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7 health benefits of doing Pilates

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Presse Santé

When you hear about Pilates, you may think of long, lean, toned muscles. Research suggests that Pilates has other benefits as well.

You may know Pilates as an exercise program that develops long, lean muscles and an especially strong core. The program uses 50 different exercises to increase muscle strength and endurance, as well as improve balance, flexibility and posture, according to previous research. Pilates has a positive effect on the health of most of the voluntary muscles (skeletal muscles that you control) in the body, primarily the larger muscles. It helps stretch and strengthen the muscles of the forearm, arm, neck and back, hips, thighs and legs.

But it can also offer other lesser-known benefits that you might not notice when you look in the mirror. Here are seven health benefits associated with Pilates.

Improved balance, strength and flexibility in the elderly 2.

With its emphasis on core work, Pilates exercises can help improve body balance. But that’s not all: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials showed that Pilates improved dynamic balance, lower extremity strength, hip and low back flexibility, and cardiac endurance in adults over age 60. Pilates training does not need to be sophisticated either. Another systematic review and meta-analysis noted that Pilates is safe and affordable, as the only equipment needed is a mat.

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Reduced risk of falls 2.

Improving physical function can also help protect against falls, which are a common cause of emergency room visits among seniors each year. Pilates works the muscles of the arms, legs and trunk, which includes the neck and lower and upper back. It gives our body agility and strength, which helps us in our daily activities as well as in our recreational activities. With improved balance, strength, flexibility and functionality, older people can significantly reduce their risk of falls, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ultimately, this can help seniors live independently for longer. And while other exercises may have the same effects, some research suggests that Pilates has an advantage in this regard. One randomized controlled trial found that while any physical activity can improve balance and strength, which can reduce the risk of falls, Pilates has a greater effect than a general fitness program.

3. Reduced risk of injury

Pilates helps strengthen core muscles and stabilize the body, which can reduce the risk of injury. This includes potentially reducing the risk of overuse injuries in athletes and active adults and children. A study published in August 2017 in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that when recreational runners underwent a six-week Pilates program, they saw an improvement in functional movements (measured by a deep squat, hurdle step and lunge), which helps reduce the risk of running-related injuries, researchers said. In another small study, published in February 2020 in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, eight adolescents completed an eight-week Pilates program. Participants increased their muscle mass and strength in their core and shoulders. The researchers concluded that this will not only improve performance, but could likely help prevent future injuries.

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4. Less lower back pain

One of the most important benefits to preventing back pain is taking care of the core. This is where Pilates comes in: building a strong, stable core is at the heart of Pilates practice. A systematic review found that Pilates practice for 6 to 12 weeks reduced short-term pain in patients with chronic back pain. The researchers recommended two to three one-hour Pilates sessions per week for maximum benefit.

5. Combat stress and improve mood.

For most people, low-intensity exercises like Pilates help reduce stress. And research confirms this: in a study of 63 overweight and obese participants, hour-long Pilates sessions three times a week for eight weeks had a positive impact on anxiety, depression and quality of life. This may be due in part to the fact that Pilates forces you to focus on your body, rather than what’s on your mind. According to one study (PDF), Pilates is a mind-body exercise that requires focusing on breathing, posture and movement control.

6. A more efficient brain

Pilates has also been shown to have a positive effect on mental acuity. A study of 110 Spanish women over the age of 60 found that a three-month Pilates program improved verbal fluency and executive function, according to a test that included timed motor and visual tasks. The researchers also noted physical improvements, such as improved lower body strength and functional flexibility. But it should be noted that they found no improvement in other measures of cognitive function (including language, attention and calculation, recall, orientation and registration) among the study participants. The study researchers noted that their research focused on short-term results and that future research should investigate the effect of long-term Pilates practice on the brain.

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7. Better symptom management for Parkinson’s disease sufferers.

Parkinson’s disease can cause motor difficulties, but Pilates can help. A study and meta-analysis found that Pilates helped Parkinson’s patients improve their fitness, balance, and functional independence, with specific benefits for the lower body. The researchers concluded that Pilates can be prescribed to treat people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease.

How long does it take to see benefits?

