Tag Archives: healthy lifestyle

Lifestyle causes cancer

Chris hunt pilates

Lifestyle causes cancer

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Lifestyle causes cancer. It’s quite a statement to accept.

My regular readers will know that I have a big interest in the connection  between lifestyle and health; between physical and mental. I call this “total fitness” and I have written before that we have to consider every single factor when training. It is also something that I stress to clients on my PilatesEVO educations and on my healthy holidays and wellness retreats organised in Barcelona.

So a recent study that concludes  up to nine in ten common cancers are caused by the way people live, futher strenthens my opinions.

Research found that diet, a lack of exercise, pollution and stress lead to the overwhelming majority of cancers of the breast, prostate or lung, which kill tens of thousands of Britons a year.

The findings mean that simple measures such as brisk walking, cutting down on sugar, giving up smoking or living in green areas could have a greater impact on reducing the risk of cancer than some studies have shown.

Scientists said the emphasis was now firmly on the individual to make better lifestyle choices rather than considering cancer to be the result of “bad luck”.

The paper, published in the journal Nature, challenges the controversial theory that a large proportion of cancers are the inevitable result of cellular mistakes in the human body. Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York examined the genetic “fingerprints” of several cancers to calculate how much of the risk was down to environmental factors.

They estimated that between 70 and 90 per cent of the most widespread cancers had extrinsic causes, which include ultraviolet radiation, pollution, stress and other factors that are within people’s control. However, other kinds such as brain cancers are much more likely to be the result of the body’s natural repair mechanisms going haywire.

Cancers arise when defective DNA in cells sends their growth into overdrive. Sometimes this is caused by random copying errors but often the mistakes are introduced by stresses on the cells. Telling the two apart can be difficult.

Over the past year scientists have been arguing about the role of luck after two studies suggested it played a bigger role than previously thought. One, by by Cancer Research UK, found that about 40 per cent of cancer cases could be avoided by adopting a better lifestyle. This amounts to more than 130,000 a year in Britain.

More than a third were linked to smoking, diet, alcohol consumption and excess weight. Tobacco alone was found to cause 23 per cent of cases in men and 16 per cent in women. Experts said the “compelling” new figures were strong evidence that people had a great deal of control over their cancer risk.

Kevin McConway, professor of applied statistics at the Open University, said the study implied that the majority of cases of several major cancers could be avoided if the world could “magic away” controllable risks.

“They do provide pretty convincing evidence that external factors play a major role in many cancers, including some of the most common,” he said.

“Even if someone is exposed to important external risk factors, of course it isn’t certain that they will develop a cancer — chance is always involved. But this study demonstrates again that we have to look well beyond pure chance and luck to understand and protect against cancers.”

Jian-Min Yuan, professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh, pointed to research showing that people who stopped smoking at the age of 55 had half the lung cancer risk of those who quit at 85. The hepatitis B vaccine has also been shown to cut cases of hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, by 70 per cent.

Emma Smith, the senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: “It definitely means that many, many cases of cancer could be easily avoided. We have power over extrinsic factors.

“We can make changes like not smoking, having a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight. If people make those choices you cannot guarantee that there won’t be cancer cases but you can really improve the odds.”

This study does somewhat contradict other studies that found a higher degree of bad luck was involved. But as far as I am concerned, it is a much better thing if we think that we can control cancer by making healthy choices, rather than living unhealthily and putting anything negative down to bad luck. And there is a clear message that it is never too late to make changes that can make a real difference.

Detox with me in Janaury in Barcelona! Click HERE for more information.

Chris Hunt is a Business Consultant and Pilates/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 and Fitness Carnival, conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. He organises Pilates events, mind and body 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.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

Kelly Brook: Pilates or bust?

Kelly Brook Pilates Chris Hunt Pilates

www.chrishuntpilates.com

Kelly Brook: Pilates or bust?

I have explained before that I am not obsessed with celebrity. Honestly. I have never bought Hello Magazine. What I am obsessed with is Pilates. And whilst not every one agrees, it’s my opinion that if someone starts Pilates because their friend, neighbour, sporting hero or favourite celebrity does Pilates, then why not?

