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Complementary Fitness 23 April News

Complementary Fitness Logo

Hi, I can’t wait to welcome you and work out with you in our Craiglockhart + Colinton, Edinburgh Complementary Fitness Pilates, Fitness Yoga & resistance/weights classes
All class details and times are on the Classes page.

Last week, I mentioned that April is Stress Awareness Month and I thought I’d give you, or remind you, of 3 exercises/stretches to do to help to relax a little bit more. We practice these in class but they’re good to do on your own.
First is the Roll Down/Roll up (that we do in our Fitness Pilates classes) which stretches the muscles and helps to release tension. It increases mobility in the spine, stretches the back and hamstring muscles and works the abdominals. We begin by standing tall with feet hip distance apart, arms by our sides and shoulders relaxed down. Breathe in to prepare then exhale and bring the chin to the chest, head forward and roll down one vertebrae at a time, slowly gliding your hands down your thighs to help control the movement and continue to roll your hands down to your shins or ankles – all while drawing in your abs. You may need a couple of breaths to roll down so never hold your breath. In the Roll Down position, ie flexed forward holding on to ankles and forehead towards shins, inhale deeply again in preparation for rolling back up. Again pull in the core abdominal muscles, roll yourself up back up, walking your hands back up the legs again, restacking each individual vertebrae until you come back up to stand (again, may need a couple of breaths to Roll Up). Arms will be by your sides again, shoulders relaxed and continue to do a few more.

Next is ‘Mountain Pose’ and it’s more than just standing with your arms by your sides: it’s said to help you feel strong, just like a mountain, feeling connected to the earth and your mind and body in the ‘here and now’. Standing with your feet hip distance apart, arms by your sides and palms facing in towards outer thighs and gently touching thighs. To help you relax more, concentrate and become aware of your breathing. When you exhale, contract the pelvic floor muscles and lift them up until you feel a squeeze at the base of your buttocks.
Doing this supports the spine from below. Continue with natural, even, relaxed breathing and on the next exhalation, draw/pull in your abdominal muscles towards your spine and lengthen your spine upwards too.
With your spine straight and head lifted, stand tall as if nothing can move you and you feel strong.
When you inhale, breathe in deeply and widely into your lungs, creating space in your chest and as you breathe out, roll your shoulders up, back and down while releasing any tension in your upper back, drawing your navel to spine. Even if you just have a couple of minutes to yourself, this strong pose should help you to relax your body, mind and feel connected and centred.

Lastly, with a double thickness yoga mat on the floor, lie down on your back and hug the knees to chest, holding on to your shins/back of legs. I also love the relaxation and stretch of this stretch and you might also want to try rocking side to side to ease tension in the back too.

Oh and did you try the ‘legs up the wall’ stretch I mentioned in last week’s newsletter? Did that help you to relax too? I hope so. It’s always a great idea to balance out hard workouts with mindful relaxation and stretches – both are Complementary to your Fitness (ha, like it!) and wellbeing.

Talking of hard (or maybe ‘challenging’ is a better word?) workouts … we do a lot of different squats in different positions in classes and one that really loads the leg muscles is: in a squat position, both knees bent, back straight, staying low then step your right foot forward and then step the same foot back ie like pivoting forward and back. You can do this a few times and when you think you need a rest (or can’t do any more!!), bring yourself up to stand, kick your legs to relax then …. dah, dah, dah ..squat down again and step your left foot forward and back a few times. Your hands can be clasped together and arms forward parallel to the floor.

Do equal reps (or a few more on the ‘weaker’ leg – there’s always one stronger/weaker side).
So, lots of homework for you to do in your own time. Let me know how you get on.

If you’re active and like me, don’t eat meat or fish, then shelled hemp seeds are a great way to get protein. Hemp contains up to 30% highly digestible protein with the perfect ratio of amino acids.
You get essential fatty acids (we talked about EFAs in last week’s newsletter) as well as fibre and the seeds contain lots of nutrients such as: magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and manganese that help the metabolism of EFAs. Hemp is also a great source of zinc, iron, calcium and vitamin A.
I love to add shelled hemp seeds into chia puddings and sprinkle some on top of salads or soups.

More about fibre: dietary fibre is the part of fruit, veg and cereal foods that isn’t broken down in the digestive tract and is described as either soluble or insoluble fibre depending on the properties and action it takes in the gut. Fibre helps our digestive system to work properly, keeping us ‘regular’ and can reduce blood cholesterol levels. Foods that contain fibre include wholegrain cereals eg oats and brown rice, some fruit, veg and pulses. These can be slow-release foods and make us feel fuller for longer.

Just an update re my Complementary Fitness page – I had lots of old videos on there till recently (ones with short hair) so deleted them and have added some more recent ones. If you’re on FB, please ‘like’ my page and have a look. Feel free to (please) write a Review about classes on my page too, thanks.

I look forward to seeing you and working out with you this week so that we can continue to improve on our fitness levels, strength, posture balance and flexibility together.

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