Getting into a Routine Online

Routine online, online pilates

So here we are, nearly a year into a global pandemic and our whole world has changed and as I write this, we are in our third lockdown. It’s not a great place to be to be honest, but like with everything, there is always some good that comes out of bad times. In this blog, I’d like to consider how we can focus on the good and build positivity into our lives with some routine online.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog, when we went into lockdown number 1 last March, the whole world was turned on its head and I had to think differently if I wanted to continue to run my Pilates classes. I made the decision to go online and although it has been an interesting and at times rocky road, I think I am now seeing the benefits of teaching an online Pilates class.

Don’t get me wrong, it is still good to see people face to face, but this is not an option at the moment and won’t be for some time to come and I believe movement is so important and being online works. Online, I can see all my clients and make sure they are doing what they should be doing and sometimes, doing what they shouldn’t be doing. 😀  Nothing gets past me!

With my online classes. I know all my clients and if they have any injuries or can’t do certain exercises for any reason, they all know, there is always an alternative. My clients have also become professionals at getting their screens in the correct place and I don’t even have to tell them to make adjustments, they just do it so now I very rarely see a ceiling or the occasional leg or arm!

So how do you get into a routine online?
It can be a challenge I know, because there is something about having a commitment of being at a class in my studio at a set time each week. That’s the routine element of it, so you need to apply the same mentality to an online class. One of my clients recently said to me, “I pencil my online classes in my diary each week and I don’t book anything else in as I know that’s the time I do my Pilates.” I could have kissed her, when she said that, obviously not possible on screen or in these Covid times, but I was so pleased when she said that, because really, that’s it in a nutshell. You have to give the same priority to doing a class online as if you were getting in your car and driving to a class, but how great that you don’t need to sit in traffic and you can wear your pyjamas if you want to.

It has been proven that it takes 6-8 weeks to make or break a habit, so once you get into the habit of doing a class online, it should be no different to joining a class in my studio, creating a routine online. There is also the convenience factor of joining another class, if for whatever reason the class you were planning on joining, doesn’t happen, because you needed to sort out your kids or the phone rang at the wrong time.

It’s also not a problem if a client does join late, as there is no disruption to the rest of the class. I’m sure some of my clients join late on purpose, so they can get out of doing a plank or another exercise, they maybe don’t like!

I know quite often some clients have hopped on to a class as they were feeling tight or stressed and an hour class has made them feel so much better.

One of the challenges of getting into a routine online is consistency and this doesn’t change, even when we are in a pandemic. To help my clients become consistent with their Pilates practice, they also have access to a video library with over 25 videos available, which can be used at a time that suits them. What I’ve realised from my own experience, is finding the time in the day to fit in some Pilates, so I have recorded lots of 15 minute videos, this makes it more achievable for them to find the time to add Pilates into their day, therefore making it a routine. Win win as far as I’m concerned.

It has never been more important to move with most of us sitting at our desks far too much and not walking as much in a day as we should do, so having the opportunity to come to an online Pilates class where we spend a lot of time doing strength and mobility exercises and stretches can counter balance all that sitting.

What my clients say about a routine online
I did ask some of my clients, what do you enjoy about the online classes? One of my clients said being virtual has enabled her to keep moving, when she would have struggled to come to a class in my studio as she can’t drive at the moment.

Another client said, “It’s so convenient, I don’t need to have to add an extra 30 minutes to my day to get to your class and it’s been great not coming out in the cold in the winter.” Always a bonus.

Another client is so happy she can now do more classes in a week and is really feeling the benefits of extra movement and stretching and I have to say that I have seen great improvements in my client’s posture as they are able to do multiple classes in the week.

Another client always struggled to come to class due to childcare and can now join the classes whilst her toddler is asleep or if she is awake, she quite often joins in. I love watching her get involved and it has meant her mum and dad have been able to keep up their Pilates classes.

It hasn’t been the easiest time for everyone over the past year, but I am so proud of my clients’ commitment and now they are reaping the benefits of regular online classes. I think it would be fair to say, that now they are in a routine online, I think it would be difficult for them to now stop. Also, they’d have me nagging them, asking where they are!