I’ve had comments about glamorising Pilates, about how privileged celebrities are, about creating false hope, even about living on a different planet. But I am sure that I live on planet Earth (most of the time) and so whilst I always respect everyone’s opinion, it is my humble opinion that these people are missing the point of my posts and they are taking everything a little too seriously. All I am doing is raising the awareness of Pilates. If you do not or can not understand that, then it is your choice not to read my blog today! :)

Kelly Brook knows how to manipulate the media, but there is no doubting her committment to her Pilates practise. The British model and actress knows a thing or two as well about taking a selfie that accentuates her figure and maximises exposure.

So Pilates is in the news again thanks to Kelly and her camera angle.

Chris Hunt is an international 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 and Fitness 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.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

 

Fifty Shades of Grey: Dakota Johnson, sex and Pilates

fifty shades of grey Chris Hunt Pilates

Fifty Shades of Grey: Dakota Johnson, sex and Pilates

With little over two months until Fifty Shades Of Grey hits cinemas, Dakota Johnson is keeping up with her fitness regime while she can. The actress, who will be hitting the road on promotional duties for the raunchy flick very soon, was seen leaving a Pilates class in West Hollywood last Friday.

This is going to be a massive movie event of 2015 whether we like it or not, but irrespective of the soft-porn appeal of this movie, it is another opportunity for members of the public to see a celebrity who uses Pilates as part of her fitness regime.

The daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson stars as Anastasia Steele in the bestselling erotic book turned movie with Jamie Dornan, who plays the title character Christian Grey. The film, which is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, will be released on Valentine’s Day. How very romantic…

The film’s trailer topped at 93 million Youtube views, besting the new Star Wars: Episode VII teaser, which placed at the second spot with 81 million views. So there is clearly a demand for some excitement in the lives of many people.

This book (which I have not read myself) is the talk of the town, including here in Barcelona. It really seems to have grabbed the attention and interest of many people across the world. I am often asked by people attending one of my Pilates, sport and fitness holidays in Barcelona and Ibiza about the benefits of Pilates and exercise on sexual performance. Maybe I should create a Sex Retreat on the Barcelona Bienestar calendar for 2015!

It is also a topic that I speak about during my PilatesEVO educations around the world.

This is not the first time I have blogged about Pilates and sex. I’d like you to read my previous article “Sex and Pilates, but Mostly Sex” because this sets out my opinion about the possible links between the two. Many people I have spoken to are convinced that regular Pilates has improved their sexual performance, so I am interested to know your opinions.

I am fully aware that some of you reading this will be rolling your rolls and itching to start deriding this article accusing me of glamorising Pilates and cheapening our beloved system for the sake of a few hits on my blog. To you I say this. Firstly all profits of this blog go to charity so I hope I do get lots of clicks. Secondly, as I have said many times before, the aim of this blog is to publicise Pilates and get more people reading about it, understanding it and ultimately doing it. If more people are aware of Pilates, even if it is on the back of a soft-porn film, then I really cannot see that can do any harm.

Many people in your studio, many of your clients will be talking about Fifty Shades of Grey in the coming months. As long as we base our comments in fact and reality, why not use this to further promote what we do and the benefits it can bring?

Chris Hunt is an international 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 and Fitness 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.chrishuntwellness.com and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

Stretching: When should you? How long? Why?

Chris Hunt Blog StretchingStretching: When should you? How long? Why?

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When is the best time to stretch? How long should we stretch for? Why should we stretch? Does Pilates help to improve flexibility in a safer way? All questions that provoke different opinions and attitudes. I have people come from all over the world to work with me here in Barcelona on my fitness holidays or retreats, and I also train teachers in many different countries, so I hear a lot of different ideas and opinions. So….

Today I want to talk about stretching. Whilst I write my articles aimed at fitness professionals to get different opinions, I also know that many members of the public read my blog as well so I want to make this post informative. However this is still a blog post so by its very nature it needs to be short and sweet.

Let’s start with what is not in dispute (at least I hope we can agree on this).

