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Do You Suffer From Lower Back Pain?

(Read This Before you Start Pilates or Yoga or Any Other Exercise Program)

You may have heard pilates is good for many afflictions including lower back pain. In many cases, this is true. Work your way through the pilates fundamental exercises. Slowly build your core strength, flexibility and body awareness often does help relieve many nagging back pains.

However, if you have an undiagnosed or serious condition, it is very important for you to understand what types of movement are good and bad for you. For instance, if you have Osteoporosis, you need to avoid most forward bending/flexion movements and rotation exercises. Herniated disc? Depends on the location and type of herniation, but generally, you should also avoid forward bending movements and twisting as well!

What about even more serious conditions like Degenerative Disc Disease? This is one that I haven’t encountered in my clients but recently became aware of because my mom was diagnosed, along with osteoporosis. The DDD is mostly in her lower spine near the tailbone and the osteo is mostly in her cervical (neck) spine. She experiences a lot of pain every single day and still hasn’t found the exact right movements & medication to help relieve her pain.

If you think your lower back pain might be DDD, here are some things you need to do immediately (and I’ve harped on my mom about these same things!):

1. See your doctor. Your general doctor will probably send you to a specialist. Get Diagnosed ASAP.

2. Ask if you can also see a physical therapist, so that you can understand what movements will aggravate your condition and also which movements are good for you!  Also, the PT or specialist will probably give you some exercises. Make sure you know exactly how to do them before you leave their office. This is crucial!

3. Ask your PT and doctors about doing pilates. Most PT’s use pilates-similar methods and should be fully aware of treatment options. I have had several clients who also went to PTs — I always followed the protocol set up by their treatment.  My clients always bring the list of exercises from the Physical Therapist as well.  In some cases I’ve even spoken directly to the PT to get advice and more detail on the person’s condition.

4. Make sure your diet is in check. Some research I’ve come across points to the ability of a good diet to help your spine regain some of its health by eating healthy foods, limiting caffeine, making sure to take calcium/d supplements when over 50. Keep yourself hydrated.  These are all basic good clean eating.

5. Do the exercises/stretches given to you by your doctor.  This may seem simple, but one most people get lazy with.  If you can’t manage to do the exercises as directed, then what’s the point to going in the first place!

6. Don’t suffer in silence. Go to the doctor. If your medication or exercises are not working, keep digging for answers.  Don’t just “deal” with the pain.

7. Try “alternative” healing like acupuncture or chinese medicine.

8. If and when you can start pilates, do so slowly.  Pilates can be extremely helpful, but you need to remember that you are not in a race.  Take things slowly. Do the movements precisely and with control.

Here are some additional resources for you to consider:

1. Lower Back Pain Audio Exercises – Lynda Lippin recorded this extremely clear and easy to follow audio “workout”.

2. Download the Free Back Pain Relief Report – This a short report which provides some suggestions for relieving certain types of back pain without medication.

3. Check out: Pilates for the Fragile Back. I bought the book to help some of my pilates clients and re-read it recently before I give it to my mom next week when she visits. If you go through my link I will get a very very very small percentage of the sale.

As always, please see a doctor. I can only give you my personal experience working with clients who have back pain. I tell all my clients to get treated or at least diagnosed by a doctor prior to starting pilates. Don’t self diagnose…just push the doctors to give you a complete check up.

How Facebook Can Make You Healthier!

There one simple reason that using Social Media can make you healthier, happier, and possible just a bit more fit.  You connect with people who either know how to do it (and they can show you) or you connect with other people looking for the same guidance & inspiration.

Facebook is a great way to find both of these types of people.  While Twitter helps you get little tidbits throughout the day and pointed in new directions on the web, Facebook helps you become part of communities that and really get to know people.

There are many well known organizations that have created Groups and Pages to get people with similar interests and goals together.  You can leave questions, make comments, chat with others in the group or other fans of the page.

My favorite pages/groups are:

Celebrity Trainer Valerie Waters who I mention often on this blog, has a Facebook Page where you can interact with other women getting in shape.  Many of the members are people who are part of her Red Carpet Ready club and are doing her latest program the Action Hero Babe Training System.  It’s a great place to find out what she’s about and see if her programs are right for you.  But also, the people you will find there will motivate you just by seeing how dedicated they are to their health & fitness.

Pilates On 5th is a great pilates organization based in NYC.  They offer many different types of pilates classes but also provide online pilates workouts you can purchase.  They do a fun podcast that’s available on itunes.  If you become a fan of their page, you will be notified when they put up new material on their blog or upload new video podcasts!

Anne Samoilov Pilates – Yes, even I have a pilates facebook page.  I use the page to tell my Facebook friends when I have a new post on my blog, but also to inform people of new classes and share links that I find inspirational to my own fitness journey.

To find Groups or Pages to follow is search in the box at the top of your main profile page for a name or subject.  If that doesn’t get you results you want, click on your INFO tab and scroll down to your groups/pages section…by clicking see all, you will find a search box to do a search there too!