So, if you are thinking, I’ll just wait until life returns to normal, then maybe think again, because the online world isn’t that scary and the benefits far outweigh the negatives. If you’re still not sure, ask some of my clients, who were sceptical at the beginning, but now are loving their online Pilates classes. Please do get in touch if you have any questions at all.

How old are you based on your balance?

Balance with Lisa Hill Pilates

This term’s theme is all about balance and I’d like to share a simple exercise you can do to work out your age based on your balance.  I’d also like to share some tips to help you improve your balance. It’s vey hard to find balance in the world we are living in at the moment as we find ourselves in another lockdown.

What is balance?
I Googled what is balance and this is what appeared:
An example of balance is being able to walk on a tight rope. An example of balance is when a person divides his time evenly between work, family, and personal pleasure. An example of balance is a person who doesn’t get upset very often and doesn’t let the little things bother them.

I believe with Pilates it can help you with all three examples, but definitely being able to balance on a tightrope would be a great achievement, but for most of us being stable when we walk or stand still is enough of a goal.

Why is it so important to be able to balance?
According to NHS statistics one third of the population over the age of 65 will fall each year. “A third of people over 65, and half of people over 80, fall at least once a year. Falls are the most common cause of death from injury in the over 65s and cost the NHS over £2bn a year and over 4 million bed days. Nearly 9 million, or one in six people in the population in England was 65 or over at the time of the last census, and the figure is forecast to rise by another 2 million by 2021. When an older person falls, it can have devastating consequences. Multiplied across the population, it’s a major public health issue.” (Source: publichealthmatters).

Couple that with three lockdowns in less than 12 months, it’s a recipe for disaster. Older adults in particular are doing less exercise during lockdown and are therefore losing muscle mass and bone density which means when they do walk both in their homes or outside, they are more at risk of falling and fracturing a bone.

And don’t just think this is something that affects only the older generation, it’s important whatever your age is to have good balance, as it helps to strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright, including your legs and core.

Pilates exercises help to improve strength, balance, mobility and co-ordination and this can therefore help reduce the risk of falls particularly amongst the ageing population.  I regularly incorporate balance exercises into my weekly Pilates routines with my online clients and I love watching my clients improve week on week.

Balance is also important to help strengthen the ankle joint. If you have ever sprained your ankle, you will know that it is one injury that takes a while to heal and whilst it it healing, you will be overworking other muscles in the body to compensate so it could lead to more injuries, which could be avoided with some simple exercises.

What is your age when you balance?
A great way to improve your balance is to practice standing on one leg. Then try balancing on one leg with your eyes shut which is more of a challenge. A study done by the BBC programme, Trust me I’m a doctor, worked out the target time for standing on one leg with their eyes shut was 15 seconds for someone aged between 18-39, 9 seconds for someone aged between 50-59 and 2 seconds for someone aged between 80-99. So please try balancing on one leg at home and see what age range you fall into. When I do this with my clients, some of them are delighted they are younger than their chronological age, but others are obviously disappointed which is why it is so important to work on our balance.

Tips to improve balance
To see the greatest improvements, you should be practicing your balance on a daily basis. If you feel you don’t have time, try standing on one leg whilst you are waiting for the kettle to boil or brushing your teeth or practice getting down and up from a chair without using your hands.

A couple of exercises I get my clients to do in class is to practice walking heel to toe by placing the heel of one foot just in front of the toes of the opposite foot each time you take a step, just as a tightrope walker would and something I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, although I’d suggest you start on carpet! I then progress my clients to attempt the same movement with their eyes closed, that definitely creates some competitiveness amongst everyone.

In Pilates, our focus on alignment and centring is key to good balance. At the same time, specific exercises will help improve our ability to centre or stabilise which therefore improves posture and coordination, thus reducing the risk of falling.

If reading this has made you think about your balance, I have a short video on my website with balance exercises which can help you improve your balance or alternatively maybe join a Pilates class as this will not only improve your balance, but also your posture and your well-being which could bring you closer to my original statement of what is balance?

If you have any questions or if you’re not sure where to start, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.