Your body relies on three main types of tissue when it comes to movement: muscles, ligaments and tendons. However, these tissues can become tight over time, resulting in a reduced range of motion and a higher risk for injury. Stretching can help remedy this problem, when used the correct way and at the correct times within your weekly workout schedule.

One of the main long-term effects of stretching is an increase in your overall flexibility. When you make stretching a habit, you slowly stretch out the connective tissues of your body. Over time, this lengthens the tissues, improving the range of motion in your joints, and in turn your overall ability to move. Stretching these muscles and connective tissues can also help relieve muscle stiffness and reduce the risk of joint degeneration.

More flexibility may also decrease the risk of injuries related to overstretched or overextended muscles and other connective tissues. This is true as long as stretching is thought of as a regular routine, instead of acute stretching directly before exercise, sports practice or a game. Stretching after exercise can also help reduce aches and pains, according to the American Council on Exercise. This is due to stretching’s ability to reduce the shortening and tightening effect of tissues that occurs after exercise and leads to aches and pains.

Static flexibility is stretching one muscle or joint for a duration of time, usually about 30 seconds. This method relaxes the muscles by reducing the amount of neural stimulation which also lengthens any tightness in the muscles and tissues. You should perform static flexibility after your workout, not before, to cool down and relax your body.

Dynamic flexibility is moving one or more joints or muscles in their full range of motion repetitively with control. This method increase neural stimulation, prepares your mind and body for the upcoming workout or activity and increase body temperature. You should perform dynamic flexibility before your workout or activity.

Since the body moves in three primary directions, perform your stretches in all planes of motion that your joint allows. For example, rather than stretching your shoulder in one direction, move your shoulder and together in various directions repetitively until it feels looser, such as over your head, out to the side, in front of you and across your body. Add a rotation to your arm and wrist as you move to experiment with different stretches.

Agreed? I hope so. But now let’s talk about the areas where there is less agreement. There is evidence that static stretching before a game or practice may actually hurt athletic performance (Dr. L.W. McDaniel). The negative effects of static stretching before athletic competition can last up to an hour after the stretching has been completed.

Several papers have been published which has produced a substantial body of evidence that stretching may not be the way to improve performance and decrease risk of injury. There are two studies that have reported that strength was reduced up to one hour after static stretching (Fowles et al. 2000] and Kokkonen et al. 1998). Another study that focused on peak torque during concentric isokinetic leg extension discovered that after one active and three passive stretches, strength decreased at both high and low speeds (Cramer et al. 2004)

So in conclusion, in most cases static stretching before exercise reduces an athlete’s power and strength. If the athlete participates in power or strength exercises acute stretching may not be recommended. For many competitive athletes warming up completely prior to competition and stretching after competition or training may be more important. By stretching afterwards the athlete gains flexibility without compromising power and strength. An additional consideration related to stretching would be to not over extend your range of motion (over stretch a muscle) this practice may cause muscle damage.

How does this evidence relate to the public in general, personal training clients and Pilates client’s in particular? What is your experience personally and with your clients? What are your routines for stretching with your clients?

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? You can also subscribe by completing the form on the this BLOG to receive articles and special offers straight to your inbox.

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

 

Sex and Pilates. But mostly Sex.

Kelly Brook Chris Hunt Pilates

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Sex sells. It’s reputably the oldest form of employment and it sells big time.

So when model Kelly Brook, a long-time proponent of Pilates, yoga and dance, gives an interview and says that her sex life have been improved by exercises including Pilates, it get attention and sells magazines.

A simple Google search on “Pilates and sex” pulls up over 2,720,000 results with blogs, forums and tutorials touting how Pilates leads to better sex ranging from “Relight the fire in your relationship by doing Pilates with your Partner” to “The Secret Ingredients Of How to Have Better Sex Doesn’t Come From A Cake Recipe,” “10 Reasons Men Should Try Pilates”, and even eHow offering five-part instructions on “How to Have Better Sex Using Pilates”

Hhhhmmmm. If you know me, then you will know that I am very sceptical about headlines that promise “flat abs using 5 Pilates exercises” or “beach body using Pilates for 10 minutes a day”. So when it comes to “how to have better sex using Pilates” I feel the need for a Pilates community discussion.

