Spring is just around the corner! Yes I know it's been very cold and sometimes very wet too, but the snowdrops are out, other bulbs pushing their shoots up and the days slowly lengthening. People fired with New Year enthusiasm for exercise and body improvement, are turning up at gyms, signing up for exercise classes or out there running.
All this enthusiasm affects my business in two ways, I get more enquiries for Pilates classes and more people wanting me to help sort out their aches and pains and injury problems. Because my treatment methods have helped so many people recover from their injury problems and they have told their friends, family and other contacts, I have so far not found any falling off of business, despite the "credit crunch".When people are in pain or need to be enabled to train or compete then they will still go for treatment where they are confident that they will get a good result.It is great that so many people have such confidence in me; however it also distresses me when I find that I cannot help someone in the way that we had hoped.In those circumstances I try to refer them to someone with different skills, either to take over completely or to work in tandem with, so that we can all contribute towards a better solution.
Many people are currently increasing the miles they run as they prepare for the London Marathon or other challenges this Spring or Summer.This is liable to put added strain on their muscles and joints; however this may not become apparent until much closer to the event.This is because the effects of increased training are cumulative (the bad as well as the good) and the sudden pain, that may worryingly pull one up during or after a run in the last few weeks of preparation, is not the result of overdoing a particular run, but has been building for months.
Regular massage treatment from an experience and qualified practitioner will usually identify tightnesses before they become a problem.Treatment can start there and then.This might include advice on stretching, exercises to improve muscle balance or changes to training schedules.Another benefit of regular massage is that it speeds up the removal of waste products in the muscles and the healing of damage sustained through training on competition, thus enabling the body to be ready sooner for more training.
If you are going to increase your training levels then you also need to pay more attention to warm ups, warm downs, stretching, massage treatment, body alignment and movement.I shall cover the last two points in the next newsletter.
Warm ups are essential for both injury prevention and for good performance. My best 5 K times, in the days when I used to race, was achieved after warming up over 5K. So get there early! During a training run it is fine to warm up over the first five minutes or so and then to build up the pace. One thing to remember is that the last part of a warm up needs to be sport or activity specific; in other words, if you are going to work hard on the rowing machine in the Gym and you have warmed up on bike and treadmill, you still need to warm up your "rowing muscles" before giving it your all. So start gently. Now for the usual question; .. Do I need to stretch before exercise? My answer is no, not if you have warmed up and not if you have no particular tight areas or a recovering injury (exercising with an injury is another subject for another Newsletter).
After exercise you should warm down straight away. This is best done by reducing the level of effort in steps until you are breathing almost normally and your heart rate has dropped considerably. What you are trying to achieve in a warm down is to keep the muscles moving to keep circulation going whilst reducing the work the muscles are doing. This, crudely, should flush out and replenish the cells, without adding to the damage of hard exercise. You should then stretch; the muscles will be warm and ready to be stretched to their range of motion limits (note: you should NOT push any stretch until you feel pain). Stretching now will help to realign muscle fibres, helping them to heal long, not all snarled up.
If you feel stiff and sore over the next few days after hard exercise, then you have either overdone it or not warmed down and stretched enough, or both.
The Pilates classes at Shana Riding stables were fun for a while, but I am sad to say, have had to close. This is because the room was used for many things at a busy riding stables and the management and staff found it increasingly difficult to prepare the room for Pilates each week, and so decided to terminate the experiment. I would like to thank Lisa Burridge for all her hard work and enthusiasm in setting it up in the first place.
I was unable to attend The Pilates on the Ball workshops last summer, but hope to expand my knowledge in that direction later in the year. I have signed up, in February, for a workshop on the use of the band (stretchy, not musical!) in matwork classes so watch out for some new exercises in the classes!!
Classes currently running are:
- DownleyTuesday 10.30 am £9/class (mixed ability)
- SarvaWednesday 6.15 and 7.30 pm £10/class
- Marlow Saturday 08.15 and 09.30 am £10/class
The Wednesday 7.30 pm and Saturday 9.30 am classes are mainly for beginners.
The numbers attending my classes are in a state of flux at the moment, with several enquiries, some assessments arranged and some clients that want to start soon , but not quite yet ! There are also, sadly a few, who have had to stop coming for the time being, due to the effects of the current economic situation. We hope that things improve for them very soon.
The result of all this is that I can say that there is room in all my classes at the moment, only just in some, but that could change at any time. So if you are thinking of joining one of my classes, ACT NOW!!
At the end of March (March 22nd) the Marlow Striders running club are holding their second duathlon (run, cycle, run) and I shall be there helping the competitors with their post race recovery. The first one was a great success, with many competitors saying how good an event it was.If you are there I look forward to meeting you.
Entries may still be available on the Marlow Striders Website www.marlowstriders.co.uk ; see links page.
All the best