How do you cope with life?

How do you cope with life?

Chatting with Kimberley over coffee last week we came to realise that her real skill is in helping people cope with life.   I’ve talked with many of you about the ups and downs of life over the years and it occurred to me that you might find Kimberley’s skills useful.  Her own experience and the variety of training that she has undertaken gives her a better understanding than many people in this area.  As a result she has a number of strategies she can share to help you manage common problems associated with today’s society.  These problems take many forms, such as stress, emotional overeating, comfort eating, lack of confidence, worrying about little things, being unable to relax, sleeping problems or just feeling lost.

Kimberley can help you with any of these feelings using techniques as varied as coaching, counselling, self-defence and exercise.

She works most days including weekends and early mornings so do get in touch to see how she could help you.
Kimberley is based in Warwick but does work using Skype so she can help people who cannot get into central Warwick.

HIIT Pilates - The best of both worlds?

The latest fitness trend to be big in the UK is HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training.  Everyone is doing it, teaching it, and apparently loving it.  Last week I saw HIIT Pilates classes using Pilates equipment to gain the high intensity workouts.  My reaction to that was simply WHY?  Pilates and HIIT are two different regimes with different aims.  I don’t believe they mix at all.Pilates is a fabulous fitness programme which tones specific areas, encourages the correct muscle engagement, uses breath, focus and concentration to achieve great posture, alignment and muscle balance.
Pilates can be practised as rehabilitation post-surgery or as an exercise programme to help with arthritis or other chronic conditions.
Pilates concentrates on small, slow, controlled movements to train the body to engage the correct muscles for everyday movement and strengthen them where they are weak.
Pilates is suitable for almost everybody.
Pilates is NOT intended to be an aerobic work-out.  It will not improve your stamina nor enable you to lift heavy weights
HIIT on the other hand is targeted to improve your stamina and dynamic fitness, a completely different aim.

So, is HIIT something you should be doing as well?
That depends on the benefit you are seeking to gain and how much effort you are prepared and able to put in to achieve it.
If you are healthy, enjoy pushing yourself to meet new physical challenges and are looking to increase strength and cardiovascular capacity it could definitely help you.  If you are an athlete or sportsman looking to improve your performance then HIIT could be a beneficial part of your program, as could a bio-mechanics program and regular Pilates classes.
On the other hand, remember that it is high intensity exercise. If you have any medical history which precludes pushing your heart rate up this is not for you.  If you have joint pain or disease it could aggravate it.  If you do not use correct technique it is easy to pick up injuries.  And finally remember that it’s not the only exercise programme which delivers results, a gentler progressive programme may suit you better.
Don’t follow the latest trend because it is promoted in the glossy magazines with celebrity endorsements, choose a programme that gives you the benefits you are looking for.

HIIT Pilates is ‘HIIT’ using Pilates equipment.  It is not Pilates in any shape or form. Don’t be confused.

Emotional Overeating

What is Emotional Overeating?
Emotional Overeating is a condition in which your desire to consume food is linked to your emotional state.  You turn to food in difficult times and lose control of how much you eat.

Could you be an Emotional Overeater?
Do you eat more than you would like?Do you turn to food at times of stress?Have you tried a number of different diets, which have all, ultimately failed to help?Are you ashamed of your own body?

If you can not categorically answer NO to all these questions then you may be suffering from an
Emotional Overeating Disorder.

Where can you get help?

There are specialists working to help people overcome Emotional Overeating.
Kimberley Warwick has an Emotional Overeating Disorder herself, and has it under control, so she can help you do the same.

Kimberley has some answers as to why people can’t or won’t change their behaviour to improve their health
There is a reason why people overeat. Together you will identify the individual reason why you turn to food and lose control. Once you understand the reasons you can work to find coping strategies.

There is no cure for this condition but with expert help and support, Emotional Overeating can be kept under control.

Want to know more?

Kimberley practises at The Studio Warwick and by Skype across the UK.
She offers telephone consultations and email support.
Get in touch with her, or ask me to put you in touch.

Exercise Prescription


Have you been to a physio recently? Or  have you seen an Osteopath?
Do you have exercises to do at home?
Are you doing them correctly and gaining maximum benefit?
Most people do not exercise correctly and so do not get the full benefit!

I recently received some training from an experienced osteopath.  He suggested that many people given exercises, by physios or osteopaths, don't do them correctly.  They don't exercise often enough or for long enough, and they use poor technique.  This results in a longer period of pain, more visits to specialists and often no answer at the end of it.

The most effective way to exercise a specific muscle is with supervision by a professional, who understands your condition and the exercise required to improve it.  Anne at the Studio is one of these professionals.
This is where one to one sessions are ideal, allowing you the time with this specialist to talk through and practise the exercises you need to do on a daily or weekly basis.

I have listed a few specific issues that would benefit from correct exercise.

Exercise can be hugely beneficial for arthritic joints provided it is carefully monitored.  Mobility and strength work must be within your normal range of movement. 

