal extension is a different story. These areas do get compressed as the spine moves into extension, but the movement is much less risky than flexion because of the strength of cortical bone. One research study showed that people with stronger back extensor muscles had higher bone density in their spines.

Testing with Pilates

When clients with low bone density or newly healed fractures are ready to start a strengthening program, modified Pilates is an option. But safety must be paramount. 

1. Make Sure Clients Have Obtained a Physician’s Clearance to Do Pilates. Anyone who has osteoporosis or is at high risk for it must have clearance before beginning a Pilates program.

2. Use Safe Evaluation Techniques. Do not test the spine’s mobility!

The following tests are safe to use:

  • Functional Reach Test: Assess how far the client can reach forward without excessive rounding of the thoracic spine.
  • Supine to Sit, using “log rolling” method.
  • Sit to Stand, without using hands and with knees apart.
  • Hip Hinge: Check to see if the client can flex at the hip joint without rounding the low back.
  • Abdominal Strength Test—Leg Lowering: The head is on the floor, or if the client is kyphotic, on a small pillow. The lumbar spine should be flat. Have the client perform single-leg lowering first, and then double-leg lowering if this is possible with a flat back.
  • Balance Test Stand: Instructor must closely keep an eye at the client. Test a 10-second stance on one leg, or single-leg heel-raises 10x (tiptoes) 

Teach Proper Breathing. Teach costal breathing, in which the ribs expand laterally (bucket-handle-style, encouraging breathing into the lower back) and the transversus abdominis muscles are contracted to prevent abdominal expansion or bulging. Placing a strap around the lower ribs at or near the level of the xyphoid process will give clients feedback. They should be able to expand 11⁄2–2 inches. Teach them to avoid lifting the chest wall or flaring the ribs.

When All of the Above Are Mastered, you can start the Bone-Building Program. 

Example :

  • Focus on the abdominals but without using “crunches,” which place the spine at risk for fracture
  • Improve thoracic spine extension, reduce or prevent thoracic kyphosis. Foam roller can be a good tool for osteoporosis clients. 
  • Weight loads: planks, walking, jumping, are good low bone density exercises.

1st of all: get your self diagnosed :

Not only  women over 50 have osteoporosis, and we tend to have more and more people with osteopenia at our modern age, best is to know your condition, then we can work on it. 

Sleep like a baby – 5 tips

Sleep like a baby – 5 tips

Funny-Baby-Sleep-Pictures-HD-Wallpaper.jpgSpring is here, time changed (in France), weather changed, everything comes to open again.

In between it requires your body a lot of adaptation and sometimes « season changes’ time » can be disturbing for internal functions. At this time of the year or in general you may experience some trouble in your sleep.

Researches shown that most of half of the people in modern cities are deprived from good sleep and don’t sleep enough. Shanghai is not the best city regarding sleep, and we all know how it can be struggling having your 8 hours sleep while lifestyle can be extremely busy, stressful and dense.

Here are 5 easy tips to improve your quality sleep (tested on my self)

All these advices are adaptable for mummies or especially mom to be who can experience big trouble to sleep last few weeks before delivery

1-Time sleep routine:

Very often, sleep is the first thing busy people compromise, so simply making time to sleep will help protect our health and well-being. To achieve this, you can create and commit to a schedule. 

For exemple 11 or 11.30 (the latest) Researches shown that before 10 pm is the best, but it’s not doable every day I admit. But Once per week: try to make a full recovery night: sleep time at 10/ 10.30 pm

2- Use Melatonin.

Some will not agree, but I did back and forth to France in five days, and had no jet lag feeling or sleep issues thanks to melatonin. I Will not recommend to use on a long term period, but for short terms sleep issues and some nights where you know (mind overthinking) you will not sleep well: go for it. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep and is primarily made in the pineal gland in the center of the brain;

It’s 100% natural, and safe under 3mg for pregnant women.

