The Importance of Movement
We speak to Eden Pollock of LIFTED Pilates about the importance of movement at every age. With an intense passion for movement, Eden began practising Pilates when she was 18 and then went on to become certified in STOTT Pilates (mat and reformer), BASI Pilates, Booty Barre, TRX and Level 3 Fitness. She opened her own studio – LIFTED Pilates – in 2018 and has two studios in New Zealand – Hamilton and Raglan. LIFTED Pilates offers a modern approach to Pilates, Barre, Yoga and TRX to help the body and mind feel energised, balanced and rewarded. Movement should be a part of a daily routine, just like taking BOTANISTRY Blends every day, and Eden shares some helpful tips.
Why do you recommend practising different forms of exercises rather than the same gym workout?
There are a few reasons. For me personally, I need variety in my life. Practising the same form of exercise every day can be boring, and I start to lose focus and motivation. So firstly, in order to keep both mind and body guessing and conditioned, mixing up training styles will help.
It’s also important to note that there are different styles of exercise for different reasons. Each style provides a different result. Depending on your health goals, choose a couple of exercise methods that will give you those results. For example, Pilates for mind to body enhancement, flexibility and muscle tone and to learn safe movement practices. This can be layered with something like high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes, where you can take your knowledge of safe movement up to the next (sweaty) level, and even use HIIT as a weight loss programme if that is your health goal.
How regularly should you exercise, especially in the case of senior citizens?
Like most things in optimal health and wellness, consistency is key. I encourage a mixture of exercises to complement and support a regular Pilates and/or mobility practice. For most people, three targeted sessions per week seems to be the golden number. This is where I see my clients thrive as they are giving their body enough exercise along with enough recovery and rest time in between, which is so important and often overlooked. On days where you don’t go to your studio or gym, activities like walking, running or participating in social sports can serve as a great addition to your training.
For seniors, the importance of movement is even more pronounced. It is essential to commit to regular movement, as it can help reverse the effects of ageing, so long as you are choosing the correct method that focuses on low impact movement, such as a Pilates practice. Balance, strength, flexibility, focus, and your breath are all areas you may notice have changed with age. Pilates at its core works on improving all of those aspects. It can be a case-by-case scenario, but as a general rule of thumb, 2-3 times per week paired with some light cardio, such as walking, is a great routine for seniors.
Why is stability and strength training important, especially as we grow older?
As we age, our neural pathways age too, which can be the underlying cause for many chronic conditions and injuries. Exercising regularly gives numerous health benefits, but more importantly for the golden years, can help to reconnect and maintain these strong neural pathway lines. Stability and strength training improves bone density and overall body mobility, which allows you to move freely and continue doing the things you love for longer and pain free.
How can breathing techniques better support your fitness goals?
Where do I begin! Breath, being the first thing humans do when they enter the world, is literally the lifeline that we all depend on. So why wouldn’t you want to breathe better? Practising breathing techniques has a plethora of benefits, the most simple being, better circulation throughout your body, calming down and being in charge of your nervous system (not at its mercy), and enhancing your mind to muscle connection.
In Pilates, we use a specific breathing technique that allows us to connect with our deep core muscles. We cue each movement on the breath and encourage your breathing pattern to be the initiation of each movement. This technique gives us better control over our body and keeps us focused and ‘in’ our practice for longer. The rest of the world drifts away so that you can apply yourself to you for the session.
What are some of the poor movement behaviours we should watch out for?
I aim to teach my clients, and practise myself, to watch out for forced and jarring movement in our everyday activities. Instead, take the time to set yourself up and think about the movement you’re about to perform. What strength do I need? Which muscles do I need to switch on to make this an injury-free movement? Breathe through it and try to make a smooth and seamless lift, push, pull or whatever it is you’re about to do.
Another important area, especially when working from home, is to correct yourself when sitting at the computer or when you’re on the phone. Think of your core, shoulders and neck position and adjust your set up as needed.
One example – When reversing in your car, whipping your neck around is something you can try to avoid. Instead, think about moving from your ribcage, and turning the entire trunk to see out the back window, or better yet – use your mirrors 😉
What tips can you share to help prevent injuries during workouts?
If you’re participating in online workouts, be sure to choose something that suits you. It’s OK to start a new fitness routine or style, just keep in mind that you don’t need to be the best when you start, and remember to listen to your body so that you don’t overdo it and end up in bed for the rest of the week. For example, if you’re a yogi, and you decide to get into a vigorous HIIT routine, know that your body isn’t yet conditioned to keep up with the HIIT trainer and that you may need to make some modifications of your own during the class.
Don’t forget to stretch and breathe. The entire planet is under a lot of stress at the moment and it plays a big role in the way that we’re feeling inside. We need to value the importance of movement. We need to make the time for movement, even in a small way. And remember to always be kind to your body too.
Eden enjoys BOOSTING AMBERS from the BOTANISTRY range of plant-based supplements.
Photo credit: LIFTED Pilates