Why a Strong Core Rocks
November is the time of year we are filled with gratitude... that we survived Halloween, another election, and got to set our clocks back for Daylight’s Savings, woo hoo! It’s also about giving thanks around the table for our family, friends and fitness-- but in our case, we call it PLANKSGIVING!!
That’s right. This month we celebrate the almighty CORE and give thanks (and plenty of planks) for all the amazing perks a healthy, strong, Pilates-pumped core can bring to our lives everyday. If you haven’t heard, or need a serious Reformer reminder, here it goes:
Your ‘core’ is your midsection--the powerhouse--the center of your body that houses your deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine. When you work out your core and keep it strong, your entire body benefits.
Planks A lot
Plank poses (‘the push up-and-hold’) are perfect core conditioners because they integrate your trunk-pelvis-shoulder girdle areas-- the top trio tighteners-- for flat and flexible fitness. It’s considered one of the go-to core positions as you’re engaging your abs, back and core, but also enhancing glutes and hamstrings. You can also vary plank poses but the key is always the same--endurance and holding tight. In no time you’ll see and feel incredible results!
Benefits of a Strong Core
When your core is weak your entire body is more likely to experience fatigue, weight gain and injury due to muscle loss and atrophy. Basically a major buzz kill for your bod. When you start strengthening your core, it’s amazing what happens:
Core training is not about killing your abs the first time out, it’s about leaning in and learning those techniques that will bring you the best results. We’ve all been to the gym pumping weights and pushing reps that focus on building short, bulky muscles--and lots of potential for injury, too.
Pilates focuses on efficient training, quality over quantity, with the hard-core goal of overall body improvement. It’s a mind-body work out, with added benefits of proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentrating on smooth and flowing movements. You’ll not only learn how to control and master the movement in your work out, you’ll see optimum results in reduced time and gain the muscle tone and flexbility you’ve always wanted. Keep it up and it’s yours to keep!!
Planksgiving at Mantra: This month we give thanks to strong cores everywhere with our mighty Mantra “Plankathon”!!! Join the ranks with planks at all three studios-- Tampa, Sarasota and OC-- sign ups ready to roll. Speaking of rolls--we’re your home away from kitchen for some Megaformer pre-holiday classes and studio specials, guaranteed to de-stress and delight. Check out schedules and upcoming festive fit fun... Happy Turkey Day from all of us to all of you!!
Britta Wilder is a writer based in San Clemente. With a background in film and journalism, she is currently working on a novel. She gives planks everyday for Mantra.
October could be our most important month of the year. Of course, there’s Columbus Day (oh, look--we discovered land!), and Halloween (oh, look--trick or treat!) but what we’re really talking about is the biggest event of all: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer found in women. According to government health agencies, about one in eight females born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point. Those are scary statistics, but the good news is we can prevent the worst case outcome with early detection.
Most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. Which means scheduling our annual screenings (mammograms) and staying on top of our overall health. What’s really exciting are the many new ways we are learning to predict and detect cancer. As medical technology keeps improving, our ability to find data and use it (genetic testing) helps us to better understand our bodies and why some of us are more likely to develop cancer.
Here’s a breakdown on MUST-DO screenings, along with new options to help predict and prevent breast cancer:
Mammogram - This image-based screening is still considered the go-to test for detecting abnormal activity in breast tissue. It’s uncomfortable and a pain-in-the-boob, but it can also save your life. Once a year you gotta Squeeze to be safe!!
Self-screen - Monthly massage/checking for yourself is a great way to, literally, ‘keep a breast’ of sudden lumps or swelling. If something doesn’t feel right, or you detect a cyst, call your doctor right away and schedule an appointment.
Technology has made in-patient and home-use genetic testing available (like “23 and Me”) which can help determine your risk for certain kinds of cancer. These DNA-based tests assist doctors in looking for mutations or changes in specific genes, also helping link you to vital information concerning BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (cancerous).
If you have a mutation in the BRCA1 gene or the BRCA2 gene, you are more likely to develop breast and ovarian cancer. You could also be at higher risk for developing other types of cancer, too.
Genetic testing may be important to you if you have:
-a family member who had breast cancer before age 50;
-a family member who had cancer in both breasts;
-a family member who had both breast and ovarian cancer;
-a male family member who had breast cancer;
-two or more family members who had breast cancer;
-Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish heritage
If breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family, it’s especially important to keep on top of all your screenings as the genetic link plays a big role in your chances of developing these cancers. What’s more, men are impacted, too--over 2,000 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
Talk with your doctor about all of your family history and discuss options for screenings and further predict-and-prevent genetic testing. Most mammograms are covered by insurance for women over 40, so find out if you qualify.
‘Screen’ or ‘Gene,’ these tests should top the TO-DO for yourself and your loved ones. Make a date, go with your bestie and get your breasties examed today!!
Burn for Breast Cancer 2018: Mantra Sarasota and Tampa studios are teaming up with Fit 4 Prevention to host special donation classes to support the “Keep A Breast” charity. Sign up now to reserve your spot and raise funds for this fierce cause!!
New Addition Update: Mantra is expanding our family of fitness (as many of you know) and our latest studio is scheduled to open this month in Orange County, CA!!! We love our coasts and our sunshine, our Megaformers, our Lagree, our pilates, so look for amazing offers and sweet treats for members to help celebrate our Mantrapolis!!
Britta Wilder is a writer based in San Clemente. With a background in film and journalism, she is currently working on a novel. #nationalbreastcancerawareness