(ask sproutslifestyle to purchase some)

3- Calm the mind

Use breathing (calm baby breathing) and meditation to ease your mind before sleeping; It’s often the time where we start to think, and think, and over think and then leads to insomnia; Instead: use deep breathing method (see deep breathing pattern with Pilates or Yoga). I found out some applications are really useful with guided mediations.

For French speakers: petit bamboo offers some nice range of free meditations, and guided ones. Body scan meditations are the best to easily fall asleep.

English speakers: Calm App is good option too.

4- Avoid upsetting talks at night

One of my wise and very close friend gave me precious advice : Do not start upsetting conversations after 6 pm. It will create stress, it starts messing up with your brain, thoughts and emotions and will ruin your night.

So no ‘financial conversations’ with your siblings over the phone, no deep controversial subjects, no arguing or even possible fights” matters with your husband, boyfriend, etcera. Leave it for the morning.  Hardest to apply, but honestly one of the most effective advice too (so simple right?)

5- Get tired

Finally most obvious one but not so easy: get yourself tired. Do exercises, move, feel tired from good fatigue at night.

Physical exercises are the best way to spend a good night sleep; from walking (for our pregnant ladies) to running, exercises with Pilates or even enjoy good sex with lover indoor bedroom: they all work, they will make your tired!

The secret is exercise will increase pleasure hormone the endorphin and dopamine, it decreases the cortisol: it helps you relax and unwind physically and mentally.

Remember lack of sleep is responsible for poor health: depressive mood, lack of interests, chronic fatigue and affects most of your abilities during day time. So get get this good night sleep you deserve now!

 

Pilates exercises to help with sciatica

What is sciatica and what causes it? Are there sciatica exercises that will help relieve the pain?  

Dr. Brent Anderson has dedicated a lot of researches to that question. He is a physical therapist, Orthopedic Certified Specialist, and the founder of Polestar Pilates method, one of the leaders in Pilates instructor training focusing on rehabilitation. 

So in this article we will see what’s sciatica, and the role of Pilates exercise can play in relieving the pain.

1- DEFINITION 

The sciatic nerve is one of the largest nerves in ​the body. It provides the majority of the motor and sensory activity for the lower extremities. It is made up of a nerve plexus originating from L1 to S1 and passes from inside the pelvis to outside the pelvis through the sciatic notch – a little hollowing in the pelvis. The sciatic nerve then typically goes under the piriformis muscle, runs down the back of the leg behind the knee and splits, going inside and outside the calf and along the top and bottom of the foot.

sciatica23117022_m2- Causes of the pain

Anything that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve or its root can create the irritation we refer to as sciatica.

This can happen from a vertebral disc putting pressure on the nerve root, or you could have some problem in the sciatic notch – an accident or fall on your buttocks that caused a trauma to the nerve passing through the sciatic notch.

The injury could cause swelling and that could cause sciatic pain. An overactive piriformis muscle  pressuring sciatic nerve is also a common reason for sciatic irritation.

Another common cause of sciatic pain is neural tension (NT) (tension of the nerve).

NT is thought to be caused by restriction on the sheath (biological term for girdle) that surrounds the nerve. The nerve should glide smoothly through the sheath like a bicycle brake cable gliding through its casing. But sometimes the nerve does not glide through the sheath well and this can cause restriction.

3- Protect the nerve

As we’ve seen sciatica is a nerve injury; First preventive is to : protect the nerve.

With a sciatic injury, you want to be careful not to irritate the nerve more than it already is. Consider that the nervous system is continuous through your whole body from the crown of head to the toes and fingertips. Anywhere we move the body we are in essence moving the nervous system. So what you want is a gentle movement without over-stretching the nerve.

Adapt the movements

In my approach I Like to caution people about “over recruiting” the muscles; for example, if you follow classical Pilates, you have some moves where you tuck your bottom a little bit or squeeze hips extensors, it might not be appropriate for sciatica.  

That would increase the pressure on the sciatic nerve and decrease the space around the nerve. You want to work in a more neutral spine. 

