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Walk This May

Posted on 30th April 2019 by

May is National Walking Month. A month to promote and celebrate the joys, benefits and health effects of walking! Who’d have ever thought we needed to raise awareness of such a simple activity?! Yet, with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles and the impact of this on our nation’s health, the simple task of walking needs some extra support!

So, what’s the big deal with walking?

Not only is walking as a mode of transport great for our environment, walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 20-30 minutes walking a day can improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training.

Did you know, physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. A 2007 study of inactive women found that even a low level of exercise – around 75 minutes per week – improved fitness levels significantly, when compared to a non-exercising group.

What are the health benefits of walking?

Walking is a weight bearing exercise, as you are carrying your own body weight when you walk. There are lot’s of health benefits associated with walking more. Some of the benefits of walking include:

  • increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
  • reduced risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases
  • helps manage and improve conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol
  • helps with joint and muscular pain or stiffness and long standing conditions such as osteoarthritis or osteoporosis
  • stronger bones and improved balance
  • increased muscle strength and endurance
  • reduced body fat
  • improved psychological and mental health
  • stress relief

How much walking?

As a recommended guideline, to get the health benefits, you should try to walk for at least 20 – 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week. ‘Brisk’ means that you can still talk but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly.

The 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done all at one time, it can be broken up into smaller chunks, like 3 x 10 minute walks if this fits better with your lifestyle or you can’t manage 30 minutes in 1 go.

Building walking into your daily life is the most effective way to maintain activity levels. Take a look at the ‘Try 20’ Challenge below. There’s lot’s of ways and simple ideas for you to get 20 minutes of walking into your day.

Make walking part of your daily life

If you can build waling into your daily life, you are more likely to maintain it longer term. Some suggestions to build walking into your daily routine include:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift (for at least part of the way).
  • Get off public transport one stop earlier and walk to work or home.
  • Walk (don’t drive) to the local shops.
  • Walk the dog (or your neighbour’s dog or look at sites like ‘Borrow My Doggy‘). Getting a dog can be a great way of encouraging you to exercise regularly if you can take on the commitment.
  • Meet friends for a social walk instead of going for a coffee.
  • Make walking part of your routine, maybe the same time every day scheduled into your diary.

Progress and challenge yourself

Over time, our bodies will tend to get used to physical activity. So if you’re starting to walk more and more, try to increase the intensity of your walking as your fitness levels improve. You can increase the intensity of your walks by:

  • walking up hills
  • walking with hand weights
  • increasing your walking speed gradually by including some quick walking
  • increasing the distance you walk quickly before returning to a moderate walking pace
  • walking for longer

Keep it interesting!

Like anything, if you enjoy doing it, you’ll be more likely to stick to it and make it part of your life. The same applies to walking. There are lot’s of ideas to keep your daily walk more interesting:

  • Pick different routes so you don’t get tired of seeing the same sights, explore places you’ve never ventured to before in your local area.
  • Find one or more friends or family members to walk with, walk instead of (or at least on the way to or before!) having a coffee.
  • Walk at different times of the day. Fresh morning walks will be a very different experience to a dusk walk.
  • Drive to different places to walk, park the car and enjoy the views and scenery while you walk.
  • Explore what’s going on around you, notice the sky, the people, the sounds. Be mindful.
  • Think about local walking groups that might offer additional support. Here’s some ideas.
#Try20

Special Discount for Places Leisure Members

Posted on 22nd April 2019 by

We are delighted to be working in partnership with Places Leisure to offer a special discount for members.

Our ethos is very aligned with that of Places Leisure, in that we both support local people in living healthy, active lifestyles. The facilities at the new Places Leisure and the range of activities on offer are amazing. There really is something for everyone!

However, unfortunately, pain and injury all too often get in the way of people either becoming or staying active. Someone may take up a new exercise and do too much, too soon, which ends in an injury. If this isn’t managed well, it can put them off exercise for a long time. Maybe they want to exercise but have a long term condition such as arthritis and they aren’t sure what they should do? Or maybe an enthusiastic sportsperson has suffered a sporting injury, which means they’ve been out of action for a few months?

This is where we come in. We help guide people dealing with the pain and frustration of an injury, by offering easy access to a range of professional services locally that help people enjoy a life free from pain or injury. 

Our services can help members:

  • Recover from injury 
  • Stay injury free 
  • Manage long term conditions positively with activity 
  • Stay active 
  • Return to exercise, sports or activity after an injury 
  • Give people the confidence to be active 

How do I get a discount if I’m a Places Leisure Member?

So, if you need our help, all you need to do is chat to a member of the Places Leisure team. They’ll complete a quick referral form that will summarise what help you need. Then, all you need to do is give us a call on 023 8025 3317 and say you’re a Places Leisure Member. We’ll find a convenient time for you to come along to see us. When you come for your appointment, just bring your referral form with you. The 10% discount will be applied to your session and any further sessions you need for that problem.


