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Style Pilates Newsletter :: January 2007

Style Pilates News and Events :: January 2007

Cool Down & Stretching After Workout

The Importance of Stretching

Both warm-ups and cool downs are essential to a good workout.
I see too many people skip both of these crucial parts of a workout because they are pressed for time or "too busy."

Your workout should then be followed by a cool down period, which is the reverse concept of a warm up.
You want to slowly decrease your heart rate and breathing, gently decreasing the intensity of whatever form of exercise you have chosen.

The optimal time to stretch and hold a static stretch is following your workout.
Your muscles have just undergone repeated tightening and shortening from all the contractions of exercising and are still warmed up.

Slow, static stretching is recommended for after your workout (although for athletes, more active stretching is recommended).
It will aid in cooling your muscles down, returning them to their normal resting length, reducing soreness, etc.

Stretching helps relax your muscles and will improve your flexibility.
Never stretch to the point of pain, though.
Stretching feels like "ah -- that feels good".
Pain feels like "ouch -- that's too much !"

Too many people think they can save time and take a shortcut by skipping the stretching.
Not true ! If you don't attend to your muscles after working out, you are looking at a stiff and sore payback tomorrow.


6 questions :: 3 minutes

[1] One pound of muscle burns ___ calories of fat a day, whereas, one pound of fat burns ___ calories a day.
[a] 2/50
[b] 100/90
[c] 50/2
[d] 75/100

[2] When I do sit-ups, I am working towards reducing fat ...
[a] only in my abdominal area.
[b] only in my "love handles".
[c] in all parts of my body.
[d] Doing sit-ups does not reduce fat. It does, however, increase my sex appeal.

[3] The more I sweat,
[a] the more fat I lose.
[b] the more weight I lose, that is, until I drink again.
[c] the more humid it is.
[d] the unhealthier I am.

[4] Strengthening my abdominal muscles is one of the best ways to ...
[a] lose fat in my abdominal region.
[b] attract men/women.
[c] ensure better breathing.
[d] protect against back pain.

[5] Which of the following is NOT a good reason to stretch before exercising ?
[a] Stretching increases your general coordination.
[b] Stretching relaxes your body.
[c] Stretching encourages upper-diaphragm breathing.
[d] Stretching warms your muscles.

[6] When exercising, I _____ when my muscles contract and I _______ when they lengthen.
[a] exhale/inhale
[b] hold my breath/exhale
[c] inhale/hold my breath
[d] inhale/exhale

Submit Answers

Exercise of the Month

Pilates on the Mat :: Single Straight Leg Stretch

Begin to lie on your back with your leg extended toward the ceiling and heels are touching.

Inhale deeply to prepare.
Exhale, pull in the abdominals, and curl the chin and upper body up off the mat. The tips of the shoulder blades touch the mat.
Put the hands on an ankle, or below the knee if you have tight hamstrings, and stretch the other leg out at a 45 degree angle.
Inhale to prepare and exhale to switch legs (scissors).
Try to keep both legs straight.
Repeat 6-10 times.

Modifications for this exercise include leaving the head down, bending the knees slightly, and increasing or decreasing the distance between the legs.

You can adjust the angle of the outstretched leg to make the exercise more or less difficult. The lower the leg, the harder the abdominals have to work to maintain alignment.
If you choose to increase difficulty by lowering the outstretched leg, you must be able to use your abdominals to keep your lower back from popping up off the mat.

Try to get a nice smooth rhythm going with the breath and the switching of the legs.

Works the abdominal muscles endurance and stretches the backs of the legs (hamstrings and calves).

Geraldine Marques-Frediani :: Professional Pilates Instructor
[ tel ]       08 9521 2616  [ +66 8 9521 2616 ]
[ email ]  stylepilates[at]gmail.com