If the sciatica is coming from a herniated disc, then we have to take all the disc precautions.

Disc precautions include:

  • not going into unnecessary flexion, and sometimes extension.
  • Avoid overusing the buttocks and the piriformis muscles. Avoid putting the nerve on stretch.
  • Avoid too much flexion [forward bending] in the lumbar spine which could irritate the nerve if there is a disc lesion.
  • Work from a neutral spine, get things to move and relax, and get the core

My advice:

  • Work with a qualified instructor, one on one one if possible
  • Find instructor that knows sciatica and can put you in touch with physiotherapist or chiropractors if needed adjustments
  • Also work on your own

People with sciatica should do exercises at home too.

I have clients who say “I feel great here but terrible when I go back to work”, and I say, do Pilates at work!

4- Home exercises for sciatica

In general, pre-Pilates simple exercises are good to practice:

  • Quadruped with knees / hands support; like Cat stretch
  • Pelvic curl and bridging exercises to mobilize and articulate the spine
  • Sides exercises: clams and glutes
  • Pre-swan
  • Leg circles

5-Exercises to avoid

Exercises that would probably bother a person with sciatica would be exercises:

  • like rolling like a ball
  • intense stretches like spine stretch, spine twist, and saw

But in my approach I’m much more inclined to do whole body movement and do modifications to perform the movement successfully.

As a teacher, I know how to modify the exercise and make corrections to provide a successful workout experience without pain.

I’ll tell the student it’s their responsibility to let me know when they have discomfort, and my responsibility to modify the exercise so that they have a successful movement experience and results. Pain free is my mojo.

In general, that formula of equal responsibility and knowledge has been the best for dealing with the ones with back pain, sciatica or any kind of injuries.

 

Conclusion and general tips for people with sciatica
You want to improve awareness of the core, increase mobility of the hips, and become efficient movers, minimizing over recruitment of the body’s musculature.

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Jey Geraldine Pilates Shanghai

jeydancepilates

8 foods To enter Fall with energy

Fall is around the corner, Shanghai has done its back to school and with it it’s craziness of: work, social reunions, parties, birthdays and activities. We love it, but it’s gonna require you to have a good level of energy.

Now you may know from TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) and others holistic sciences that food can heal and prevent a lot of things, especially when it comes to energies and the way you feel.

Today let’s have a look at 8 easy recipes and ingredients to get you all pumped up.

  1. Lemon Water

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Start your day with this beverage, it’s the best way to clean you inside out. Lemons are loaded with healthy benefits, and particularly, they’re a great vitamin C food source which is partly responsible for energy level.

  1. 2. Bananas

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If you feel tired you might lack of magnesium, and in any case it’s always good to do a cure when fall comes. So let’s you full of this mineral.

Bananas take 1 every two days is enough to get the trick. Bananas are rich in potassium, packed with vitamins, and high in flavor. They are nutritious snack at around 100 calories per serving. They’re best consumed mid-morning 10 am, when you feel the fatigue, or before a workout. With all the fiber, bananas will help you feel full and keep cravings at bay last until the next meal.

  1. 3. Nuts

Grab a hand of those every day.

Chock full of heart-healthy fats and other nutrients, those nuts you like to munch on are a superfood that’s super good for you. Which nuts?

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Two of my favorites are:

  • Walnuts: provide a significant amount of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid, a compound that helps reduce plaque buildup in arteries and fights heart disease. Studies have also linked walnuts with stronger bones.
  • Almonds: Almonds are high in calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, protein and vitamin E. They contain more vitamin E than any other nut—just one ounce of almonds holds half your daily vitamin E needs. To top off their health benefits, almonds are also high in antioxidants. These superfood nuts will fill you up fast.

I love to get those two during my day, just before giving a class. You can grab a hand while leaving home for work that’s also a healthy option.

  1. 4. Ginger

My favorite!

Ginger has so many benefits that’s unbelievable how much you can get from this root.

