energyTiredness is natural. We use our energy to do things, we run around all day from hectic mornings straight to work, busy, often stressful workdays, only to get home and realise the dishes need doing, the dog wants out – add dinner and a shower and before you know it, it’s eight or nine o’clock before we get a proper seat! It’s absolutely normal to feel tired sometimes.

But what about when that feeling lingers on? What if we end up feeling tired, exhausted or lethargic what feels like most or all of the time?

It’s easy to think, if we get caught in a cycle of lethargy, that there’s nothing we can do to change it. We can’t change our job, or the family which relies on us, or whatever is using up so much of our energy… Often we don’t know exactly what it is.

But we do NOT, and SHOULD not, feel tired most or all of the time! And we CAN, with a little thought (and a few changes here and there) usually pull ourselves out of it and get back to a place where we feel motivated and energetic again.

In today’s post we’ll go through where to begin dealing with serious or persistent tiredness and lethargy.

Water

Undoubtedly you’ve heard this one before, but for good reason! According to the NHS, mild dehydration may contribute to feelings of lethargy (Source). Try setting a routine for yourself to keep hydrated – a full glass of water on waking, and before bed is a good place to start. You might even want to use a dedicated water bottle – this has the benefit of showing you how much you’ve actually drunk and reminding you to finish it! You can even get bottles now which have a chamber to add fruit, veg or herbs to infuse. Adding strawberries, cucumber or coriander to your water can make it a little more tasty and refreshing.

Exercise

It’s a cliché, but again, for a reason. As a Pilates teacher one of the best things my clients report is how my sessions give them surges of energy! But if you’re not in a position to make it to an exercise class at the moment, there are lots of ways to be more active. Walk more. Get off the bus a stop earlier, or take the stairs instead of the lift to your office, or go for a quick walk on your lunch hour. Take the dog for a walk instead of just letting them out to do their business in the garden! It’s been proven that short bursts of exercise (around 15 minutes) can do wonders for your energy levels.

Alcohol

Many people enjoy having a glass of wine to unwind after a hard day, but we all know it’s a depressant. To find out if its contributing to your lethargy, try skipping it for a week to see if you feel more energised without it.

Caffeine

The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommend that anyone feeling tired should cut out caffeine (Source). It’s in many teas and coffees (and often soft drinks too). Cutting caffeine altogether is a big change most of us aren’t willing to make. but we can still benefit from reducing our intake. An espresso-based coffee (like you’d get from a coffee shop) has much more caffeine than an instant one you’d make at home, and black tea, while caffeinated, contains less. Green tea contains caffeine but also a lot of anti-oxidants which can help offset the effects. A good rule of thumb is to stick to one caffeinated drink in the morning, and herbal or caffeine-free for the rest of the day.

Underlying Causes

If you’ve made all these changes and are still tired and lethargic most of the time, it’s time to check in with your doctor. There could be an underlying physiological cause like anaemia which your doctor can help you with. Persistent tiredness, lethargy and feeling drained all the time is a also big red flag for depression – an extremely common mental health issue which can have many causes, often a combination of lifestyle and emotional factors which have a ‘snowball effect’ over time. Many of the tips above are recommended to help alleviate depression and other common mental health problems (especially exercise!), but if you are worried or suspect you might be depressed, seek out NHS Mental Health Services in your area. Some areas require referral from your GP, others you can refer yourself. GPs can prescribe drugs to aid recovery from mental ill health, but often little else, and there are plenty of non-pharmaceutical therapies available from NHS Mental Health teams and clinics. Don’t be afraid to seek help even if you’re not sure if you ‘qualify.’ If you feel you need help, you need help!

Bear in mind, small changes add up to big ones over time! These tips are a great place to start, even if your tiredness does have serious underlying causes – doing these small things to take care of yourself can help give you energy to start dealing them, whether that means working up the courage to speak to your doctor, or a therapist, or make significant changes in your life for the sake of your wellbeing. Making the effort to tweak or introduce new healthy habits like these can pay off many times over in how much more energetic you feel.

Thank you so much for stopping by today.

This week on the YouTube Channel, find out how and why we use props in Pilates!

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square%2f1643-self-careWork commitments and professional ambitions, responsibilities at home with children, housework (and if you’re a woman, statistically, the lion’s share of it), potentially caring for ageing parents, even preparing for fun things like big, family festivals and holidays like Christmas – these are everyday realities for so many of us.

And in the face of juggling all these responsibilities, neglecting ourselves is easy. Making self care (relaxation, exercise, and other things which recharge our batteries and improve our health and wellbeing) a priority is hard.

Most of our outward responsibilities come from other people relying on us – our workplaces, our homes, our families and partners, all of these rely on our time and labour to function, to flourish. It’s a lot harder to let others down, than it is to let ourselves down. Self care is always the first thing to get shoved right back to the end of the queue.
But the only person who can stop you running yourself into the ground trying to be and do everything? You.

You are the only one who can set those boundaries.

Your work will let you work yourself to death. Your family will let you run around picking up after them. Your friends will let you frazzle your brain trying to organise social gatherings all by yourself. And none of this is malicious, it’s not that your friends, or family, or colleagues want you to be unhappy, stressed, exhausted and drained. It’s just that they can’t ever fully understand what it’s like to be you – they don’t know exactly how many things you have on your plate at any one time, they don’t know exactly how much mental or physical energy a particular task takes for you. Only you do. And only you can say “No, the cost of doing this particular favour or committing to this responsibility is too high right now.”

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This week on the YouTube Channel, we explore how Pilates works with the Mind AND Body.