If you are kind of confused at this point…and want to know the difference between Facebook Groups & Facebook Pages…check out this blog post from Mashable.com: Facebook Groups vs. Facebook Pages.

Keep in mind that you should be very picky about the Pages and Groups your follow/join.  Don’t overload your Facebook profile with so much info that you can’t sift through it easily and get motivated!  Also, once you join a group or become a fan of a page, you may get messages in your inbox from that group.  Usually, it’ll be information that you will find interesting, but sometimes it gets a little too sales-y…if that happens and you don’t like it…just leave the group!

Let me know if you find a fun group to follow or a page to become a fan of…I’m always looking for inspiration to keep myself & my clients living their healthiest lives!

10 ways To Get In Shape with Twitter!

Ok – This is a quick list I made – off the top of my head. I was brainstorming ways that I use Twitter to stay in Shape…
Whether it’s pilates, kettlebells, yoga, or hiking…you will find people doing your favorite activity on Twitter. If you haven’t checked Twitter out yet, you should…It’s fun…and clearly as I share below…it can help you get & stay in shape.

  1. Find a Workout Buddy
  2. Tweet your food journal
  3. Keep In Touch with your trainer or class teacher
  4. Get new workouts & tips from your trainer
  5. Find fitness tips from other trainers and resources
  6. Stay motivated by learning what other people are doing
  7. Post your daily workout to share with friends and your trainer
  8. Find someone that inspires you to get in shape and follow them–i.e. Jen Garner, Jennifer Biel, Rachel Nichols
  9. Read, Post, and Share Motivational Quotes
  10. Create a blog and post on twitter when you update it.

Here’s the top people/users I would follow just be on top of different ways of getting in shape, eating right and living a healthy lifestyle:

  • @livewell360
  • @healthyirishman
  • @valeriewaters
  • @ideafit
  • @annesamoilov
  • @WeightWatchers
  • @toscareno
  • @toneitup
  • @jillianmichaels
  • @mbthin (one of my workout buddies!)

There are a ton more to follow.  Do a search for different people or companies or “diet” names — or anyone that you might know and think can give you good information.

The importance of Twitter is in helping you join/build a tribe of people that share a common goal.  Sure you could get carried away with how many people are following you, but if you go into Twitter with the goal of gaining new knowledge, you won’t go wrong.  You might meet some fun new people going through exactly what you are!

If you’d like to try pilates and get more information on joining the Twitter tweeters, reserve your first private pilates session with me today!

Become An Action Hero Babe: You all knew it…

When I dressed up like Lara Croft for Halloween years ago – because of the video game, not the movie (which wasn’t out yet), you KNEW I had some sort of sick fantasy of being an action hero babe…well, now I’m finally getting the strength to get the job done! (On a side note, I need to find that picture!!)

So, here’s a picture of me and my gal Valerie Waters right after she’d kicked my butt with her latest Action Hero Babe workout. She’s the trainer who has helped me drop 4 inches in my waist, 2 1/2 (maybe 3 by now) in my hips…and is helping me look leaner and stronger every single day.

Val puts together health & fitness programs that work.  I’ve done 3 of them now and I know.  I really do. I’m not saying that you will have the same results I have had. I’m not saying that her programs are right for you, but I will say that she has changed my life.  When I started moving again, my body & brain got back into shape and I was able to handle life again.  That first year with Mila was a tough one.

So – now, Valerie’s latest program is one that I’ve been waiting for for a long time.  The name is so me and I know you’ll agree.  I’ve been working at the plan for about 3 weeks now — and have increased, visible muscle tone, am maintaining my weight, and am eating better than I ever have–except for the occasional fall off the wagon at California Pizza Kitchen.

If you want to learn how and when to EXERCISE & EAT CLEAN, you’ll get this specific program.

There are workout DVDs to follow.  The kit comes with her Valslides (don’t get me started on those — so fun!) and some exercise bands. There are bonus DVDs, which i can’t tell you about until you check out the actual home page for the program.  There are 2 different meal plans/recipes/food ideas to try out.  There’s a slick binder that holds everything!

I’m so impressed with the Action Hero Babe Training System that I couldn’t help but share it with you.  I’d love to have another workout partner and I really hope you check this program out.

How to Become An Action Hero Babe:

  1. Check out the homepage for the Action Hero Babe Training System
  2. Do a search for reviews for the Action Hero Babe program given by the women who’ve already done the program.
  3. Read even more reviews from women in Valerie Waters Red Carpet Ready club.
  4. Leave me a comment with questions about the program and if you have purchased it!
  5. Purchase it and Get Moving!

For anyone who signs up through my link, I will offer you a success report on how to use the program – and how I personally used the program again and again to get myself back in shape!

*Please note, the link on this page is an affiliate link.  When you sign up through my link, I will receive a small commission…but it doesn’t change that I firmly stand behind Valerie Waters work.