Is It Time For Your New Fall Routine?

I’ve recently had several clients say they’re “past ready” for Fall so that they can get back into a routine.  Most of us thrive on a schedule - we simply feel more in control and productive when we have a game plan for all the demands of our day.

What about you? Does your Fall routine have you feeling energized and whole, or like you’re burning the wick at both ends?  Are you always rushed?  Does your body ache and feel exhausted?  Will you ever feel “caught up”?  When will you have time to exercise? 

Anyone who’s lived the “too busy all the time” lifestyle can tell you that it’s MISERABLE.  It’s like being a prisoner of your own design, or perhaps, lack of design!  And quite honestly, it’s just not healthy.

So what’s the answer?  There are only so many hours in each day.  There’s only one you.  And, despite what it may seem, you are the only one who can choose to use your hours differently.  Making the decision to be less busy is a good start, but unless there’s action on the decision, little will change.

One suggestion is to become clear about your priorities and creative with your to-do list.  

What do you value most, and does your daily experience reflect those values?  For example, if you value being productive at work, as well as being a loving, present, and patient person, what’s getting in the way?  If being over-scheduled is a problem, which responsibilities can you delegate or release?  When we make conscious choices about our schedule, based on what’s most important to us, we empower ourselves for success. 

Given our many responsibilities, so many of us feel like we’re doing a continual balancing act.  The good news is, we don’t have to do this alone!  One wise strategy for lowering stress and increasing productivity is to create a mutually supportive tribe to cheer each other on and share the load.  For example, by finding other mothers to share carpool responsibilities we might have 45 minutes to exercise or do Bible study.  By being in a group that has healthy boundaries, we realize we can stop trying to please everyone.  By creating a group challenge to put a daily time limit on social media use, we gain time to invest in ourself and our health.

In my private practice, Therapeutic Pilates, LLC, I encourage clients to prioritize their own health.  You’ll be amazed at how empowering and rejuvenating it can be when you set aside time exclusively to enhance your own wellbeing by learning strategies to move better.  I love helping my clients live a healthy, active life so they can climb mountains, whether they’re figurative or literal.

So, this Fall when you find yourself in an “always busy” routine, PAUSE.  Are you truly taking care of yourself when you’re  ALWAYS busy?  

septmeber business woman to-do list 2.jpg


Three different phases of life, three stories of committed action.

While most of us believe our health should be a high priority, the reality is that we often fail to embody our good intentions.  After New Year’s resolutions have fizzled, the extent of taking care of ourselves may have dwindled down to taking our medications as prescribed, occasionally choosing a salad over a burger, or doing an at-home plank “challenge.”  Truly making our health a priority requires a conscious decision, along with commitment to ongoing action.  Simply put, being the best you, all year round, takes work!  As you’ll see from these three inspiring stories, when we’re willing to take the time and put forth the effort, our whole life can change for the better. 

Dava, a vibrant 65-year old, made a personal commitment to better health 30 years ago.  Experiencing a chronic lack of energy, she visited multiple physicians, but none of them could offer an explanation or cure.  Determined to feel better, she began to explore whether her diet and lifestyle might be impacting her overall sense of wellbeing.  “As a Christian, I need to be a good steward of my body, because it’s truly a gift,” says Dava.  She began making small changes in her diet, like cutting out Cokes and breads.  Soon she switched to organic meats and started a vegetable garden with her husband.  The change in diet, as well as her increased physical activity, are paying off.  No longer plagued by low energy levels, Dava has added private Pilates sessions to her fitness routine so she can increase overall strength and flexibility.  She comments, “I think everyone should know that you don’t have to feel bad just because you’re getting older.” 