Back Pain
90% of back pain is described as 'non specific' as there is no specific cause and no medical treatment can be offered other than pain relief.   Exercise can help manage and considerably reduce levels of pain.

Knee Pain
Knee pain has a variety of causes including injury and degeneration.  Exercise can strengthen the joint to give better stability for excellent long term results. 

Exercise v Manual Work

Exercise or Manual Work?

Strenuous occupational physical activity in midlife increases the risk of mobility limitation in old age, whereas leisure-time physical activity decreases the risk. This is found in a study which followed up 5,200 public sector employees for 28 years. The study was conducted at the Gerontology Research Center in Finland and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

Heavy physical labour is often repetitive, wears the body and lasts for several hours a day. On the contrast, leisure-time physical activity is designed to improve fitness and provide recreation and a typical exercise session lasts for one or two hours. Even though both are based on muscle activity and result in energy expenditure, their long-term consequences are different.

The functional ability in old age is a result of processes which may have started already in midlife - some of them have supported the health of the person while others may have been detrimental to the health. The current research results suggest that a marked decline in mobility occurs only in the last years of life.

The results were published in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The research was funded by the Academy of Finland.
This study highlights the effect of our daily work on our physical health. I see many clients (especially those in nursing) with low back pain from degenerative conditions which have been caused by lifting during their working life. I would expect that we will see many more problems with the thoracic spine from the next generation to reach retirement as so many people spend their work life bent over a computer screen or sitting in the car.

Exercise to correct the muscular imbalances created by work positions will be increasingly important to prevent pain later in life. I would suggest that if you have limited time it is more beneficial to work on achieving good posture through muscular support rather than doing exercises just to ‘be fit’.

Osteoporosis - A simple guide

Osteoporosis: a simplified explanation

What is it?
Osteoporosis is a weakening of bones which can lead to an increased risk of fracture

Who is at risk?
You are at risk if you: are menopausal, have a family history, have broken a bone, are of slim build, if you endurance train, do not eat properly, smoke, are a heavy drinker, are underweight, are inactive.

Signs to look out for
Osteoporosis itself has no symptoms but a fall is more likely to result in a fracture.
As it progresses you will lose height, and develop a hunch as your thoracic spine curves.

What can you do about it?
Undertake specific exercise to strengthen muscle and improve bone strength
Practice falls prevention, train in balance
Make your diet healthy with moderate alcohol intake
Do not smoke.

Current guidelines for test results for the T score:
Normal: -1 to 1
Starting to weaken (normal for age): -1 to -2.5
Osteoporosis: below -2.5

The New Pelvic Floor Work


PFD what is it, do you have it and how can you correct it?
We now know that 80% of women will have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) at some point in their life.
A dysfunctional muscle is one which will not contract nor release so it tends to be both tight and weak, and consequently, unable to function correctly.
The pelvic floor is the muscle which forms the 'under carriage' of your trunk so it is essential that it functions correctly for adequate core support.
If it is dysfunctional it will be tight , short and weak instead of being flexible, long and strong.

The symptoms of PFD may include:
Abdominal separation following pregnancy
Occasional stress incontinence
Pelvic discomfort
Back and Sacro-Iliac joint pain

The contributors to PFD include:
Over doing sit ups
Poor posture
Wearing high heels
Sitting for too long 

What is the solution?
Exercise with the pelvis in a neutral position.
Ensure Sacro Iliac joint stability by strengthening surrounding muscle groups
Strengthen Glute (butt) muscles in conjunction with inner and outer thigh muscles
Squat with correct alignment to strengthen yet lengthen the pelvic floor

Exercises to avoid:
Any exercise with a pelvic tilt as this shortens the pelvic floor muscle encouraging dysfunction
Sit ups which increase the downward pressure on the pelvic floor
High impact exercise
Pilates exercises such as 'the 100'

Would you like to know more?
Just contact Anne by phone or email to discuss your needs.
The correct exercises and techniques are taught in 'I Move Freely' Pilates Classes at The Studio
For more specific advice book a one to one session or a place at one of our new 
"SELECT" classes.

Sugar - why you should cut down

SUGAR – Why you should avoid it

This week sugar and the negative effect it has on our bodies has featured in several news articles so here are the facts that you need to bear in mind when reviewing your sugar intake:

Firstly, in really simple terms: Sugar can play havoc with your weight, hormones, energy, and give you tooth decay. Eating sugar offers you ’empty’ calories – i.e. no benefit and lots of potential for harm. Therefore you should be looking to reduce your sugar intake.

When you shop, look at the labels of everything you buy. Sugar can be found in a surprising array of foods. Be especially careful when buying breakfast cereal and processed food such as ready prepared meals, including soups or cooking sauces since these often contain unexpectedly high levels of sugar.

