Your brain really is amazing. It controls the functioning of nearly every other part of your body and its systems. But so often we seem to invest more time in our bodies than we do in our brain and nervous system.
This may be in part because our knowledge of the brain’s functioning is relatively new and still expanding. It takes time for research to be widely accepted and shared in a way that a broad audience can understand and act upon it. As science advances, the facts are becoming clear. We really can benefit from actively tending to our brain’s health.
Until relatively recently, neurobiologists believed that our brain was completely formed in our early years and that it altered little, if at all, when we were fully grown. We now know that the brain is an amazingly pliable organ, changing all the time in response to our activities, our experience and the stimuli in the world around us.
The brain has a wonderful plasticity, continually creating new connections and pathways in the maze of neurons that bundled together create our ability to think, reason, remember and react to new challenges, information and experiences. Most of these changes occur naturally, beneath the level of our conscious mind, at the subconscious and unconscious level.
Joseph Pilates, the father of the Pilates exercise program, began his life in Germany as a scrawny, sickly little boy. This weakling-of-a-child grew up to become a bodybuilder, professional boxer and the founder of one of the best-known physical conditioning programs.
Believing that physical health could be effected by controlling the mind, Joe Pilates developed a series of movements based on yoga, gymnastics and kung fu, that emphasized the importance of breath control and core muscle development.
Pilates originally called his physical regiment “contrology” and wrote about it in a now-famous book called “Return to Life Through Contrology”, first published in 1945. The Pilates method eventually took on the name of its founder. Joseph Pilates taught many students who carried on his work, with Romana Kryzanowska being one of the most celebrated Pilates disciples. Two of Roman’s students, Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen, wrote a book in the early 1980′s called The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning, that outlined 6 key principles of Pilates including concentration, control, center, flow, precision and breathing.
Concentration: Pilates poses are not easy. They often require that two different muscles be doing two different things at the same time. This requires intense focus and concentration. It is now believed that mental concentration, when combined with physical exercise, can actually improve brain functions such as memory and problem solving.
Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates who originally called in Contrology. He developed the principles during World War I in a German internment camp. He taught his students using minimal equipment after studying yoga and how animals move. He has been given credit for helping his fellow inmates survive the 1918 flu pandemic because they were in such good physical condition.
Joseph Pilates remained in Germany after the war teaching his methods to police officers and fitness experts including dancers. He and his wife opened a studio in New York after he immigrated to the US in 1925. They established a very devout following in the dance and performing arts community. He died in 1967 at age 83.
Benefits of Pilates
The central theory they developed involves a focus on breathing and aligning the spine as well as strengthening the torso and abdominal muscles. By doing slow controlled movements, Pilates resembles yoga. Benefits include:
- a significant increase in core strength
- better mobility of the spine and the whole body in general
- increased balance and stability
- greater coordination skills
- a stronger mind-body connection
- improved posture
- more toned legs, abs and butt
Are you constantly feelings like you are on the right track with your diet but the pounds just aren’t coming off? There are so many different reasons that you may not be having success quite yet. Everyone is different and all diet plans will not work for everyone! Cut too many calories or remove certain foods from your daily diet and you may be causing your own doom – and not even know it! It will only take some small tweaks to find your body’s diet “sweet spot” – exactly what your body needs to thrive and drop those stubborn pounds. Here are a few reasons why your diet is not working.
1. You aren’t eating enough! I know… it sounds crazy, right?! But not eating enough can wreak havoc on your metabolism. You may be working out and eating a healthy diet low in calories, but still maintaining or gaining weight! When you do not eat enough calories, your body begins to think that it needs to conserve calories – because it thinks you are starving! Your body may also begin to lose muscle mass and your energy will be very low. It is always helpful when beginning a weight loss plan that you start from a higher amount of calories and work your way down slowly to see what amount of calories will help you lose about 2 pounds per week. Weight loss takes time and patience, trial and error are all necessary components. There is not a specific amount of calories everyone should eat, because we are all different.
2. You’re drinking WHAT?! Many people on “diets” tend to think that diet soda is a staple. I understand how this can make sense to someone, because they are substituting a 120 calorie can of soda for one with 0 calories. But just because you are having diet soda with a meal does not make it any better for you. I worked in a fast food restaurant as a teen, and it always blew my mind at the foods people would order, such as a double bacon cheeseburger and large fries, and get a diet coke to drink. Do you really think that makes it OK? I used to laugh at this when I was in my teens, but now I feel sad and sympathetic for the folks doing that. Proper nutrition is not known by everyone in America, clearly, so it is my job to help educate. When I tried out Weight Watchers, I would have multiple diet sodas a day. I recently began researching more into the trend, and was surprised at what I found. I have not had a diet soda in over 6 months since I discovered this! We all know that diet soda is very sweet – Aspartame and Splenda, which is what is typically used to sweeten diet drinks – is extremely sweet.
It is important what types of food you eat. Fibre rich foods such as fresh vegetables or fresh fruit can help prevent us from conditions such as constipation or from having bowel problems, and that is because these types of foods will break down quicker in your digestive system and let your body eliminate the waste that it does not need.
It can usually take anywhere up to 72 hours for the remains of foods to pass through your system. It is much easier to pass through your system if you eat foods such as whole grain bread, cereal, all types of fresh fruit or green vegetables such as beans or peas.
If you tend to eat low fiber foods such as sugary foods or white flour, these can stay in your intestines longer because they take longer to digest.
It is always best to eat food regularly. It is not good for you to keep eating small amounts of food at short intervals. Try to eat larger amounts at regular intervals, and it is recommended that about three to four hours between meals is probably about the right amount of time.
This would be dependent on what type of food you eat and obviously how much you eat.
The human body also needs to rest before and after meals, probably a ten minute rest before food and thirty minutes after a meal is considered to be all that is needed.