There are two sides to every story, and this story also has two sides, men and women. So before I deal with what could be reasons why Pilates is a benefit for sexual performance, I want to consider a more light-hearted look at the differences between Venus and Mars.

Men
As my previous blogs “You do Pilates? Are you gay?” and “Men do Pilates! Ask Dwayne Allen” have tried to highlight, there are in my opinion not enough men doing Pilates. So if the promise of greater prowess in bed does tempt a few more men to try our beloved system, then I’m all for that.

I want to use the example of, err, a friend of mine, Not me you understand, no, definitely not me. A friend. Let’s call this friend, err, Christian. Not Chris, and not his real name you understand. And definitely not me…. So I was talking to Christian about the effect of Pilates on his sex life as he is a Pilates trainer /educator and has been doing Pilates for over 20 years. In his opinion, there does come a sense of greater control but it is not clear exactly what the balance is between the physical and the psychosomatic effects. I should point out that I have not spoken to any of Christian’s former girlfriends, so I have no evidence to prove or disprove this, and if any of them are reading this blog, before posting any derogatory comments Christian has asked me to point out that the night you are talking about he had drunk too much, ok?!

As Rachel in Episode 4.01 of Friends tells Ross in no uncertain terms,Just so you know, it’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy, and it is a big deal!” (Yes I know, they were on a break. Or were they?) Society puts great pressure on male sexual performance as shown by Rachel and the sales of associated drugs, yet very few men connect their sexual function with the health, strength, and general well-being of the rest of their body. In keeping with the general attitude of society nowadays, many people prefer to rush to the chemist for a quick medical solution to any issue they have, and impotence and poor sexual control is no different. I have read the slogan “work hard, train hard, be hard!” Really? It sounds a little like one of those Les Mills’ call to arms, but in my opinion it gives the wrong message. I have head men talk about how their fitness has made them god-like in bed, but I suspect that it’s only their ego’s that have taken on biblical proportions rather than their sexual performance.

Most experts will tell you that probably stress is the number one dysfunction cause, and any benefits men get in bed from training hard is more likely to be in reduced levels of stress and increased self-esteem.

Women

Researching this topic has taken me to places that I never thought I would go on the internet, dark places that I never knew even existed. But in summary, there are very conflicting opinions about the effects of Pilates. One enthusiastic blogger wrote that  “I think the difference needs to be noted between being a better lover & having better orgasms. Not the same thing at all…You can tone your pelvic floor & have better orgasms through either yoga  or through Pilates, but you can still be lousy in bed.” That’s difficult to argue with. Another wrote “My friends who have borne children swear by Pilates for restoration.  And I’ve known more than one over-50 woman who found it very helpful for bladder difficulties. So yeah, I think there’s something to this,”

But my favourite has to be “Pilates teaches women how to fine-tune pressure of the vagina, including the g-spot, against a penis by articulating the pelvis forward and back. This allows a woman to control pressure against her clitoris. A woman with these two skills can give herself and her partner mind-blowing powerful orgasms”. And a hush falls over the room….

I would welcome the opinions of some of my female Pilates colleagues as to the veracity of such statements, but it seems to be a rather bold if not vivid claim to me.

So, getting back to the real world, what could possibly be the factors that might help influence sexual performance? Here is a list I have compiled from my research, but I want you all to add you points, opinions and comments. Remember, this is a “big” debate (if anyone gets that smutty school-yard joke, then please explain it to anyone near you who does not).

1. Pilates increases physical stamina
A key element to Pilates is muscle control. The slow performance of a Pilates movement (I don’t have the time or energy right now to talk about the Pilates systems out there that involve quick movements. I am writing a blog about that, but for now suffice it to say that in my opinion they are simply not Pilates) means that the emphasis should be on the technique.

So, number 1, it could be argued that Pilates gives strength and stamina during sexual activity allowing for a longer, more intimate experience?

