Jennifer Anniston, “Friends” with Pilates

 

Jennifer

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Why such a fuss about celebrity Pilatistas? Because it helps to raise the profile of Pilates which can only be a very good thing.

Jennifer Anniston, actress, is a life-long devotee of Pilates. She describes why in her own words:

“I’m a Pilates person. It’s great. I had a hip problem. I had a chronic back, a pinched nerve and a hip problem and it’s completely solved all of it. I love it. It makes me feel like I’m taller.”

Jennifer touches on many of the benefits of regular Pilates, and it’s true that many people come to Pilates as a remedy for an injury or problem. But once you start and you feel the benefits, then you usually continue for life, rehabilitating the injury and making the body stronger and more flexible than it ever was before.

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– Jennifer Anniston

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, a Pilates beauty

 

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The beautiful model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has posted some pictures of her doing Pilates, and she looks great.

The British model is best known for her modelling work with Victoria’s Secret and Burberry, and Pilates is an important part of her exercise regime.

I cannot promise you a body like Rosie’s, but Pilates will certainly help you to achieve the body that you want.

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Bradley Cooper, Mental Health & Exercise

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Dementia and mental illness are not the most common subjects of Hollywood Blockbusters, but their have been some notable exceptions, for example the excellent performance of Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook depicting someone with Bipolar Disorder.

As a fitness professional and as someone who lost my father to dementia (I wrote in a previous blog, “Dementia: I lost my father, don’t lose yours” about my very personal experience with Alzheimer’s disease) the link between exercise and diet is one that really interests me.

Since my last blog on this topic then, there has been new evidence linking diet and exercise to the avoidance of dementia, an illness that is reaching epidemic proportions in our aging population.

A recent study by the University of California has concluded that high levels of “bad” cholesterol are linked to the presence of abnormal brain proteins that are seen in Alzheimer’s disease. Whereas previous studies have linked high cholesterol to Alzheimer’s, this is the first direct link between cholesterol levels in the blood to the concentration of amyloid plaques, the hallmark of this degenerative disease, in the brains of living patients.

The study reached the conclusion that whilst effects were small to moderate, over a prolonged period they can make a significant difference in reducing the prevalence of Alzheimer’s. Eating foods such as lentils, garlic, oily fish and avocados, and avoided saturated fats can help to lower “bad” cholesterol levels.

Another study reported in the US at the University of Pittsburgh concluded that physical exercise is as important in reducing the risk of dementia as keeping the mind active. By simply taking a brisk walk three of four times a week can effectively grow back the brain. The study involved 120 people aged 60 to 80. Half of the group had a brisk walk for 30 to 45 minutes three to four times a week. The other half only did light stretching exercises. After the 12 month test period, cognitive tests and MRI scans showed that the group who walked had a 2% growth of their hippocampus region of the brain, the part that is crucial for memory, and a similar growth in the pre-frontal cortex, the area involved in decision making and social behaviour. By contrast, the people in the other group showed a reduction in brain size which is in keeping with the “expected” rate of decline in the elderly.

It is not clear yet exactly how exercising can make the brain grow and improve brain function, but it is possible that the increase in blood flow improves the oxygen supply to the brain. Another possibility is that exercise encourages growth genes to trigger new connections between neurons.

Neural plasticity is a growing area of interest to science, and studies such as this one clearly show that the brain is able to grow well into old age, and that the “inevitable” decline in function is not as inevitable as was once thought.

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Madonna showers after Pilates

 

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Guess who is back? Yes, Madonna has again been seen leaving her Pilates second Pilates class this week, so she seems to be increasing her Pilates workouts.

Earlier this week I blogged about Madonna as the Queen of Pilates (http://thechrishuntblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/madonna-queen-of-pilates/) as she left her session. This time Madge left with wet hair which shows that she isn’t shy to shower at the studio and bear all. Although she has been doing that most of her career, but then who wouldn’t want to show off such an amazing body!

Thank you Madge for flying the Pilates flag!

Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator based in Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also organises Pilates Carnival and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. For more information about Pilates with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway?

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Miley Cyrus, half-naked thanks to Pilates

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A quiet Sunday evening in Milwaukee? Not when Miley Cyrus is in town!