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While back pain becomes more common with advancing age, Brock, 19, began having severe back pain in high school.  Missing months of practices and games in both high school and college sports, he grew frustrated with his pain and the negative impact it was having on his life.  Although he sought medical advice and tried a variety of remedies, his  efforts proved to be insufficient.  Unwilling to give up the sports he loves, he continued searching for relief.  He was finally taught simple, but powerful, strategies that relieved his chronic back pain.  He learned more effective ways to move his body, gained flexility in stiff joints, and increased stability in other joints.  Brock has found that keeping his back pain at bay is a process, and it takes work.  He states, “I fell in love with the process of getting better.”  He says it’s been a huge relief over the last few months to realize that he no longer has to worry when he wakes up that he might be hurting.  Now he knows he’s going to feel fine because he’s putting in the work required to move well and feel well.  These days he’s motivated by improving his golf game, enjoying increased energy, and knowing that he’s doing something healthy for himself everyday that will help him now and in the future.

Abby McCartney, a new mother, already sees that her future will require lots of energy!  She’s making her health a priority so she’ll have the strength and flexibility to pick up and play with her growing baby without pain.  Abby actively participated in private Pilates throughout her pregnancy because she recognized the benefits structured exercise contributed to a healthy pregnancy.  Now, five months postpartum, health is still a priority, but her body and goals have changed.  Today her commitment to fitness is motivated by the desire to increase strength, stability, and endurance, and to keep back pain at bay.  Abby feels good  and has the energy she’ll need to keep up with her precious little man!

Making your own health a priority is a gift you give yourself.  It’s an important stepping stone to the priceless reward of becoming the best version of YOU.  When you make the decision… and are willing to put in the work… you will definitely reap the benefits.  Just ask Dava, Brock, and Abby!

Source: https://issuu.com/townandgownmagazine/docs...

Copy of Physical Therapy-based Pilates for Injury Prevention to Safeguard your New Year's Resolutions

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to loose weight.  A well-planned diet and exercise program can help you accomplish this goal, but what if you get hurt?  Will you have to throw in the towel?  Many people think if they just go to the gym and work out as hard as they can for “x” amount of time, burn “x” number of calories, then they’ll lose weight, fit into their favorite pair of jeans, and look and feel amazing.  However, anytime you start an exercise program, it needs to be carefully planned and customized for YOUR body, or you’re risking an injury.  For the lucky, an injury could result in just a couple of days of rest.  But what if it happens again?  What if the pain remains?  You might find yourself asking, “What’s the point in exercising if I always hurt afterward?  I can’t work out as hard or as long as I want to, so why work out at all?  What if I hurt myself again?”  For many, it’s enough to give up on their New Year’s resolution and sadly buy the next size jeans.

Joseph Pilates said, “Physical fitness in the first requisite of happiness.” Being active and healthy is important not only for our physical health, but also for our mental well-being.  I want to help you achieve whatever goal you might have for this New Year in a SAFE way.  That starts with a full body movement analysis to see if you have ANY faulty movement patterns that would set you up for injury and sabotage your New Year’s resolution.  While it’s impossible to guarantee total injury prevention, it’s important to be proactive and do all you can to minimize your risk.

Send me an email or give me a call today so we can create a customized plan that maximizes your ability to reach those New Year’s goals!  Now accepting new clients and patients.

Joy for the Journey

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue....and for many of today’s brides, this is only the beginning! Few celebrations create the excitement, eager anticipation, and attention to detail as weddings. Decision making goes on overdrive as we search for the perfect wedding gown, ideal venue, fabulous food, beautiful flowers and music, and a romantic honeymoon destination.

With all the expectations and activities that come with getting married, it’s easy to feel overextended and exhausted. What are we to do?

Good self-care for you and your future spouse is essential. I’d like to offer four tips to help you lower stress, nurture yourself, and strengthen your relationship as you enter this new phase of life together. Finding joy for the journey can begin now!

1.  Gain perspective. Before leaping into all-out preparation mode, pause and reflect about the deeper significance of this day with your significant other. What if you used this time as a springboard for co-creating a healthy lifestyle that lasts long after the wedding? Practicing open communication, compromise, and conflict resolution builds skills for a lifetime.