The answer to this question depends on the individual, their starting point and goals. For example, the systematic review on low back pain mentioned above observed positive changes after 20 cumulative hours of Pilates. This equates to 10 weeks of two one-hour sessions per week. In general, benefits can be expected after six to eight weeks of twice-weekly Pilates practice. If you want to do Pilates more frequently, don’t hesitate. You’ll only risk overdoing it if your form is compromised. According to Milton, as long as you use good technique and activate the right muscles, you shouldn’t injure yourself.

* Healthkey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. The information provided does NOT replace in any case the advice of a health professional.

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Well Being

2 minutes is enough to increase your longevity

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Presse Santé

Don’t have enough time to exercise during the week? Or are you unable to find the motivation to do it? A new study shows that 15 minutes of vigorous exercise per week or just two minutes of vigorous exercise per day is enough. This is good news for those who do not have free time for physical activity.

Reduced risk of premature death.

This study appeared in the European Heart Journal. It shows that fifteen minutes per week or two minutes of intensive exercise per day reduces the risk of premature death by 18%.

The new study comes to support the impact of physical activity on our life expectancy.

For the study, the researchers attached activity trackers to the wrists of 71,893 adults with an average age of 62.5 for nearly seven years. Five years later, the researchers identified those who died in the meantime. People who were not physically active had a 4% risk of death during this period. In contrast, people who practiced ten minutes of exercise a week saw this risk cut in half. In total, fifteen minutes of intense physical exercise a week has been shown to reduce the risk of death by 18%.

The more you move, the better!

Of course, the more exercise you do, the better. According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, a “healthy person” performs an average of 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical exercise per week. You can also opt for 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Research shows that these guidelines reduce the risk of premature death by 21%. Do you exercise more than the number of minutes listed above? In this case, the benefits in terms of useful life are even greater.

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The benefits of sport for your brain.

More mental resilience.

When exercise is done at high intensity, the body develops physically, but also mentally, as it “adapts” to new challenges and learns to handle more load and stress. On training days, overall mental performance is better than on rest days. Memory seems to improve, as well as coordination and reaction speed.

Better mood.

Through the production and exchange of dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins, adrenaline, etc. in the brain and in the body, the organism is rewarded with a feeling of well-being during and after exercise.

Stress management.

When your brain releases chemicals, your body “receives” stimuli to relieve pain, reduce stress and inflammation, body aches, insomnia, fatigue, and anxiety. In addition, thanks to better mental resistance, athletes can better manage stressful situations. Sport is a way to release “bad stress” and balance the body for the mental and physical challenges ahead.

improved health.

Sport strengthens the functions of the cardiovascular system, the respiratory tract and the nervous system. Sport is a key factor in “refining” your metabolism. All of this should lead to better overall health.

power charge.

In many medical and sports articles it is said that after a few minutes of sports an effect called “runner’s high” is achieved and that it is due to the chemicals that are produced “to manage” the effort. This “energy charge” includes chemicals for load resistance, stamina, pain relief, etc. The end result is a feeling of “energy” (as long as the training does not continue until exhausted by fatigue). In many articles it is mentioned that even 20 minutes of activity can already help you “get” a high energy charge.

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Reduction of depression and anxiety..

Do you know the principle of the snowball effect? Rolling down a mountain, a snowball continues to grow as it goes down. Sports have the same effect.

* HealthKey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.

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Well Being

The 9 Best Exercises for Healthy Feet

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Presse Santé

Many people experience foot or ankle pain at one time or another. Keeping your feet strong can help alleviate these pains and improve overall health and flexibility. Exercising and stretching your feet and ankles regularly helps ensure that the muscles provide the best possible support. These exercises can also increase the range of motion in the feet, allowing a person to stay active for as long as possible. Most foot exercises are simple and do not require complicated equipment. People can do them at home or at the gym as part of a regular exercise routine.

The following exercises can improve the flexibility and mobility of the feet.

1. Raise, point and curl your toes

This exercise has three stages and helps to strengthen all parts of the feet and toes.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Keeping your toes on the floor, raise your heels. Stop when only the balls of your feet remain on the ground.
Hold this position for 5 seconds before lowering your heels.
For the second step, lift your heels and point your toes so that only the tips of your big and second toes are touching the ground.
Hold this position for 5 seconds before lowering your heels.
For the third step, lift your heels and curl your toes in so that only the tips of your toes are touching the floor. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
Develop flexibility and mobility by repeating each step 10 times.