2. Your body is your exercise equipment.
Unlike working out with machines at the gym, in Pilates you are using your own body weight to perform the exercises. Because sexual activity often requires the use and sometimes support of own body weight, you will be able to enjoy yourself without any physical discomfort and will not become easily fatigued.

Pilates is certainly functional training, but I had never thought about it being functional training for sex before. Thoughts?

3. Pilates teaches you to be fully present.
Now I am liking this one more. I am always stressing this element of Pilates in the teaching of my system Pilates EVO. There is no doubt that being fully present or “in the moment” enhances our life experiences. By doing regular Pilates, we can learn focus and concentration.

So claim number 3 is that Pilates trains your body and mind to be totally present. This will carry into the bedroom, enabling you to be totally present with your partner for a more intimate and enjoyable experience. As Paolo Coelho says in his book Brida, sex should involve all the senses at the same time.

4. Greater flexibility means more creativity.
Whilst trying to get out of my head images of the Karma Sutra, it is of course true that Pilates gives more muscle flexibility and improves the health of joints.

So number 4 is that Pilates allows you to get into positions you previously thought to be impossible. It also increases back and hip flexibility, eliminating the back pain some people suffer from during sex.

5. Increase blood flow equals more intense orgasms.
Moving onto a slightly more contentious topic, it is said that Pilates brings increased blood flow to the pelvic area.

So claim number 5 is that this continuous rush of fresh blood and oxygen to the sexual organs results in an increase in libido and more intense orgasms.

6. Pilates reduces your stress level
Safe ground at last, and one that I suspect very few will dispute. As I have already mentioned, the most common cause of sexual dysfunction is stress. Pilates breathing teaches breath control, and this method of breathing not only increases physical health, but it also reduces blood pressure and triggers a relaxation response in the brain.

Claim number 6 is that Pilates = less stress which = more sex.

7. Pilates gives increased self-confidence
The vast majority of my clients have told me that they experience increased self-esteem from their Pilates practise. It’s a logical leap that greater physical confidence carries over into the bedroom, and that the removal of negative self-conscious thoughts about your body might improve your performance.

So claim number 7 is that Pilates teaches you to love your body and this allows you to be less worried about body image and have more fun.

8. Pilates enables you to have great sex into later life
Last one (phew), and it can be argued a bit of a mixture of the ones above. It is said that sexual dysfunction can increase with age in both men and women.  Pilates focuses on the deep muscles of the abdomen and the pelvic floor, strengthening the muscles that support your internal organs.

So our last claim, numero 8, is that increased overall muscle strength, greater flexibility, healthy joints and greater self-confidence means that Pilates contributes to a great sex life well into your golden years.

If you are still reading, and haven’t rushed screaming from the room looking for your little Black Book (sorry, showing my age there, I mean scrolling though your SnapChat contacts) so you can call your previous sexual partners to check on your performance, then I really want your opinions.

Some of the benefits of Pilates (and physical exercise in general) will have fairly obvious benefits for life in general and sexual performance, but as an exercise system, can we really claim that Pilates has greater benefits than most other systems?

I am very interested to hear your thoughts so please share this article with as many Pilates people as you can. But maybe not your ex because their opinion may be a little biased.

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?

Chris pays 50% of any money made from this BLOG to his charity partners. More details can be found by clicking on www.chrishuntwellness and selecting the “charity partners” tab.

 

Stormy Barcelona Cathederal

 

Cathederal in the rain

www.chrishuntwellness.com

It’s a stormy morning in Barcelona today, but I like to walk and run in the cool summer rain. We have to accept and see the beauty in rain and storms, and the sun is never far behind.

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?

Barcelona: A runner’s dream

The Streets 1

www.chrishuntwellness.com

“I see drawings and pictures in the dirtiest of corners”: Van Gogh

Everytime I run around Barcelona, it gives me so many photo opportunities. For such a small city, it’s jam-packed with beauty.

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?

