Straight up, people: Pilates power
Start your working week with Pilates to improve your posture and performance. Kerrie-Anne Bradley is a former economist (and “professional sloucher”) who pivoted to teach Pilates and offers post-injury recovery sessions. Let's get straight to it.
Why is Pilates a smart move?
Pilates is a series of exercises which aims to bring the body into balance front and back, top and bottom, and left and right. The exercises are to strengthen the muscles, improve flexibility and work on mobility at the joints. All of the movements start at your core. Pilates looks to work the body as a whole by focusing on particular muscles and body parts to bring the system into balance.
Tell us about your skill set
I knew lots about why people move the way they do – it was kind of intuitive
I was working as an economist and was practically chained to my desk. As a result I had a whole list of aches and pains (sciatica, dodgy knee, constant shoulder and neck pain etc). I started Pilates as a post-natal exercise and then committed to it. I was looking to get out of the world of economics, so quit my job and retrained in Pilates. When I started teaching case studies I realised I'd been looking at bodies my whole life and I knew lots about why people move the way they do. It was kind of an intuitive practice for me. I put it down to my watching people walk by at lunchtimes when I'd eat my lunch on a bench.
I trained with Fletcher Pilates, the school named after Ron Fletcher who trained with founder Joseph Pilates. This course is super intense, thorough and lasts just under a year. I went on to a mentorship, advanced Fletcher Pilates courses and various other workshops and trainings.
What are Pilates' plus points?
Improved strength, posture, mobility, flexibility and breathing… The deep breathing is a tool for calming the nervous system. Being focused on the movements takes your mind away from the business of the day.
Tell us about Pilates At Your Desk
Pilates At Your Desk is varied movement throughout the day to benefit the body. I started it as workshops for businesses - a toolkit of exercises you can do without leaving the desk. Now I also share standing and seated exercises that people can do anywhere, and I teach one-to-one and group classes. I have a lot of experience of working with people with injury so I also share movement videos to help that. All over on my instagram feed @pilatesatyourdesk.
Smart moves: Five-a-day to make WFH feel better
1Start your day with some deep breathing
As soon as you open your eyes make big breaths the first thing you do. This gets more oxygen around your body and calms your nervous system. I do 10 but, if that seems crazy, even one big breath is a good place to start.
2Do some movement before you start your working day
Again, keep this brief if it's all you can manage or fit in to your time. Perhaps you could link it to something you already do? Try squats while you brush your teeth or a stretch, using the kitchen counter, while the kettle boils.
3Sit well when you switch on your computer
With both of your feet flat on the floor, and make sure you're sitting up on your sit bones. Check your ribs are over your hips, with shoulders wide and down, and your neck is in line with your spine - even if it's just for the first five minutes. You could make your screensaver a reminder to sit well, too.
4Schedule in movement breaks
You can put these in your calendar with an alarm at the beginning of the work day (while sitting on your sit bones). When the buzzer goes off make sure you move. If you are someone who will press 'stop' and not move, think about putting the reminder on your phone and placing it away from your computer. Then you have to get up to stop the alarm. By the way, this doesn't have to be legs-over-head movement - even a full body shake is great.
The end of your working day by being a star and then a ball, or have another celebratory shake.
Pilates At Your Desk is at https://www.pilateswithka.com.More info
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