As we talk of energy today let’s look how It goes for ginger: two things.

  • Circulation: it is increasing the circulatory system, allowing the blood inside you to move more freely throughout the body. The sensation this provides is one where you feel the get up and go that you once did in your younger years. It helps you feel like you can be more active.
  • Sugar: Ginger can help keep blood glucose levels in check. This is important because these levels have a direct impact on weight loss and weight gain, as well as how energetic or lethargic you feel throughout the day. If you’ve noticed that you get a midday crash it’s likely due to your blood sugar levels, and adding ginger to your lunch might help you stay focused and on task. An all-natural alternative to products like 5 Hour “Energy”.

I like to pour it into water (ginger water)  or eat it raw sliced on my meals; I also like the Japanese option pickled ones. Just right after your meals.

  1. 5. Spinach

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Spinach is extremely high in iron, magnesium and potassium.

Magnesium plays a vital role in producing energy, and paired with potassium enables effective digestion in the stomach and the regulation of nerve and muscle function.Add some fresh spinach to your favourite salad, or serve it wilted with some eggs for breakfast.

If you think you have enough spinach, think again Just keep adding it!

  1. 6. Spirulina

Talking about Iron, this superfood is my “chouchou” (little favorite in French). So as a non-meat eater I might need to double dose my Iron to get the good amount per day that I need. As a woman you also need more to get the same amount of energy than men.

The first sign of iron deficiency is fatigue, and spirulina contains high levels of iron. The iron-rich content of spirulina is not just for those with a deficiency. Spirulina can help to increase athletic performance; as adequate iron intake maximizes the use of oxygen throughout the human body.

Get a spoon of spirulina everyday into your yoghurts, meals, soups, or if you can’t stand the taste: get a pill version (only organic). Mix it with some Vitamin C to get the full nutriments of it, and absorb Iron.

  1. 7.CHIASEEDS

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Talking about super food these ones are little but so efficient. Chia seeds help with hydration by absorbing 10 times their weight in water. Plus, they have the right ratio of protein, fats, and fiber to give you an energy boost without a crash. BY boosting digestive system, they will get you go to toilets faster and eliminate better, by it: get rid of low energy due to slow digestion.

  1. 8. Tea

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By now, it’s no secret that green tea has a slew of health benefits. You can add putting some pep back in your step to the long list. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine give you energy without the jitters. Bonus: Research suggests that green tea boosts brainpower as well, which may come in handy when you’re down to the wire at work.  Take the time to brew the tea yourself because store-bought varieties often have lots of added sugar.

Tips for summer / Fall: I like to do it cold version. For your homemade cold tea: brew your tea in hot water as usual, let it cool down, then put it into the fridge for one night. The next day you have this delicious version of green iced tea.

For a detox version add lemon and ginger ! It’s delicious! I also like caffeine free version with Rooibos and infusions !

 

 

 

Eat fat, get slim

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Many of us, including me, have been told for many years that fat is bad for your health and scale, and to get healthy and fit, you’ll have to remove fat from food.

For a long time, we thought that fat was “global fat” and make no distinction between “fatty” ingredients. I myself, removed all kind of fat many years ago, and since recently, was not able to ingest any of them, more over I was intolerant, I had no weight loss, even gained a bit, and started to notice some side effects.

Talking with my friends in fitness industry, yoga teachers, former dancers, nutritionists and so on, I realized a lot of them have tried to cut off fat as well and ended up with one same consequence: didn’t lose any weight at all, or worse: got fat.

Indeed, not eating good fat food will not only stabilize your weight or get you gain some, but it will stop the “losing weight” process if you wish to do so.

Recently many researchers, and my personal studies led me to the same answer to these questions: fat can help us maintain our weight? Fat doesn’t make us fat? In a word: exactly.

Fat is not something to avoid. For starters, it’s essential for normal growth and development. Dietary fat also provides energy, protects our organs, maintains cell membranes, and helps the body absorb and process nutrients. Even better, it helps the body burn fat.

