Moving Your Body Helps You Live Longer

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Does it? How does it?

We hear constantly from our media how our society is becoming more sedentary and overweight and the health problems this is causing. Programmes present to us methods of testing how young or old our bodies really are dependent on a variety of physical and mental tests, and often the results are not what we want to see.

So what is the answer …. can movement really help us to stay younger, live longer and lead a healthier lifestyle?

Let’s look at some of the benefits of getting our bodies moving:

  • Reduces tension, stress and anxiety and enhances mental well-being
  • Tones and strengthens muscles
  • Improves muscular endurance and flexibility
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Increases bone strength and prevents osteoporosis
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness and helps reduce the risk of coronary disease and strokes
  • Improves sleep patterns
  • Eases pain and stiffness of arthritis
  • Boosts levels of HDL (healthy cholesterol) in the blood and reduces high blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Improves energy levels and self-esteem
  • Relieves and reduces the risk of back pain.

We spend such a large amount of time sitting, whether it be in our cars, at our desks, and with our computers … we don’t even have to leave home to do our weekly shop, and this definitely plays a part in posture-related aches and pains. It is the repetitive nature of these positions which creates the problem. The saying of if you don’t use it — you lose it is so very true when we look at what happens to our muscles and bones when we don’t move our bodies regularly.

We need movement to work on our posture, to keep us upright, so we need to tone and strengthen the muscles that support us in this position. Think about how as toddlers we start to use our support muscles to pull us up onto our feet and to keep us balanced and able to move. Then we head to school at the age of 4/5 and start to sit down more and more and this continues through life. We need to keep using those supportive muscles, keep us upright and keep our youthful posture. Plus movement will build stamina and improve endurance and flexibility: the more we do the more we will be able to do, plus we will be able to do it for longer.

Think about how long we can spend in the garden, and has this time reduced over the years, because we fatigue or we start to get aches and pains?

Then the answer is to move our bodies, build the stamina in those muscles so that you can stick with the gardening for longer than 20 minutes, like we have always been able to do.
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Bone tissue is continuously broken down and replaced throughout life, with 10 per cent of our bone mass being replaced annually. As with all living tissue, bone needs an efficient blood supply to bring all the important building materials and hormones to it. Movement and gravity will always lead to increased calcium salts and stress being placed on the bones and this will in turn lead to an increase in bone density and strength. If there is insufficient calcium available in the body on a daily basis, then the body will steal it from the bones and when this happens it reduces the ability of the bones to withstand normal daily stresses and strains placed on it. This depletion of calcium can be one of the factors in osteoporosis, causing a brittleness that can lead to fractures. This is why if we keep our body moving we can work on increasing bone density and preventing the symptoms of osteoporosis creeping in. Bone is very active tissue which responds to forces placed through it and grows and regenerates if damaged. By placing stress on the bones through movement, protein is released to the bone surface, protein becomes mineralised, and new bone formation occurs, thereby increasing the surface area. With a larger area to absorb any force applied, there instantly becomes a reduction in the risk of any fracture or damage.

Movement is a main player in preventing ill health, not just related to the physiological benefits to bones and muscles. We know that by exercising we can keep our bones and muscles strong, but what about the mind-body connection? By being inactive we become more tired and sluggish, both physically and mentally, the less we do the less we want to do! Also being inactive can affect our sleep, and although we all need different amounts, having enough sleep can affect our mood, and our ability to cope and respond to life and everything it can throw at us.

Exercise and movement has been shown to have a positive effect on relieving stress and improving our self-worth.

“I would like to thank Jane for her EXCEPTIONAL teaching! Your classes have truly changed my life for the better, Looking after and improving my mental health continues (and will always be) important to me.“

Stress can make such a difference to our mental and physical well being, it can lead to high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, and these conditions then have an effect on our physical being, such as leading to stomach cramps, asthma, headaches, all of which affect our ability to live the life we want to live. Getting the body moving can reduce the feeling of stress as it releases endorphins often referred to as ’happy hormones’ which make us feel good. Either getting your body moving with a group of friends or on your own, it can make life feel good.

Moving the body will lift your spirit, expand creativity, it can help with sleep, clear the mind, as well as increasing fitness levels and keep the body strong and mobile. The amount of movement and how active you wish to be, is different for everyone, but what is the same is the increased vitality, looking at life differently and seeing all its potential and possibilities. It can make us visualise our dreams and enrich our experiences. As a Pilates teacher I have been fortunate to see and share experiences with many women and men who started getting their bodies moving with me and although they started because of a single problem eg, lower back pain, they continue to progress and their aims aren’t only about being pain free, but they are now doing more with their lives, as they have made friends, gained confidence and have greater self-esteem.

“I’m 72 Jane and still able to race my grandchildren around the garden and beat them … I want to continue to do this for as long as I possibly can, and its all down to you.”

As Joseph Pilates originally called his system of exercises Contrology, he believed that getting your body moving and using his exercises regularly and consistently, would enable a “return to life”.

I am grateful that in my role as a Pilates Coach, I have enabled people to blossom and continue to live the life they want to live.

Jane Thomas Pilates

First Class Pilates with Jane Thomas

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Meet & Greet
Know your class participants’ names and make it your aim at every class to find something out about their lives
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First Class Pilates — Pilates Done Right!
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First Class Pilates — 9 Great Central Road — Loughborough — LE11 1RW