T&Cs

  • To qualify for the discount, you must inform goPhysio at the time of booking that you are a member of Places Leisure 
  • You must bring the completed, dated and signed referral form with you to the first appointment 
  • Referrals are valid for 4 weeks from the date they are signed. To qualify for the discount the first appointment has to be attended whilst the referral is valid. 
  • Active members of Places Leisure will receive a 10% discount off of the following services:
  • There is no discount off of Pilates, stock items or any other services. 
  • The discount can not be used in conjunction with any other discounts. 

Mixing Up Pilates With Equipment

Posted on 1st April 2019 by

Pilates is a great whole-body conditioning class, which can be done in many different ways. Our classes here at goPhysio are mainly mat based, however, we like to mix things up to ensure you get the most out of your classes and add different challenges and keep them varied.

One way in which we do this is to use small pieces of equipment. Using equipment has many benefits it can be used to assist you, and/or give you more of a challenge.

There is a lot of different pieces of small equipment that can be used in our Pilates classes. Here’s a few examples of some of my favourites!

Resistant Exercise Band

Exercise bands are a great to use, as we can use different strength bands depending on what we are trying to achieve. Clams can be made harder by tying the band above the knees to add resistance and to really get your gluteal muscle firing. Roll ups can be a challenging exercise however, we can use a strong band to assist you to achieve a full roll up. 


The ‘Magic Circle’

The Magic circle-this is a great piece of equipment, although some would say they are a bit like Marmite; personally, I love using them! They add great resistance, making you work that little bit harder and ensure that you really feel which muscles you are working. 


Gym Balls

Pilates ball is always a fun class with the added balance component to compete with, in some exercises. The pilates ball can allow you to do exercises in a seated position, whilst having to engage your muscles to keep you nice and stable on the ball. 

goPhysio Gym Ball Pilates

Weighted Balls

The weighted pilates ball adds increased resistance and challenge. The balls come in different weights so you can pick which weight you are happy with. The balls that we use weigh from: 0.5Kg-1.5kg 

Pilates balls goPhysio

So, if you would like a bit more of a challenge or are struggling with an exercise, ask your Pilates instructor about the different types of equipment that you could use in your class.

Written by Graduate Sports Therapist & Pilates Instructor, Francesca 


Top 3 Pilates Standing Exercises

Posted on 1st April 2019 by

This month, Physio and Pilates Instructor, Chris, has chosen his top 3 Pilates exercises you can do in standing.

Our mat based classes (as the name suggests!), involve a range of mat exercises in sitting, lying on your back or side. However, Pilates exercises done in standing are very important too. Doing these exercises will engage and work different sets of muscles.

#1 Arm Openings Level 1

  1. Start in a natural standing position.
  2. Lift your arms forwards to shoulder height, shoulder width apart, palms facing inwards.
  3. Level 1:
    • Inhale, rotate the thoracic spine, head and neck to the right, keeping the pelvis still. Let your right arm follow the movement of the spine while reaching forwards with your left arm.
    • Exhale, rotate your body back to the midline, allowing your arm to follow the movement to resume the starting position.
    • Repeat up to ten times alternating sides.

#2 Foot Series

  1.  Starting position in a natural standing position. Centre engaged.
  2. Inhale to prepare.
  3. Exhale, bend your hips and knees 45 degrees.
  4. Inhale, peel the heels off the floor, keeping the hips and knees bent.
  5. Exhale, straighten your hips and knees, keeping the heels lifted.
  6. Inhale, lower the heels to return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat up to ten times and then reverse the direction of movement.
  8. Watch points:
    • Keep your back in a neutral position, so don’t bend forwards or backwards from the spine.
    • Aim to rise and lower largely on the vertical plane only. No shifting of the center of gravity.
    • Try and keep your big toe on the floor.
    • Control the lowering phase slowly.
    • Avoid locking your knees.

#3 Side Leg Lift Level 1

  1. Starting position – Right lunge. Left leg extended to the side, with the tip of the big toe resting on the floor. Trunk hinged forwards from the hips at around 45 degrees. Hands on waist. Centre engaged.
  2. Inhale to prepare.
  3. Exhale, reach your left toes away and then lift your left leg horizontally up from the hip, keeping the pelvis stable. Hold.
  4. Inhale, reach and lower the leg to the floor.
  5. Repeat up to ten times and then repeat on the opposite side.

Read More 

We have lot’s of informative and educational Pilates articles over on our blog, which you can find here

If you’re interested in finding out more about joining our specialist Clinical Pilates classes at goPhysio in Chandlers Ford, take a look at the details of what we offer, our timetable of over 20 classes a week and more information about getting started with Pilates.