Run through the list of negative effects below to remind yourself of why you should be avoiding sugar:
- Consuming sugar makes your blood sugar levels rise quickly. The pancreas is stimulated, it produces insulin to stabilise the blood sugar levels. Insulin is known to promote the storage of fat so more sugar = more insulin = more fat stored.
- The high level of insulin production not only encourages the body to store fat, but is the main risk factor in diabetes.
- High blood sugar levels damage artery walls, making it easier for cholesterol and fat to build up. This causes heart disease and high blood pressure.
- A raised insulin level affects the immune system lowering resistance to disease.
- Sugar puts stress on the kidneys and can interfere with absorption of some essential minerals. This can contribute to osteoporosis.
- Sugar can cause free radical formation in the blood, this causes damage to each cell in your body. It speeds up the ageing process which you’ll see as wrinkles. Some studies have suggested that it also speeds the deterioration of brain cells and contributes to dementia.
- Sugar can increase fermentation during the digestion process causing bloating.
- Since insulin is a hormone it is an intrinsic part of the body’s hormonal balance. Abnormal variations in that balance are known to cause fatigue, depression, weight gain, fluid retention, and so on.

For all these reasons cut down your sugar intake and enjoy better health!

The Studio News 02/01/14

  • This weeks newsletter with up to date availability for classes and massage. Information about Myofascial Release Technique, a subtle yet effective treatment for tightness in muscles and fascia which causes pain. Plus, Manual lymphatic drainage to help with swelling and boost your immune system. Help with making and keeping new years resolutions and easy tips to follow to help keep healthy through the winter.
  • Read the full newsletter...

Exercise for all ages and conditions

This article was written for the REPS blog to encourage other fitness instructors to consider moving into this specialist area but is may be useful for anyone who would like to get fitter but is unsure where to start. I am happy to meet anybody keen to start an exercise programme on an informal basis to chat over the best way to get started, I am also happy to advise other exercise professionals on working in this area.

REPs member
Anne Mercer shares her story on how she has succeeded on a prosperous career in the fitness industry.
I have been a full time fitness instructor for just over 30 years now. I started in aerobics, moved through ‘Bums, Legs and Tums’, callanetics and even line dancing to an altogether more interesting and rewarding area of fitness best described as "Exercise for all ages and conditions".

I struggle to find a name to cover all that I do but I think that this pretty much does it. It’s a rewarding area requiring experience and specialist knowledge. I never simply go through the motions of a class. There is no standard class format. Every movement is thought through to consider what it does in terms of the potential benefit as well as the potential risk. This specific approach enables almost anyone to take part in my class. Some may need to lie on a massage couch rather than the floor, the class size is very small and I have a selection of pillows for added support and cushioning.

I base my class on the focus, control and concentration of Pilates. Clients learn to control every movement their body makes and to be aware of exactly which muscle is causing the movement or stabilising the body while it moves. Added to this I use the fundamental back care exercises as recommended by Williams and McKenzie. I consider the spinal load through each movement. I never teach roll downs, sit ups and rarely use seated positions.   The recommended range of movement required by life is my goal with clients aiming for this, not the extreme range some exercise regimes use.

Bio Mechanic principles of pelvic stability and nerve mobility play a large part in ensuring mobilisation and the prevention of dysfunctional muscle tissue. I work on the abdominal stability muscles along with the gluteals, teaching the principle that our muscles provide the scaffolding to our bone structure. Balance is another important area with simple exercises to improve balance and to reduce the risk of falling in the future.

To complete this I work on postural muscles of the upper body to ward off the hunched neck position so often seen in the older generation.

Some of my clients have back pain, joint replacements, degenerative conditions of the spine, or are recovering from mild strokes. Most simply have the general aches and pains that accompany getting older. They need a class which supports them in their quest to keep fitter and keep active as they age. Many classes (including those that I have taught) are aiming at an altogether higher level of fitness which my clients would feel intimidating and at which they would probably be unable to do many of the exercises. Even clients at perimenopausal age have muscular aches that appear from nowhere and affect their ability to exercise.

Added into this mix are many men who have sustained sporting injuries in their youth (rugby/football/tennis etc...) which then return as early joint degeneration or suspected arthritis by the time they are in their mid 40’s.

Over recent years I have seen huge progression in my clients which I find incredibly satisfying. They show a great tenacity in sticking with the exercises and the results are well worth it. They have smaller waists – no mean feat in post menopausal women, balance (for men and women) so good they could be garden statues and they all stand upright within a few months.

To teach this age group you need to specialise into the Low Back, 50+ and GP referral qualification, and then read as much as you can about the effect of ageing on the body. I have found that a sport massage qualification is invaluable to allow me to be ‘hands on’ in certain situations. Talk to people with these conditions, work on a one-to-one basis with them to see what they can do and how exercise can help them.

If you’d like more information on my techniques do get in touch. I am passionate about enabling this sector of the population to be able to take part in group exercise and happy to help anyone move into this area.

See Older Posts...