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What would you like to see us cover in upcoming videos? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments section on YouTube, or here on the blog.

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equipmentToday, I wanted to share with you more information about the specialised equipment that a Traditional Pilates studio must have and about the benefits you’ll see from working with the tools of my trade.

Firstly, the most important equipment is a qualified, highly experienced teacher who will asses your posture, taking into account your lifestyle, health and any existing injuries. A teacher will prescribe a range of exercises to your body, and depending on what you’re looking to achieve (flexibility, ease lower back pain, etc.) you may work out on all or only some of these pieces. There is no one-size fits all approach.

Now let’s focus on the top three types of equipment you’ll see at a traditional Pilates Studio.

The Cadillac – Perhaps one of the most iconic, andcadillac unusual looking pieces of Pilates equipment you’ll ever see. A rectangular cage, looking not unlike a hospital bed without a mattress, with arm springs, leg springs and a push through bar. The most important benefit the Cadillac offers is that of precision and control. The Cadillac allows you to slowly break down negative habits of movements, relearning the correct way to move muscle groups to achieve a body working in balance.

reformerThe Reformer – Looking a little like a single bed, with the addition of a sliding carriage, with springs that can be adjusted for strength and resistance. Many exercises can be done on the Reformer, from a variety of positions including standing. The Reformer works the core, building flexibility, balance and strength.

The Wunda Chair – This unassuming piece of equiwunda chairpment works and profoundly strengthens core muscles with cushioned platform; adjustable spring loaded leaver and parallel risers. Extremely versatile, the Wunda chair can work out your core muscles, arms and legs.

If you’ve got any question about whether Pilates may be the right fit for you, get in touch.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

This week on the YouTube Channel, find out why Precision is one of the six core principles of Pilates, and how targeting specific muscles can help us exercise smarter not harder.

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What would you like to see us cover in upcoming videos? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments section on YouTube, or here on the blog.

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toningThere exists an awful phrase to describe how the body changes its distribution of weight with age, the ‘middle age spread’. While it is entirely natural for this to happen, many people do not appreciate the aesthetic changes. You do not have to exercises feverishly to maintain the figure you had at 28. Rather you need to exercise intelligently, focusing on the areas that can slowly lose their definition without exercise being taken.

A toned body is a beautiful side effect of Pilates. Many clients and students keen for this side effect fall in love with the everlasting, more potent benefits of Pilates- energy, flexibility and a healthy posture.

A defined waist, streamlined hips, and toned legs that create an aesthetically flattering figure stems from the Pilates powerhouse: a healthy posture, strong core and gluteal muscles that aren’t just sat on day after day.

To get the benefits of Pilates, have a routine tailored to suit your body and lifestyle (including health problems or injuries) by going to a traditional studio.

With all movements flowing through your core, it is essential to develop your core strength (and in turn flatten your stomach while tightening and defining your waist). To do so may include exercises on the Wunda chair, which will work the rectus abdominous muscles and leg muscles, your teacher will determine the number of repetitions. To strengthen your leg and gluteal muscles and in turn increase tone and definition you may be prescribed exercises on the Reformer.

By following your activities in class and practising as often as you can at home, you’ll see lasting improvements in energy, flexibility and how your figure looks.

If you’ve got any questions about Pilates and how it could fit in with your lifestyle, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Thank you so much for dropping by today.

This week on the YouTube Channel I’m explaining the difference between traditional pilates studios (like us!) and bigger group classes that are popular these days.

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What would you like to see us cover in upcoming videos? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments section on YouTube, or here on the blog.

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Thank you so much for stopping by today.

breast cancer Thank you for joining me today. I want to talk you about how Pilates can support your wellbeing after breast cancer surgery. When you feel ready to exercise after surgery will vary between individuals and whatever additional treatments you may be having.

You must check with your doctor before starting any exercise regime post-surgery.

There will be slight variations on what exercises you can physically do after surgery, but commonly you’ll be told not to lift your arms above shoulder height, lift or push with your arms or carry/lift heavy things. Pilates was created to help injured soldiers rehabilitate. It is gentle, supportive, reduces stress, creates energy and can fit in with anyone’s fitness level.

For example after surgery, you’re advised not to lift your arms above shoulder height. Instead, you’ll be relying on your core muscles to support you and help you to sit up as your arms may be too weak to do so. Pilates will build up your core strength to support your body and bring your body back to muscular balance.

After surgery you may feel very weak, finding it difficult to sit or stand for long periods. Pilates will improve your breathing, energy and posture while not over stressing your joints, and with gentle resistance equipment like the Reformer you can safely do impact exercises.

Rehabilitative exercises after surgery, especially if you’re undergoing additional treatments requires:

• expert help and guidance
• traditional Pilates equipment such as the Wunda chair and Reformer
• a custom routine to support your body and lifestyle
• close monitoring of your movements.

Only a traditional Pilates studio with tiny class sizes can deliver this; I’d strongly caution against trying a Pilates DVD or gym class. With such specific health needs, you’re unlikely to get the attention to detail required to ensure you get the crucial health benefits, without over exertion.
If you’ve got any questions about how Pilates could support you as your recover, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

This week on the YouTube Channel I’m sharing how I went from taking the mickey out of Pilates to teaching it for 20 years!

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

What would you like to see us cover in upcoming videos? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let us know in the comments section on YouTube, or here on the blog.

TUNE IN EVERY WEDNESDAY FOR A NEW VIDEO.

And hit that red subscribe button to be notified of new videos when visiting YouTube, or by email!

Thank you so much for stopping by today.