But be careful there is two kind of fat, fake beliefs have been built on some “kind of truth”: Not all fatty foods are created equal. For example: pizza, French fries and hamburgers can contribute to weight gain and deterioration of health.

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That’s where confusion has started- 50 years ago researchers have shown that “fat” raised bad cholesterol and can gives many health issues such as heart disease, plus get you fat. But that was about saturated fat.

Nowadays more complex researches have shown that good fat not only reduce bad cholesterol, but raise the good one (yes, yes there is a good one), protect cells, balance the proporitions of nutriments in the body, and by it get you thiner;

It’s not an “abstract” example, I experienced it. Like I said, I stopped every kind of fat many years ago, and only couple years ago got convinced by my friends and professionals to re incorporate lipids in my diet. 

I was not looking for weight loss to be honest, my main concern was my skin, hair and overall beauty that seemed a bit deteriorated and way much more dry after many years of fat free diet. After reincorporate fat results were not to wait: my skin get back to soft and hydrated, my hair as well and “cherry on the cake” i’ve stabilized my scale two kilos under where i’ve started. It was only positive!

It balanced proportions in my body, help digest and ingest good vitamins, it feeds your hair, skin, your brain, your heart. It will help maintain a good number on the scale without any effort.

Which fat to eat then? I will give you today easy “good fat” food

Let’s list three of my fav !

1. Sesame Oilstéléchargement

I might be Mediterranean but I can’t stand olive oil or butter.  I’ve tried other kind of oils to have this amount of good lipid I needed; and I’ve found it: Sesame oil. Living in Asia: sesame oil is one of the most popular one, and it happened to be my fav: super tasty and perfumed, you don’t need much to get one of your dish fulfilled and delicious.

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Sesame oil, which comes from sesame seeds, is a lesser known vegetable oil but is, in fact, one of the healthiest alternatives to normal vegetable oil options.The health benefits of sesame oil include its ability to improve hair and skin health, stimulate strong bone growth, reduce blood pressure, maintain good heart health, manage anxiety and depression, protect infant health, cure the dental problems, prevent cancer, improve the digestive process, and lower inflammation. In a nutshell: it’s a 10 for sesame oil !

2. Chia seedschia-seeds-in-a-bowl

One of the greatest product or “super food” as it considered so, you can find; Chia seeds is full of benefit and the example of good fat. They’re full of fatty acids and omega3. More over they’re also protein, dietary fiber (easy to digest) and full of minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium).

But careful as they became so popular, they also ate in a wrong way that make you miss of the content.  Chia seeds have a mild, nutty taste and can easily be added to most dishes as a garnish, yet chewing small seeds like flax or chia generally doesn’t make the omega-3s and other nutrients readily available for digestion and assimilation. The best way to access their vitamins and minerals is to either grind or soak them.

3. Fatty fishes 

Fatty-Fishes

The term “fatty fish” may sound unappealing, but actually these are the tastiest and healthiest foods from the sea. Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower triglycerides, which are a type of fat in the bloodstream. Omega-3 fatty acids may also slow down the growth of plaques in the arteries and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

In an important review of studies, researchers found that getting daily omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil could lower triglyceride levels by 25%-30%. Research has demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in brain and heart health. Specifically, they have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, and be beneficial for pre- and post-natal development. 

Which fatty fishes ? 

Fatty fish typically are cold-water fish. You have many good choices when it comes to fatty fish, it includes: 

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel 

One important point to keep in mind: How you prepare the fish is almost as important as which type of fish you eat. It’s always best raw, to broil, grill, or steam these foods.

To conclude: researches on “fat” have shown that good fat exist and even more that we need it. This idea revolutionizes how you eat and how you feel on every level. We got into this “big fat mess” and now we can incorporate healthy fats back into our lives to feel better, cut cravings and live with more energy. 

5 ways Pilates can improve your sex life

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Dear Students I often point out Pilates for rehabilitation or alignment but there are much more fun reasons to add Pilates to your repertoire.

