Outside of our comfort zone
Apparently this is a highly beneficial thing to do; for all of us.
How often do we do it though? Sometimes stepping outside of our comfort zone feels like pulling teeth and not anything we look forward to.
Though anytime that you have tried something new, how good did it feel?
This could not be more true than when speaking of health and wellbeing.
Mum and Daughter, in our new exciting partnership with Fitness First were encouraged this month to do exactly that. Following on from my recent precious bodies post I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to try something new, on the path to taking better care of my body…
Enter – Pilates Reformer.
You may have seen what looks to be a medieval torture device at your gym, a studio or on social media and although I had been visiting a Pilates studio for massage for over 10 years and seen them myself, had never given them a try.
For anyone unsure a brief overview…. the Pilates Reformer is an exercise machine used to incorporate the Pilates exercise technique for a challenging and intense workout. Springs, leverage and body weight are used as resistance while performing movements targeting specific muscle groups. Workouts consist of controlled, flowing movements working your muscles through a full range of motion. The reformer adds increased resistance to the movement and by overcoming this, training results in increased fitness levels.
Livia, my wonderful masseuse, knowing well my skeletal issues, and being a Level 4 Pilates instructor, was the perfect choice to guide me through my first session.
Her studio Sanus Active Body Therapies on Sydney’s North Shore and classes, use Pilates studio equipment, free hand weights and reformer machines to “challenge your physical status and stimulate your progress.”
So why Pilates Reformer?
Livia explained to me that this exercise provides the below:
- Teaches us how to move and exercise in correct alignment and to prevent injury
- Strengthens core, pelvic floor, global abdominal muscles and skeletal musculature
- Increases general strength
- Lengthens overworked musculature (yes please!)
- Develops body awareness and proprioception
- Rehabilitates injury (sign me up!!)
After an initial assessment of my strength, alignment and range of motion it was down to business.
Taken through a range of movements within the 60 minute class, I was really challenged and pushed within my own limits.
The most surprising aspect being how much my current natural posture (straight and tall though I stick my bum out!) was effecting everything that I do. From standing and walking through to the exercises that I perform each day. The excited realisation that my injuries can be rehabilitated and prevented in the future, from simple, focused adjustments and strength work.
Even in a seemingly leg-focused exercise, the dominance of muscles referred to as our “6-pack” in this movement, was astonishing and unhelpful to my cause.
Through correct alignment, posture and breathing I performed this same exercise (below images) with renewed strength and ability. Simple and focused change – a world of difference.
It was especially obvious in those abdominal muscles at the bottom of our stomachs, the area that for most of us has stubborn belly fat, how little I really activate them. How much of a difference it made when correctly using them!
By the way… Don’t let the smile fool you, this was tough!
So to re-cap on Pilates Reformer classes….
What can you expect to achieve from participating?
- Increased muscular endurance
- Increased core strength
- Increased posture
- Increased flexibility
- Improved breathing
- Reduced body fat
Not bad right?
As always, exercise is best when it is consistent and with minimal negatives. We all need to find activities that we love and enjoy, as opposed to our neighbour, however stepping outside our comfort zone to try out new things is the only way to get there.
Enjoy and comment below with how you stepped outside your comfort zone on the path to better health and wellbeing.