Changes Make a
by Therese Pittman
Everyone strives for good health, and many struggle to achieve it. The truth is that making simple lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on your health. Eat a smart diet, exercise regularly, and find ways to manage stress in your life. Here are some other suggestions to put you on the path to wellness.
Q: Based on your expertise, what are some suggestions for becoming healthier?
A: One small change at a time! A healthy eating lifestyle isn’t about deprivation or guilt. We should enjoy the foods we love in the healthiest way we can. Familiarize yourself with the best organic foods to incorporate into your diet. Replace refined sugars and artificial sweeteners with stevia and monk fruit or other low glycemic alternatives. Substantially reduce or eliminate soft drinks and fast foods. Drink a full glass of lukewarm lemon water first thing every morning and eat a breakfast that includes healthy fats like avocado, raw nuts and organic nut butter which will satiate you for hours.
Q: What common mistakes cause us to have less energy and lose motivation?
A: The one small change at a time applies here too. Don’t be hard on yourself or compare yourself to other people’s fitness levels. Our own negative thoughts get in the way of change, so just start moving. Even simple standing stretches and deep breathing energizes you. Practicing deep breathing as you walk naturally includes core muscles. To get a greater core workout, walk intentionally — swinging your arms and rotating your torso.
Q: What does it mean to come “in tune” with your body?
A: It is about being more aware of how we carry and support our body. A tucked-pelvis position (whether standing, sitting (like slouching!), or lying down) is what some people become accustomed to and what feels normal. They need to retrain and learn “neutral spine” — a small curve at low back. Natural curves are in the back for a reason. They serve as natural shock absorbers against compressive forces under the pull of gravity. Every muscle in our body has a job and if any are improperly working, then the load is placed somewhere else and in the spine it can travel to the lower back and hips.
Q: How do you help others with core balance and strength training, and why is this so important?
A: Posture assessment first to look for any imbalances, post surgeries, or injuries. This will ensure appropriate exercises to incorporate in their program. I have several Pilates large and small apparatus as well as balance pads and Power Plate acceleration equipment to help clients increase strength, balance, flexibility, and agility. Clients practice unique postural correction cues so the exercises can “live” in their bodies. The essence of the Pilates method is not copying the exercises but meant to correctly practice the mindful movement so you can use it in active daily living effortlessly, not kept in the studio.
Q: Why did you become certified in helping others heal from scoliosis, osteoporosis and breast cancer recovery?
A: I wanted to properly learn about the specialization needs, healing and recovery of clients as circumstances arise. There are a plethora of contraindicated exercises from mat work to small and large Pilates equipment for specialty populations — pregnancy, postnatal, breast cancer surgery, scoliosis and osteoporosis. Several of my clients (and myself) have scoliosis. Practicing proper alignment with strength gained through exercises will help provide pain relief for years to come.
1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men over age 50 have low bone density and are at risk for fractures. Bone responds differently to exercise at every age. I wanted to apply current research in teaching effective movements for bone health, which will increase strength and reduce the risk of falls and fractures
Q: How do health and vitality affect our spiritual life?
A: When you stand better, you breathe better, so you can move better, which makes you function and feel better mentally, emotionally and physically. A healthy diet and lifestyle create a state of well-being. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit! Hence with God’s grace, this vitality can bring physical and spiritual movement into worship.
Therese Pittman is the owner of the Pilates Center of Baton Rouge. As a fitness professional, she has a solid understanding of anatomy, biomechanics and postural issues. She works with clients from all walks of life and teaches them to be strong and flexible so they can perform daily functional tasks free from injury risk.