2. Big Toe Stretch

It is important to maintain a wide range of motion in the big toe. The following exercise also has three steps and is designed to stretch and relieve pain in your toes from wearing tight shoes.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place the left foot on the right thigh.
Using your fingers, gently stretch your big toe up, down, and to the sides.
Hold your big toe in each position for 5 seconds.
Repeat this exercise 10 times before switching to the other foot.

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foot muscle exercises

The following exercises can help improve foot strength.

3. Separation of the toes

The finger separation exercise can improve control of the finger muscles. You can do this on both feet at once or alternate feet, whichever is most comfortable for you.

To do this exercise:

Sit in a straight-backed chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Spread your toes as far apart as possible without straining. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
Repeat this movement 10 times.
Once a person has built up strength, they can try wrapping a rubber band around their toes. This provides resistance and makes the exercise more difficult.

4. Finger Curl

Doing finger curls develops the flexor muscles in the toes and feet, which improves overall strength.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place a small towel on the floor in front of your body, with the small side facing your feet.
Place the toes of one foot on the short side of the towel. Try to grab the towel between your toes and pull it towards you. Repeat this exercise five times before switching to the other foot.
To make this exercise more difficult, try pressing down on the opposite end of the towel with an object.

5. Collect marbles

Picking up marbles can increase muscle strength in the soles of the feet and toes.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place an empty bowl and a bowl with 20 marbles on the floor in front of your feet.
Using only the toes of one foot, pick up each marble and place it in the empty container.
Repeat this exercise with the other foot.

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6. Walking on the sand

Walking barefoot on the sand is a great way to stretch and strengthen your feet and calves. It’s good overall exercise because the soft texture of the sand makes walking more physically demanding.

To do this exercise:

Head to a beach, volleyball court, or anywhere else with sand.
Take off your shoes and socks.
Walk as far as possible. Try to increase the distance slowly over time to avoid overloading your feet and calf muscles.

exercises for pain

The following exercises may be helpful in relieving pain.

7. Toe Extension

Toe extension is helpful in preventing or treating plantar fasciitis, which is a condition that causes pain in the heel when walking and difficulty lifting the toes.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place the left foot on the right thigh.
Pull the toes towards the ankle. You should feel a stretch along the bottom of your foot and heel tendon.
Hold this position for 10 seconds. Massaging the arch of the foot during the stretch helps relieve tension and pain.
Repeat this exercise 10 times on each foot.

8. Rolling a golf ball underfoot

Rolling a golf ball under your foot can help relieve arch discomfort and decrease pain associated with plantar fasciitis.

To do this exercise:

Sit upright in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Place a golf ball, or other small, hard ball, on the ground at your feet.
Put one foot on the ball and move it by pressing as hard as you want. The ball should massage the bottom of the foot.
Continue for 2 minutes, then repeat on the other foot.
An ice cold bottle of water can be a relaxing alternative.

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9. Achilles heel stretch

The Achilles tendon is a cord that connects the heel to the calf muscles. It can get out of shape easily, but keeping it strong can help relieve foot, ankle, or leg pain.

To do this exercise:

Stand facing a wall and raise your arms so that your palms are flat against the wall.
Step back with one foot, keeping the knee straight. Then, bend the knee of the opposite leg.
Keep both heels flat on the ground.
Push your hips forward until you feel a stretching sensation in your Achilles tendon and calf muscles.
Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching sides. Repeat three times on each side.
For a slightly different stretch, bend your back knee and push your hips forward.

Foot Health and Safety Tips

To help keep your feet strong and healthy:

Perform a thorough warm-up before exercising.
Wear supportive shoes for your daily activities and sports.
Replace worn out shoes as often as possible.
Slowly build strength and flexibility to condition feet and ankles.
Avoid uneven surfaces, especially when running. Try not to run uphill too often.
Listen to your body. Do not overdo the activities.
Prevent any recurrence of the injury by resting and seeking proper treatment.