The 21-year-old singer pop star says that she didn’t intend to step out in nothing but her underwear to perform the song “23” during a show, but that is exactly what happened when. She said on twitter “Not a new outfit for 23. I didn’t make my quick change and I couldn’t not come out for the song so I just had to run out in my undies.”

She is no stranger to controversy, and is she also no stranger to Pilates. It’s a regular part of her workout routine, including the sidekick series on the Cadillac for legs and butt, then plenty of ab work.

Where you love Miley or hate her, one thing is for certain that she can go on stage in nothing but underwear with confidence!

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Madonna Pilates Queen!

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Madonna Pilates Queen

Madonna must be the celebrity Pilates Queen. The 55 year-old pop superstar and actress was see last week in West Hollywood on her way to her Pilates class. She was one of the first celebs to include Pilates in her exercise regime, and she has done more than most to raise the profile of Pilates around the world. But of course Pilates alone is not enough for any exercise regime, so Madonna spends six mornings a week completing a mix of workouts and cardiovascular exercises.

She recently told Elle magazine “I mix it up – Pilates, gyrotonics, yoga. I do it six days a week, with Sundays off. Actually, Sunday is a day of horse-riding. There’s no such thing as a day off.” Despite her regime, she still has “fat days” when she worries about her weight. She told Elle “I run longer on the treadmill and don’t eat as much the next day, so then it evens out, but I’m sure it’s all in my head.” So she is human after all, and much like the rest of us! I often hear people say that celebrities are lucky because they have the money and time to exercise more than “normal” people. But I disagree. You do not need money to exercise, and the celebrities I have worked with usually have far less time than the rest of us. What celebrities like Madonna have is dedication and commitment. And those are qualities available to all of us.

Chris Hunt is a Pilates and functional training presenter and educator based in London and Barcelona, Spain. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength.  He also created Pilates Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises Pilates events, retreats, fitness holidays and sports holidays in Barcelona and Ibiza. For more information about training with Chris in Barcelona, please click on Barcelona Bienestar. To learn more about Chris Hunt, please read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

Chris Hunt pays all profits made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntpilates.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

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Getting to the Core of the Winter Olympics

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The more medals that are won at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the more medal winners come out of the closet and admit a dark secret: they regularly practise Pilates. From medal winners Kaetlyn Osmond to Julia Mancuso, it’s becoming very apparent that core exercises in general and Pilates in particular form a vital part of the athlete’s training. As a Pilates presenter and snowboarder myself, I know from personal experience just how true this is. But why is Pilates so relevant for alpine sports?

Skiing and snowboarding bring their own special demands on the body (check out http://www.skicorestrength.comfor more). If these demands are not adequately considered, then the skier or boarder, whatever their level, will reduce their performance potential, and thus reduce their success and enjoyment. By carrying out a specific Pilates training program, benefits can be gained such as:

·               Improved endurance, so ski and board for longer

·               Improved strength in the appropriate muscles

·               Improved flexibility and agility

·               Improved balance and control

·               A reduction in the risk of injury by strengthening areas such as the lower back and knee joints and muscles.

The fundamental skills needed to ski or board successfully are balance, rotary movements, edging movements, and pressure control. Most muscles of the lower body are used, as are the abdominal muscles and some upper body muscles. A planned training program carried out during the off-season can make dramatic improvements. Also, warm-up and warm-down routines can help before and after skiing and boarding.

In order to complete a turn, there must be adequate strength in the core, buttocks, lower back and legs. Flexibility is needed, especially in the hips. Pilates gives all of these things. Skiing and boarding places great demands on the lower body, which can lead to overuse injuries. The most obvious place for such injuries is the legs, and especially the thighs. It is not so obvious that the core has a vital role to play in keeping the body upright and balanced, and enabling the hips to turn.

The shoulders and back can also become fatigued, and are prone to falling injuries. Such injuries can be reduced by strengthening these areas. This also applies to hand and wrist injuries, which can again be reduced by strengthening the forearm and wrist.

I will be hitting the slopes of the Spanish Pyrenees this weekend, and whilst I will never have the ability or talent to snowboard for team GB, as a Pilates and functional trainer presenter, I know that my body is giving me the best possible chance to enjoy the mountain experience. If there was a competition for drinking Hot Chocolate, then I would definitely be in with a shout!

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