Researches have shown that not only Pilates exercises make sex better, but many of Pilates benefits have more than basic benefits in the bedroom.
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1-Use your pelvic floor

The most obvious reason, Pilates makes you have a better sex, and I always emphasize this point elsewhere, it uses your pelvic floor;

Nowadays everybody talks about pelvic floor, but very few (even among professionals and fitness) know what it is and how to use properly.

Pilates is actually one of the only discipline that really makes pelvic floor muscles grow and tone up, and first develop consciousness about them. We work closely the pelvic floor as part of the core foundation.

But what really are pelvic floor muscles?

Before everything let’s recap what are pelvic floor muscles: Pelvic floor muscles are the layer of muscles that support the pelvic organs and span the bottom of the pelvis. The pelvic organs are the bladder and bowel in men, and bladder, bowel and uterus in women.

Because yes we talk about both genders when it comes to « pelvic flor », men are often surprised to learn that they even have one!

Researches, and the acclaimed Dr Kegel, recognized the importance of training the pelvic floor and its role to improve sexual function and satisfaction. A healthy, toned up, strong pelvic floor, Is the key to good sex life for women and men!

WHAT TO DO? Work your shoulder bridge on the Mat. Curl up and down between each repetition.

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Then bring that move to the mattress. With consistency, your performance and intensity should help everyone cross the finish line

2- Stress reduction

As being a mind-body focus technique, Pilates will help you reduces stress and calm your mind.

The effects of stress are insidious. It takes a toll on your physical, emotional and relationship health, probably more than you realize. It impacts your overall health and by it your sexual life. Stress raises the production of a hormone called cortisol, and high level of cortisol in your body actually lower your sex hormones.

Lower degree of sex hormones equal lower libido.

Pilates with its regular practice, helps you control and manage stress, and prevent cortisol level from rising too high and too often.

It also, by calming the mind rises testosterone. When it comes to sexual desire, the most influential hormone is testosterone: the hormone responsible for sexual appetite, performances and pleasure.

Pilates class gives you stress reduction comparable to “holidays”, and who never noticed that on holidays your sexual life is way much more active

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3- Work on your breathing

A correct breathing is actually a pattern that very few master and that is essential in every daily life aspect.

When you have sex: you need all the oxygen-rich blood you can get coursing through your body, refreshing your cells, enhancing your endurance, and waking up all of your senses. Unfortunately, for many people their version of heavy breathing is shallow panting, not optimal for full on sex or exercises.

In Pilates we learn to lengthen and pace our breathing timing the exhales with the point of exertion. Translate this into love-making when you’re up for something more than a quickie and you and your partner can draw out a sex session that takes up a full afternoon or more.

What to do? Practice your hundreds (see picture below) then practice small pumps inhale for five, exhale for five.

hundreds version

4– Concentration

One of the sad facts about exercise is that most people try not to be there for it. They work their bodies but send their minds elsewhere. Pilates is one of this technique that makes you help concentrate and by it: be totally at what you do. Stay present

If you rehearse mentally checking out during physical activity, you may well fall into that pattern during sex. Distraction is an enemy to sexual satisfaction.

So working on your focus is imperative. Joseph Pilates intention was to integrate the body and mind toward an elevation of the spirit and full enjoyment of the pleasures of life.

WHAT TO DO? Begin at the beginning. Work on the first 5 moves of Pilates mat work (The hundreds, leg circles, rolling like a ball, one leg stretch, double leg stretch) with maximum concentration.

Do not let your mind wander outside your body. Note your sensations, challenges and breathing.

The next time you’re feeling frisky, bring your new found focus with you in bed and add this perk to your lover panoply.

This may be the most challenging for some but has the most impact.

 5- Improve variety, better balance

Pilates moves happen on your back, on your stomach, in sitting, kneeling and standing. Many moves challenge your stability and balance. Sex play can be a bit scary for some as we often get into habits routines that involve repeating the same position. As we get older, trying new things is harder mentally and physically.