2. Exercise. Whether you enjoy running, swimming, biking, Pilates, or yoga, get your heart pumping and your body moving! Exercise clears your mind, boosts your mood, and decreases stress. In turn, your body’s immune, endocrine, and hormone systems achieve better balance so you’ll feel your best.

3. Pay attention to nutrition. Food and beverage for most weddings are over-the-top indulgent and would never meet FDA recommendations for a healthy diet. One special day to indulge is wonderful, but a diet that’s high in sugar, caffeine, saturated fats, and low in nutrients not only wreaks havoc on your waistline, but also negatively impacts your mood.

4. Schedule time each day for reflection, rest, and play. It’s easy to get caught up in the never ending to-do lists, but everyone needs downtime. One of my favorite ways to rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit is Pilates. Pilates trains you to be mindfully in tune with, and accepting of each moment, so you stay calm and centered even in the midst of stress.

I invite you to incorporate these self-care tips into your wedding planning- and into your life, because I’m convinced that the benefits to you will be remarkable.

I wish you and your spouse a fun, wonderful wedding, and a long and happy life together! Enjoy the journey.

As my gift to you, Therapeutic Pilates is offering customized wedding packages with special pricing! 

*As published in Town & Gown's January 2018 Issue

Shattered But Still Whole

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t— you’re right.”  ~Henry Ford

Over my years as a Physical Therapist, I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the most courageous and resilient people on the planet.  From homeowners who’ve fallen off ladders, to athletes injured in the sport they love, to those born with disabilities, to patients recuperating after surgery, I’ve witnessed the power of the human spirit to triumph over adversity.  Initially, many of my clients felt disheartened, resentful, or even helpless about their physical situation.  Their bodies were hurting, and they couldn’t do the things they once could do with ease.  But eventually, most of them realized they had a choice.  They could remain bitter and defeated or they could decide that their imperfections did not define them.  They could work hard over time and improve to the degree physically possible, or they could half-heartedly go through the motions of rehabilitation. Time and time again, I saw amazing people whose bodies were shattered decide that they were still whole.

Less inspiring perhaps, but far more common, is the story of all of us who notice that our body and activity levels are changing through the natural aging process.  Simply put, we aren’t what we used to be!  But we have a choice as well.  We can ignore the call to get up off the sofa, or we can find an activity that engages us so we can manage our aches and pains more effectively and prevent further decline.  No longer able to run a marathon?  What about walking a half-marathon relay with friends?  No longer able to play tennis?  What about swimming or Pilates?  For each of us, the challenge is to create that balance between finding a way to keep ourselves active and healthy, while honoring our imperfections and limitations.  Resetting our fitness goals, moving forward to be all we can be, and finding new contentment in our efforts can make us feel energized and in love with life again. 

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”   ~ Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

Being grateful for what we have, what our bodies are capable of doing during each stage of life, no matter our imperfections, and continually setting new goals, are keys to being fully awake and fully alive.  And even one small change can make a world of difference.  Is there one small change you’re willing to make?

Keep growing, keep setting new goals, and keep a grateful heart for the life you’ve been given!

As Published in Town & Gown Magazine, November 2017

How Awesome Is This?!

One of my favorite things about living in this University town is being able to take advantage of all the activities State opens to the community.  As a special treat today, I took my daughter with me to swim at Sanderson Center.  While I swam my mile, she had fun alternating between swimming alongside me (and often beating me) and playing in her own lane.  

Two years ago I thought I needed to give up swimming.  As a triathlete, swimming had always been my strongest leg of the race.  But after giving birth to my youngest child, swimming consistently hurt my low back.  I knew swimming was supposed to be excellent for your back. I’ve recommended it to my patients for almost 15 years as a form of non-impact exercise… a way to get their heart rates up while going easy on the joints.  You may think I’m stubborn, butoff and on for two years after my son was born, I pushed myself to swim through the pain, simply because I love to swim!  I love the way the water feels on my body, I love to exercise, and I love the quiet time.  But, no matter how great I felt in the water, I always seemed to pay the price that night - without fail, I’d end up taking Advil, lying on the heating pad, and tossing and turning all night because my back hurt so bad.  I knew it wasn’t smart to keep doing this to my body, but all exercise hurt my back… and swimming was “supposed” to be safe.  I was doing everything I knew to decrease my back pain: exercise, being aware of my posture and body mechanics, traditional medicine.  Yet nothing was helping!

