Health Benefits of Walking & Pilates

Both walking and Pilates are low impact activities which reap many health benefits to include improve balance, co-ordination, deep muscular activation, posture and mindfulness.

Walking address the cardiorespiratory fitness and resistance training from Pilates addresses improved muscular strength, studies undertaken by Takeshima, et al (2013) have demonstrated that the combined programs, either undertaking both activities on the same day or alternate dayes, walking one day and strength training the following day has significant improvements in endurance, functional strength, agility, flexibility, serum lipids and blood pressure over a 12 week period.

In regard to coronary heart disease, Maestroni et al (2020) found that progressive resistance training provides an improvement in cardiorespiratory function comparable to aerobic training alone, when combined they offer more substantiated improvements in both fitness and strength as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure which may be significantly lowered by resistance training.

Those suffering from anxiety also benefit. In Australian studies on women in their 50’s and 60’s, Ripton (2015) state that women with depression who walked 200 miles a week had more energy and those with anxiety may benefit as cortisol, a hormone that provokes a stress response is lower in those who walk compared to those who are sedentary.

Both walking and Pilates can also be challenged by adding nordic poles for walking to increase the instensity of the walk which can burn more calories, poles also encourage you to stand tall, tighten the abdominals, act as an aid for balance, whilst resistance bands, tubing, circles can be incorporated into Pilates programs to increase strength and intensity.

References

Maestroni, L. Read, P. Bishop, C., Papadopoulos, K., Suchomel, T. J. Comfort, P. & Turner, A. (2020). The benefits of strength training on musculoskeletal system health: Practical applications for interdisciplinary care. Sports Medicine, 50(8), 1431-1450. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-020-01309-5

Ripton, N. (2015) The surprising health benefits of walking

Takeshima, N, Islam MM, Rogers, ME, Rogers, N.L. Sengoku, N, Koizumi, D, Kitabayashi, Y, Imai, A, Naruse, A. (2013) Effects of nordic walking compared to conventional walking and band-based resistance exercise on fitness in older adults. J Sports Sci Med, Sep 1:12 (3): 422-30.

Psychology of Marathon Running

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Participants competing in long endurance events such as the Marathon has steadily risen over the years.  Data taken of both demographic and socio-economic groups from various studies has seen a rise in running becoming a popular sport.

The Marathon runner embarks on this challenge for many reasons and they must adapt their lifestyle and training far beyond the recreational exerciser to include high levels of demanding physiological and psychological adaptations to push beyond their current capabilities.  Furthermore, the rewards and positive benefits of this training will outweigh the negatives of marathon running.

The London Marathon is my third marathon, as a veteran runner I have improved with age, both on personal performance together with a faster post marathon recovery rate.  Training for a Marathon demands a consistent, disciplined, structured routine which will manifest into other areas of the runners life to include; personal goal achievement, better life management, psychological and emotional strategies for coping and better vitality and health.

London Marathon – Running Injuries

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Injuries are inevitable when participating in endurance events and can occur as a result of a breakdown in tissue and muscles being overloaded. With just over one week to go until London Marathon 2019, my plantar fasciitis has flared up again.  This condition can causes inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thin layer of tough tissue supporting the arch of the foot.  Rest and ice are the best form of treatment together with a performance based Pilates exercise programme for the core, such as side plank, integrating foot muscle strengthening and flexibility in the lower limbs.

Functional Strength Training

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Ageing is associated to physiological changes and declines in muscles and joints which could contribute to falls, frailty and disability, the term for this condition is known as ‘sarcopenia’.  Factors include a loss of muscle mass and strength.  Current research has shown that by engaging in regular strength training programmes 2-3 times per week, exercise can help combat muscle weakness, build muscle strength and improve bone density.