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TIRED OF BEING TIRED?

fitness

PILATES POWER!

Why this century-old method of exercise has proven itself in today’s modern world, providing endless health benefits for women. BY DORIS WARD

Do you suffer from any of the following?

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Fatigue and lack of appetite Pale skin & dark circles under eyes Difficulty concentrating Chills or catch colds easily Brittle hair or fingernails that chip easily

You may be iron deficient The more questions you answered “yes” to, the higher your risk of being iron deficient.

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The shoulder bridge is an excellent exercise for the posterior chain (back of the body). It emphasizes the lower back, gluteals, hamstrings, pelvic stabilization and overall core strength and balance. Improved posture and reduced knee and back pain are just a few of the benefits you can enjoy from adding this exercise to your routine.

In recent years, Pilates has become mainstream in the fitness industry. It is a gentle form of exercise. Incorporating it into your workout regime can benefit you in many ways. Pilates is a method of exercise that focuses on strengthening the core, proper alignment, precise breathing, mind-body connection and joint mobility. Exercises can be performed on a mat or on a machine called a reformer. The mat series of Pilates exercises is organized into levels of beginner, intermediate and advanced—also known as levels 1–6 in some contemporary Pilates studios.

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ilates is named after its creator Joseph Pilates, a carpenter and gymnast who developed the exercises and repertoire in Germany in the 1920’s. His inspiration for designing this system came from rehabilitating injured soldiers and dancers. He believed physical and mental health were interrelated, which is reflected in the five principles we now practice today.

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Some Pilates classes offer mat classes with props and small equipment such as flex-bands, stability balls, fitness circles or toning balls all in an effort to increase intensity and add variety for the participants. “There is an endless variety of Pilates exercises when you add different pieces of equipment,” says Stephanie Knickle, owner and instructor at imotionFitness studio in Charlottetown, PEI. “Whether it’s the added resistance of toning balls or the increased balance LOVE YOUR LOOK

challenge of a BOSU ball, you can never get bored. Each piece adds more coordination and endurance challenges and will improve overall strength, mobility and functionality.” There are five principles of Pilates: breathing, pelvic placement, rib cage

placement, scapula movement and stabilization and head and neck placement. The principles are the focus of all the exercises. Together, they increase body awareness and technique and work together to create safe and effective exercises in a mindful way. Understanding and applying the principles of OPTIMYZ.COM 47

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