So how did I finally get back to swimming without pain?  During my Pilates for Rehab training, I surprisingly discovered that PT alone had been insufficient for me to learn how to create healthy movement patterns.  In fact, it was apparent that my own faulty movement patterns were the cause of my pain. I had thought I was being so careful with my posture, but I had no clue!  It was completely eye-opening to have an experienced Physical Therapist and Pilates Instructor analyze my movement patterns in multiple planes, positions, and exercises. With their help, I developed a totally new relationship with my body.  I learned how to correct the faulty patterns, and I began moving better, more efficiently, and without pain!  I’ll never forget the first time I got in the pool after going through my Pilates Rehab training.  I couldn’t believe how different my body felt!  Even though I had always thought I had good body awareness, I now had a totally different perspective.  I had learned which joints I needed to stabilize and which joints I needed to move.  I. Swam. Without. Pain… for the first time in years!!  

So, today as I look at my 7 year old daughter with her multi-colored goggles, pink swim cap, and huge smile, I’m grateful that I can share my love of swimming with her.  We’reeven working on our dives, which I haven’t done in 20 years!  Moving without pain allows me to be the type of mom I want to be - active, adventurous, and able to keep up! 

 

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How Pilates Can Help Your Golf Swing

Golfers such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Annika Sorenstam have all turned to Pilates to keep their bodies in balance and improve performance on the course.  So, why is Pilates an integral part to their training program?  Let’s take a look at a couple of common errors made with the swing and how Pilates can help to correct them.

1.     Inefficient rotation of your spine

Allowing the rotation in your spine to come from your low back and not your mid/upper back will not only kill your power but also set you up for major low back injury and pain.  In a safe and efficient swing, you should stabilize at the lumbo-pelvic region as you allow the rotation to occur above your waist. Pilates is known not only for increasing core strength, but also for increasing flexibility.  While you’re gaining core strength and mid back flexibility, Katie will work with you to change the movement pattern of your swing to increase power, efficiency, and safety. 

2.     Allowing excessive wear and tear on your knees

Tight hips are often a cause of increased stress on the knees.  Because tight hips aren’t able to rotate adequately, the knee is torqued in a way that places greater stress on one side of the knee, causing excessive wear and tear. Pilates works to not only increase hip mobility, but to do so from a stable and strong core to keep you safe.

 Additionally, lacking strength in the muscles crossing the knee joint prevents the golfer from stabilizing sufficiently. Strengthening muscles surrounding the knee are done in optimal alignment and help to train your muscles to perform best when aligned correctly.  Katie looks not only at how well your knee joint moves, but also how well your knee is aligned with your ankle, hip, and all the way up the chain.

At Therapeutic Pilates, LLC, all new clients receive a thorough movement analysis and fitness assessment to identify your specific weaknesses.  From your assessment, an individualized Pilates program is created to address these weaknesses, neutralize the effects of golf, and help you have a strong and safe season on the golf course.

 

Katie Langley, PT, PMA-CPT

 

 

Adding Pilates to Your Program Can Yield Big Results on the Tennis Court

Looking for a way to improve power, reduce injuries, and ultimately improve your game? Take a cue from champions like Serena and Venus Williams, Martina Navratilova, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray, and incorporate Pilates into your training program.

Tennis, like many sports, has a “movement bias,” meaning that you perform repetitive motions that are sport-specific.  Because tennis is “one-sided, “one side of your body is worked more than the other.  This creates muscle imbalances between your dominant and non-dominant side, which can lead to injuries.  On the other hand, Pilates is considered a neutral activity that helps to create muscle symmetry in multiple planes of movement in a safe and controlled way, making you less susceptible to injury.  Pilates essentially neutralizes the flexibility, strength, and range of motion asymmetries that tennis creates.