Improving your balance can help inspire everyone to test drive a new method and simultaneously keep us safe.

WHAT TO DO ? Incorporate some balance Pilates moves into your routine. Most can be done anywhere and anytime. Try teaser.

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Pilates is all about balancing your body. A balance of strength, mobility and even your body chemistry.

Be aware whatever exercise you choose that adopting a Pilates sensibility to right-size your workout is the very best strategy for a happy healthy body both inside and outside of the bedroom.

Now: what are you waiting for?

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Back pain doesn’t have to be chronic

Back pain doesn’t have to be chronic

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Back pain became the curse of the century

Nowadays: Everybody has back pain from teenager to the oldest. Having back pain is normal and we get operated from our sciatic like we would remove a cavity: it’s “normal” procedure.

Slipped disks, compression, sciatica:  everyone has it’s own and try to find the remedy with neighbors, colleagues, and friends. To feel better, we take painkillers, multiple visits at the physician and if necessary let’s get the surgery!

Today I’m telling you to endure repetitive back pain is not “normal”, remedies exist and the causes have to be determined.

  1. The reasons 

We tend to point out wrong factors, either we have trapezius, middle back or lumbar pain, we accuse mattress, pillow.

From changing your entire bed to taking pain killers, it ends up pricey, useless and sometimes dangerous for your health. Indeed from soft canape, to comfy chairs: this fake comfort just make the situation get worse and hide the true causes of your pain.

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We forget the most common and obvious factor: daily life posture.

The more we look for “easy” comfy stuff like lying down in a soft canape or chair, the less we develop right strength and back efficient posture. The vicious circle has started, your muscles support decrease and your vertebrae disks get compressed, while looking for “relax” you in fact make impossible the development of an adapted back & girdle muscles support.

We spend a lot of time either stand up or sitting down:  both of these positions are really tricky for the back and challenging in modern daily life ‘fake’ comfort; If you don’t adopt the right alignment and an adapted girdle: The curse has begun!

Go to chiropractor and osteopath and get mechanical manipulations does help but if we repeat the same actions  we just keep on treating consequences not causes. Only a safe, well repeated exercises and better posture habits will get rid of pain definitively!

  • The positions at risk:

Standing : Standing is a very difficult position because we all tend to compensate due to different angles of the joints in this posture. The challenge is against gravity and the standing require some girdle.

Sitting: The worst and most dangerous position for the back.

And that fact itself should explain why more and more people suffer back pain.

Our modern lifestyle make us  more and more sedentary and stationary instead of being active. Our body don’t build the right strength and core muscles anymore and we often sit in offices FOR HOURS.

2. Solutions:

  1. Yawn and stretch

Have you ever pay attention at a cat? Well, you should!

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Animals and cats particularly spend their time yawning and stretching while going from one position to another one. Indeed, they activate and alternate the hyperextension & flexion, then yawn. Yawning will have a good impact on diaphragm with a bigger engagement, and powerful but soft action on your back.

  1. The right posture

It is important to adopt the right posture in every position and every situation; it can be easier to say than do, but becomes it is a game changer and it becomes quite natural when you start understanding body’s mechanic.

  • Asymmetry: since childhood, we step with one feet more than the other one, we carry heavy stuff same side, we run, climb stairs and others always the same way. Balance with appropriate gesture, reinforcement and stretches will help this natural compensation and get an appropriate musculature from the other side.
  • Aging: Naturally with time and life we tend to arch and back bent. Fatigue makes fight against gravity less active and efficient, without a right posture alignment and good back & abs muscles construction, we might have difficulty to keep the “nice and tall” required spine.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: like said before: Where we used to do a lot of physical jobs and expose body to difficult tasks, we now tend to me more sedentary spending hours in sitting position. For example= Most of my students are businessmen and women, they travel a lot, and carry on heavy luggages, spend hours sitting down in a plane, in a car, in front of a computer. That without appropriate and frequent stretches create serious tensions.