Summary

It is good for keeping your feet and ankles healthy. Performing the above exercises can help relieve existing pain, prevent discomfort, and reduce the risk of injury.
People with a diagnosed foot condition, such as plantar fasciitis or a torn Achilles tendon, can try exercises to help. Always consult a health professional, if possible, before starting a new exercise and stretching program.

* HealthKey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.

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Well Being

6 questions you should ask yourself for a 100% effective diet

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Presse Santé

Your weight loss success largely depends on your willingness to rise to the challenge. If you take the plunge before you’re ready, your weight loss program could fail at the first hurdle.

Knowing that you need to make changes in your life and actually making them are two different things.

Use these questions to assess your readiness to lose weight.

Are you motivated to make long-term changes to your lifestyle?

Successful weight loss depends on making permanent lifestyle changes, such as eating healthy, low-calorie foods and including physical activity in your daily routine. This could represent a significant departure from your current lifestyle.

You may need to revise your diet to eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, for example. It will be important to eat a variety of healthy foods. You’ll also need to find time for physical activity, ideally for at least 30 to 45 minutes, or more, most days of the week.

Find your motivation and focus on it:

Your true motivation is the best guarantee of success, but what is it? To make these changes, ask yourself first why you want to lose weight, all these changes to:

  • have better health,
  • better appearance
  • feel better about yourself
  • better way
  • start a new love story

Have you identified anything in your life that might distract you from your weight loss goal?

If you’re dealing with major life events, such as marital problems, work stress, illness, or financial worries, you may not want to add the challenge of reviewing your eating habits and time spent being physically active. It may be better to wait until the right time to embark on your weight loss program to limit the risk of failure due to external factors that are too heavy.

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Do you have a realistic picture of how much weight you will lose and how fast?

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong process. Start by making sure your weight loss goal is safe and realistic, such as losing 5 percent of your current weight.

Try to start losing 0.5 to 1 kilogram per week until you reach your goal. This means burning 500 to 1,000 more calories than you consume each day, through diet and exercise.

You could lose weight faster if you change your habits significantly. However, be careful. Radical changes that are not sustainable are unlikely to be effective in the long term.

Have you resolved emotional problems related to your weight?

Emotions and food are often intertwined. Anger, stress, grief, and boredom can trigger emotional eating. If you have a history of disordered eating, losing weight can be even more difficult.

To prepare for challenges, identify emotional issues related to eating.

Do you have support around you?

Any weight loss program can be difficult. You may face moments of temptation or discouragement. Having someone around you to offer encouragement can help. If you don’t have friends or loved ones you can rely on for positive help, consider joining a weight loss support group.

If you want to keep your weight loss efforts to yourself and not tell anyone about it, it will be more difficult. But maybe you’re ready to be responsible to yourself: set up dates with yourself then. With summary about:

  • – regular weigh-ins
  • – monitor your diet
  • – track your physical activity
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Have you really accepted the weight loss challenge?

If you don’t have a positive attitude toward weight loss, you may not be ready. And if you fear what’s to come, you’re more likely to find excuses to veer off course.

Instead, try to take a nice view of your new lifestyle and stay positive. Focus on how good you will feel when you are more active or weigh less. Imagine celebrating all the successes along the way, whether it’s enjoying a new food, completing another workout, or losing your first few pounds.

If you answered yes to most or all of the questions

You are probably ready to make lifestyle changes that will help you lose weight permanently. Get ahead with healthy eating and regular physical activity, starting today!

If you think you need help, see a dietitian or join a reputable weight loss program. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, you may benefit from follow-up with a therapist or obesity specialist.

If you answer no to more than one of the questions

You may not be ready to embark on a weight loss program right now, and that’s okay. Explore what’s holding you back and face those obstacles.

Consider seeking help from a professional weight loss tracker to help you deal with any roadblocks. Then, reassess your readiness for your weight loss program so you can get off to a great start.

Ready, set, let’s go

If you can’t answer every question with a simple yes or no, but overall you feel positive and confident with your answers, consider starting now.

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You may never have definitive answers in life. Don’t let this rob you of the opportunity to achieve your weight loss goals.

* HealthKey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.

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