Pilates also teaches you how to maintain optimal postural alignment throughout your game.  A strong core and mindful movement strategies are essential in creating a powerful swing.  By learning to move your arms and legs independently from a stabilized spine, you move more efficiently and are able to generate more power and strength for your swing.

Shoulders can also take a beating from time spent on the court.  If you’re lacking flexibility in or around the shoulder and have difficulty stabilizing your shoulder, you’re setting yourself up for an injury. Tennis requires extreme range of motion of the shoulder as you reach overhead to contact the ball and propel it with force and control. Pilates is a great tool to help you gain control and flexibility in your shoulder.

Tennis also requires great stability in the leg joints in order to safely and powerfully sprint.  The quick lateral movements can be difficult for those with poor stabilization around the knee and hip joints.  Pilates works the joints in various planes, and can be done so in a way that’s very specific for what’s required on the court.

At Therapeutic Pilates, LLC, all new clients receive a thorough movement analysis and fitness assessment to identify your specific weaknesses.  From your assessment, an individualized Pilates program is created to address these weaknesses, neutralize the effects of tennis, and help you have a strong and safe season on the courts!

 

To a great and injury-free season,

Katie Langley, PT, PMA-CPT
Therapeutic Pilates, LLC
Starkville, MS

 

Posture Tips, Part 2, to decrease back pain, neck pain, and headaches.

Check out my latest tutorial on the role of upper/mid back positioning in sitting posture.

Health advice disclaimer: This video is intended for general information only and is intended for improving posture in a healthy spine.  Please be advised that there are some conditions of the spine in which extension exercises may not be appropriate and the exercises in this video should not be performed.  If you experience pain with these exercises, please seek the advice of your local physical therapist or physician.  Neither Therapeutic Pilates, LLC nor Katie Langley, PT, PMA-CPT are responsible for any harm or injury that may result.

Physical Therapy-based Pilates for Injury Prevention to Safeguard your New Year's Resolutions

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to loose weight.  A well-planned diet and exercise program can help you accomplish this goal, but what if you get hurt?  Will you have to throw in the towel?  Many people think if they just go to the gym and work out as hard as they can for “x” amount of time, burn “x” number of calories, then they’ll lose weight, fit into their favorite pair of jeans, and look and feel amazing.  However, anytime you start an exercise program, it needs to be carefully planned and customized for YOUR body, or you’re risking an injury.  For the lucky, an injury could result in just a couple of days of rest.  But what if it happens again?  What if the pain remains?  You might find yourself asking, “What’s the point in exercising if I always hurt afterward?  I can’t work out as hard or as long as I want to, so why work out at all?  What if I hurt myself again?”  For many, it’s enough to give up on their New Year’s resolution and sadly buy the next size jeans.

Joseph Pilates said, “Physical fitness in the first requisite of happiness.” Being active and healthy is important not only for our physical health, but also for our mental well-being.  I want to help you achieve whatever goal you might have for this New Year in a SAFE way.  That starts with a full body movement analysis to see if you have ANY faulty movement patterns that would set you up for injury and sabotage your New Year’s resolution.  While it’s impossible to guarantee total injury prevention, it’s important to be proactive and do all you can to minimize your risk.

Send me an email or give me a call today so we can create a customized plan that maximizes your ability to reach those New Year’s goals!  Now accepting new clients and patients.

8 Tips to Ease Your Back Pain Without Taking Pills

Let Starkville's newest Pilates and Physical Therapy Studio help ease your back pain.  Are you wondering if today will be "the day" your back pain finally goes away?  Will it be the day you'll feel good enough to go walking, running, play with the kids, or just sit without pain?  TAKE ACTION NOW!  Begin your journey TODAY of decreasing your back pain by requesting a complementary copy of my special report, " 8 Tips to Ease Your Back Pain Without Taking Pills."  In this report, I give you proven tips that WORK!

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