 

 

Free Pilates Session: The more we give, the more we recieve

Chris Hunt Pilates

You want a free Pilates session with Chris Hunt? Tweet “I want Chris Hunt Pilates” with the hashtags #chp, #pilates and #barcelona and you can win!

www.chrishuntwellness.com

I talk a lot about being Buddhist and about giving. In these times of austerity, maybe we do not have as much money to give away, but no matter what our financial situation, we can always give away our time and our expertise. And I have absolutely no doubt that the more we give, the more we receive.

So, as I am someone who practises what I preach, I will be giving away a free Pilates session with me every week. You can have the session in person if you are in Barcelona, we can arrange to meet if I will be travelling to your country soon, or you can have the session online.

All you have to do is follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/thechrishunt and tweet “I want Chris Hunt Pilates” with the hashtags #chp, #pilates and #Barcelona. Simple.  You can enter each week as many times as you want to and I will announce the winner every Friday. So good luck, and I hope to see you soon for a private Pilates session!

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?

 

Our proud Pilates Community; we are stronger together

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Usually in my blog I try to bring a more light-hearted look to Pilates and health. I was going to write today about Pilates in Russia following my latest visit. But if you have been reading my articles over the past months you will see that I have a big interest in the issues of mental health and depression and their link to physical exercise. I do not seek controversy, but I am not afraid to talk about the topics that some people would rather ignore. I could write interesting articles about Shoulder Bridge, but I leave such articles to other people.

I lost my father to Alzheimer’s (see my blog “I lost my father, don’t lose yours” and I have also talked about depression and the link between mental and physical health in several previous articles. So it was with great sadness that over the weekend I read about the suicide of a 34 year-old Pilates teacher in New York last week, who jumped from her Upper West Side building.  My deepest and sincere condolences to her family and friends. I am sure that some people reading this article will know the lady in question, so I hope you will forgive me for writing about this tragic event.

There are suggestions about incurable disease and mental health issues. I have personal experience of the dark places that can lead people to depression and even suicide. I lost a close friend many years ago and I found it very difficult to understand how I did not see the signs. But the truth is that as teachers we are performers, so most of us have a great “game face” that we switch on during those times when we would rather be anywhere else than standing smiling in front of a group of people. As much as we all love Pilates and bringing our knowledge to the communities that we live in, we are human as well, so we have difficult situations to deal with and we are allowed to be sad sometimes. “The show must go on” is an old cliché but it has a lot of relevance for many people every day.

I love being a Pilates teacher, and I love helping people to change their lives (it is important to remember that we do not change people’s lives, we simply give people the knowledge and belief so that they can change their own lives). I also love the Pilates community. Sure, people criticize me and the things that I write in my blogs sometimes, and of course I do not and cannot expect everyone to always agree with my point of view. And there are also always people in every walk of life who try to make a name for themselves by being negative as they find it easier to criticize than praise. But everywhere I travel from Russia to the US, and every Pilates forum and group I am a member of,  I always have a strong sense of community, a sense that the vast majority of Pilates professionals want only to help each other, want to share their knowledge and experience.

It is for this reason that I love our community, and I always try to give more than I receive. It is also for this reason that I created Pilates Carnival, conventions that give all profits to children’s charities and where I ask everyone including the presenters (and of course me) to work for no money, donating their time and energy for the good of our community. Of course some presenters are horrified with this thought and I have been accused of cheapening Pilates and devaluing the system. Whilst I always respect the opinions of other people, I think these people simply do not get it. They are so commercially orientated they fail to see that by promoting themselves and Pilates in an environment that benefits charities as well, they are creating a positive energy that no money can buy. And of course it is not rocket science for these people to realise that if you do a Pilates convention for charity attended by over 100 Pilates teachers/studio owners and hundred’s of member’s of the public, you might just get some good exposure and new clients from the experience. But I respect their life choices, thank them for their time, and I simply do not work with them because they are not “my type” of people.

But I am happy that the majority of Pilates people are my type, they give more than they take, love much more than they hate. To paraphrase Lennon and McCartney, in the end the love we save is equal to the love we gave. So let’s keep supporting each other, looking after each other and looking out for each other. Most things in life are more important than money or reputation. Much more important.

