Pilates: Touch Your Toes

Let’s answer a pressing question which a new patient recently emailed in asking:

(And lets see if we can get YOU more flexible and feeling healthier in the process)

“Kim, what exercises can I do to loosen up and improve flexibility in my lower back? It would also be good to tone up too!”

– Amy, 62, Los Altos

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Where do I begin!…

A stiff back and a lack of flexibility is a problem for most people, and the downside is that it only gets worse as we age gracefully.

And because a lot of us spend so much of time sitting, and little time moving, a tight back creeps up on us as a consequence, leaving us unable to bend and stretch as easily as we once could.

So, would you like to know what you can do about it?

Even better, would you like to find out how you can tone up as well?

Great! Read on as I’m about to tell you…

If you asked me what type of exercise makes the biggest difference to your body and leaves you feeling great, I’d tell you Pilates.

PhysioFit Pilates classes are helping people aged 40+ develop more tone, and live with more flexibility.

I’m such a huge fan of this exercise in fact that I believe people should take part in Pilates at least once a week. (Just ask any of our physical therapists – they’ll tell you the same thing.)

Many people I teach can’t touch their toes when they start in Pilates…now instantly you may think this is due to tight hamstrings but it’s not always the case. There can be quite a few structures in your “posterior chain” that are limiting your movement. This is especially true if you have a job that requires you to sit down or drive for long periods of time.

Lets break it down…

Your calves (gastrocnemius muscles) cross the knee joint, so tightness there can make keeping your knees straight harder than it should be.

The connections from your hip/bum muscles (glutes, piriformis) can affect the ease in which your pelvis tilts, so affecting how you bend forward at the hip.

Tightness or restrictions in your lower back and pelvis. These can cause increased tension throughout your hips and legs. Often warming up the spine there can lead to more movement and flexibility. It can be interesting to compare your movement before and after a class, often without any stretching you will be able to go further in the movment of touching your toes.

So if you’ve been wanting to try something new (and improve your posture AND tone up too!)

Some of the benefits you’ll see and feel:

+ Living with less back pain
+ Shoulders aren’t as tense as they used to be
+ Less aches in neck
+ Able to move and bend a lot easier…

AND

+ Able to put socks and shoes on easily (without having to struggle by sitting and bending down awkwardly)
+ Walk and sit for longer periods of time, with a healthier and more confident looking posture
+ And even being able to play with grandchildren on the floor and reach down with a lot more ease!

P.S. Please don’t be expecting to touch your toes right away if you’re just starting out and haven’t exercised in a long time.

As with any improvement that comes from being more active, you’re going to have to stay on track and be committed to your goals to feel the results – the sooner you begin the better.

Next time I see you, I expect you to be able to touch your toes…with your hands on the floor.

To help get you started, you can try your 1st Pilates Mat Class for Free.

Just call 650-947-8500 and mention code Pilates and we’ll help you get scheduled for a class.

Kim Gladfelter

Kim Gladfelter, PT, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, is a physical therapist and owner of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness in Los Altos, CA. Kim's facility has a complete wellness center, offering classes in Pilates, Yoga, Gyrotonic® and TRX suspension training, as well as special clinical programs for women’s health. Kim works with people aged 30-65+ on a daily basis and is an expert Columnist who writes health articles for the Los Altos Town Crier newspaper, professional newsletters and blogs nationwide. She also reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and exercise for back pain.
Kim Gladfelter

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