Q & A
1. Do you suffer from back pain?
There could be many different causes of back pain; pressure on the discs, leg discrepancies, back surgeries, etc; however I believe the main cause is poor posture, incorrect mechanics and a weak core. Even if someone has a thinning disc and previous injuries pain can be lessened or eliminated with a strong core and correct mechanics. I teach both of these fundamental principles for a strong back.
2. Do you need a stronger core?
Almost everyone I see needs a stronger core. The key is not only pure muscle power but the position in which the core is strengthened. I train students in neutral spinal position first, or as I like to call it “home position.” In this position the discs are the safest and strongest. Once that is in place I deviate and teach strength in other positions. However, the body needs to know neutral lumber position first, that is very important for injury prevention.
3. Do you want to improve your posture?
Bad posture generally comes from bad habits. Most people lead very sedentary existences most of the day causing a forward head posture and flexed low back. Strengthening postural muscles and core is the key to good posture.
4. Are you a baby boomer that wants a program that will keep you fit for life?
Every year life span lengthens. We are living longer and longer. In order to stay fit and independent throughout our lives we need to exercise. But what kind of exercise? For many years I taught the largest class sponsored by the state and saw many examples of fit seniors. Through seeing their examples coupled with my own knowledge I’ve been able to create an effective system of keeping people fit for life. Some of the most important points; balance is essential, core strength is important, awareness of posture is critical, and the squat movement is indispensable. I teach all of these skills that can and should be maintained throughout one’s life.
5. Are you an older adult that wants to be strong in functional movements in order to maintain independence?
The only way to maintain functional movement is to practice it. I go over all basic movements of functional living with my students. Having worked in every senior facility in my former school district including nursing homes, retirement homes, adult day health cares, alzheimer’s facilities and gyms with seniors still independent and living at home; I have come to the conclusion that of all movements the squat movement is the most important functional movement and the one that must be maintained in order to retain independence. I go over and over this movement with all of my students.
6. Do you have an injury and need a customized program?
Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs is an excellent doctor with whom I have worked with for sixteen years. Dr. Jacobs and I can review your tests and create a customized program. If you have a physical therapist I can also work with him/her. I have worked in a large physical therapy clinic teaching pilates and am familiar with their protocol. The main thing is that I see my students and I as a team. We work together to implement a program that is best suited to your individual needs. As your body becomes stronger, the program will change and become more advanced addressing your body’s ability to execute more challenging workouts.
7. Have you ever fallen?
The article “Fear of Falling,” in the December 2015 AARP Bulletin states that falling is now the number one cause of emergency room visits for those 45 years and older. Having taught seniors I witnessed the problem first hand. I test all of my students balance and then create a balance program they can use at home. A large part of balance is core strength as well as fast twitch muscle response. I address both of these important aspects of balance and fall prevention.
8. Do you want to improve your form in the gym?
Unlike pilates, the gym environment loads the body with often large amounts of weight. Anytime weight is added correct form is critical. In addition to correct form the core must be engaged. Another crucial set of muscles are the gluteal muscles. I find those who do gym workouts often do not sufficiently activate their gluteal muscles. I am an ACE certified personal trainer so I am familiar with all the gym moves. I teach correct mechanics in addition to core and gluteal activation.
9. Are you a health practitioner (chiropractor, nurse, caregiver etc.) that wants to strengthen your core and form for injury prevention as well as longevity in your profession?
Some professions require physical strength and/or stamina. Being injured on the job is a very common occurrence. Many employers give mandatory training showing how to move and lift on the job, but still many people continue to get injured on the job. I ask my students to show me the moves they do on their job so we can recreate it and strengthen those functional movements to prevent injury.
10. Are you a dancer that wants better form to prevent injuries?
I am a Latin dancer. I’ve performed with Artistic dance company for 3 years and teach Latin dance. Dancers have movements that are larger in range than many other sports, so core becomes very important. The core has to be engaged during movement together with correct mechanics.