In the U.S.: If you are contemplating attempting suicide, there are people who can help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

In the U.K.: For confidential support call the Samaritans  on 08457 90 90 90 or visit a local Samaritans branch

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?

Exercising on the beach: Is it more than sandcastles and ice-cream?

Healthy Beach Barcelona

www.chrishuntwellness.com

I am excited. Those who know me will also know that I get excited a lot, and it’s usually to do with either snowboarding, surfing, a new guitar, TRX training, ice-cream, or most typically Pilates.

Today I am excited about my new project in Barcelona, Healthy Beach Barcelona. I have said many times that health must be holistic. You cannot just run, life weights, eat tomatoes or even only do Pilates. To be truly healthy, sure you can do all those things and more, but you also need spiritual and mental health. And we all know the psychological effects of feeling and looking good. Wellness is a word that is used a lot nowadays, and for me wellness encapsulates (a word that is not used enough nowadays) the holistic nature of health. So Healthy Beach Barcelona offers Pilates (naturally), fitness, nutrition, massage, meditation, NLP, Life Coaching and a range of beauty procedures.

So why am I excited about Healthy Beach Barcelona? It is because Pilates specifically and wellness generally has historically been the reserve and the domain of more mature people, but with Healthy Beach Barcelona I am introducing many concepts to a much younger audience. Starting here on the beach in Barcelona. Which brings my onto the purpose of my article, what are the benefits of exercising outside?

I grew up with Aerobics Oz Style on Sky Sports, which is certainly not a bad way to start the day. But there are other more serious benefits, and I think the most obvious is that the scenery and fresh air (assuming you are not exercising next to a major road) simply raise the spirits and are great for emotional well-being.

But my favourite place is the beach. Sand is constantly shifting and changing, demanding various muscles in the body to come into play that might not normally engage on a pavement or gym floor workout. For example when doing Pilates, sand is on different levels, and you have to adjust to that difference which brings a new element to exercise. It also removes the issue of the hard surface on your knees. When you kneel on your mat laid over the sand, your joints are cushioned.

Running in the sand is also kinder on the joints than running on pavement because there is less impact on the body. I am using my bodyFUNC© functional training system for Healthy Beach Barcelona, and running and movement through sand forces you to use a fuller range of motion as it requires the body to move through a full range of motion, which stretches your muscles more than running on the pavement. Studies suggest that it is possible to burn up to 1.6 times as many calories for that extra effort. Sand develops the arch strength in your foot, the calves and all the muscles below the knee, as well as the quads.

However, a word of warning, you need to work up to a sand run or workout because it might be very different to what you and your body are used to. Start by the shoreline where the sand is flat and it’s packed down. When you feel comfortable, you can mix up your run by moving into the softer sand for a minute, like doing an interval workout, and then moving back into the harder sand. Tread carefully and go at a slower pace than what you’re used to.

Barefoot is a popular today (I have previously written articles for Barefoot Running Magazine and I will write about that next week) as it is argued that it is good for building up muscles in the foot and creating a more natural gait, as opposed to shoes dictating the gait. Beach running is a great way to try the method out. When I train people on the beach, I build them up in their running shoes by the shoreline and then the softer sand and then go for a short run on the harder sand with no shoes on.

Obviously there are considerations to be aware of when training on the beach. Look out for debris, such as bottles and sticks, wear sun-block, don’t trend on people sunbathing or little Johnny’s sandcastle,  and most important for me (see reasons why I get excited above) keep clear of ice-cream sellers.

By the way, for those who were wondering where my celebrity was today, my picture today is of actress Ileana D’Cruz, someone who regularly does Pilates and exercises outside. She credits Pilates with her health so that is how she earns her place in my blog today. Celebrity watchers can now relax. I nearly went a whole blog without a celebrity! It’s not possible…. 😉

Health and wellness are all about feeling good, and for me there is no better place to feel good than in the fresh air on a beach. If you haven’t tried it, then I recommend that you do. And next time you are in Barcelona, click on Healthy Beach Barcelona and pop along for a session, or contact me before you arrive and we can organise a beautiful retreat.

If life is a beach, then why not be a healthy beach?

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?