4 tips and easy stretches to relieve back pain

  • Abdominal breathing

It might be the best way and yet underestimated way to treat, prevent and git rid of chronic back pain. Adopt the right breathing and train to understand abdominal ‘correct’ breathe.

  • Correct sitting

At work, home, restaurants, else, practice self extension of the spine “taller” process while sitting.

Put your back straight and let your trunk point in two opposite directions: tailbone and lower back bone push to the floor whereas head and neck push to the ceiling.

sitting

Don’t:

-push against the backrest of your chair (that are always too much to the back)

-cross your legs (always the same way) that get asymmetry in your pelvis.

-put a pillow under your butt that will exaggerate the arching.

Do:

-Put a books or anything under your feet to keep your angle 90°C hips-knees

-put a pillow (small) under your back to sit straight.

  • right stretches

stretch ballon

Don’t:

Arch Back

Break the neck

Put body weight on the upper part of the back / shoulders

 Do:

Push in opposite direction while breathing out

Engage abdominal belt, keep the organs and visceras up and toward the spine

Keep body weight to the back (buttock to heels)

  •  Standing

stretch standing

Nice and tall against a wall : feet parallel in front of the wall, wide of your hips. Stand up, push against gravity push top of your head to “the sky” while pressing lower back region against the wall. Engage pelvic floor to feel the lower abs contraction and lower back extension; It’s a big relief if made correctly.

  • Standing back extension

stretches

Don’t:

Fall down into your shoulders

Break the neck

Let the back curve

Do:

Flat back

Keep one-line angle from backbone to top of your head 90°C to the legs.

Press and push in opposite directions while breathing out, micro bend the knees if needed = meaning if you feel too much stretch in your hamstrings.

Because back muscles reinforcement take time, stay patient, practice your exercises regularly, take a qualified coach to help you, choose activity like Pilates that are non violent for the joints- with One-on-one sessions.

PILATES FOR PREGNANCY — Jeydancepilates

Dear Followers, As it seems to be a « loving season » in Shanghai I resulted to have many of my students who get pregnant – That just gave me the idea to talk to you a little bit about Pilates and Pregnancy – I will make it very simple and answer the more […]

via PILATES FOR PREGNANCY — Jeydancepilates

PILATES FOR PREGNANCY

Dear Followers,

As it seems to be a « loving season » in Shanghai I resulted to have many of my students who get pregnant –
That just gave me the idea to talk to you a little bit about Pilates and    Pregnancy –

I will make it very simple and answer the more frequently asked questions-

  • “Iam pregnant, Can i practice Pilates ? » 

Yes. Pilates method is very well adapted to pregnancy -Pilates technique is based on what we call the « power house » meaning all the core muscles = abdominals, pelvic floor, back muscles- these ones are the foundation of our body : core muscles maintain and support the rest of our muscles, skeleton and organs. Pilates will also helps with stiffness and help develop awareness of your body and flexibility of your main muscles- That’s why that’s great benefit either you are pregnant or not

  •  »Why is it especially good for pregnant women?”

As we said Pilates will help as well pregnant women as well non pregnant people, but the specificity when you are pregnant is : 

Baby inside the body is moving the heart of gravity from center to the front- so pregnant women will feel more easily back pain, especially into the  lower back – As pregnancy goes on, weight is becoming heavier for the mother, and strengthen tummy muscles, will help your body better to cope with the strains caused by the weight of the growing baby. Hormones make the tissues -ligaments- that connect your bones more pliable in pregnancy, making you more prone to injury. 

Strenghen pelvic floor- studies have shown that practice Pilates regurgaly before, during and after a pregnancy is as effective as pelvic floor exercises. And from my experience i now work and exchange with a nurse in Shanghai, and she strongly recommend Pilates for pregnancies – she even told me that there is a huge difference in pelvic floor rehabilitation between women practicing or non practicing Pilates. 

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