By Liz Reid – Core Factor Pilates
The clocks have sprung forwards an hour, spring is officially with us and with Easter hopping onto the scene this month, what a cracking week of weather we had at the end of March to mark the occasion!
Springtime brings with it not only the full display of all spring flowers but the early opening buds of blossom on trees, hedgerows burst forth their flora, busy bees and green really start to wash over the countryside with the immediacy of an artist and their brush! Hope, expectation and brighter days arrive, together with a certain zest and dare I say, friskiness, for all our forthcoming plans becoming a reality!
With such enthusiasm and drive, also comes the urge to get spring cleaning, sorting clogged cupboards, drawers, tackling the garden to rid it of winter detritus and quite literally, clear away the cobwebs! Doing all these activities helps not only to improve our homes but makes us feel hugely better physiologically. Tackling perhaps jobs that have been niggling us or on hold until the better weather and light returns is very healthy and cathartic. Doing housework and jobs can give you a physical workout, get the heart rate up, improve circulation, as well as significantly add to your daily steps, so getting busy around the house and garden is time well spent with the added satisfaction that another job is ticked off the list.
However, please be mindful of how much time, velocity and effort you put into tackling these jobs!
You must be aware of looking after your joints, especially your knees and NEVER bend, twist and pull simultaneously, ESPECIALLY not when attempting to lift anything heavy! You need to look after your back so please, please be careful. It is a good idea to time yourself when working on these spring tasks and set an alarm for every hour. When hearing that alarm, ignore it at your peril! You must STOP what you are doing as soon as feasibility possible and get the kettle on! Taking a tea break for 10 minutes is important, not only to re-hydrate yourself but also as a time to take stock of your progress, admire the work you’ve done so far and also, give you perspective to overview how things are progressing. It gives you the chance to re-assess and to also keep your back muscles happy, for there is no point in injuring yourself or over-working a muscle, which could quite possibly put you out of action for 2-3 days, whilst you let your upset muscles recover. It can be a most frustrating time being so immobile or living with restricted movement post DIY or gardening when all of that was avoidable with just a little bit of self-care.
As well as scheduling tea breaks, allow time for a few stretches. Stretching out the back, calf muscles and hamstrings are all prime areas of importance. Point and flex your toes to stretch your calves and Achilles tendons and gently bend one knee, whilst lengthening the other leg out in front of you and then leaning into it to target the hamstrings. Include Cat Stretches, knee hugs and if you need to use a chair, worktop or table to keep your balance, whilst you focus on lengthening your leg muscles, then absolutely hold on!
Pilates, of course, teaches you the significance of keeping your body and mind balanced, working muscles evenly and harmoniously, without over-straining or causing impact damage. When working hard in the garden or at home, Pilates helps to maintain a strong core, enabling you to engage the correct muscles, thus helping to avoid injuries. To try your first class with me and learn the secrets of this amazing form of corrective and restorative exercise, just contact Pilates Liz at [email protected].
With the arrival of spring, there’s always the sun and remember the intensity of it returns too, so don’t be fooled on a lovely spring day of even 15 or 16 degrees, that sunburn is not possible.
Wear sun cream when planning a few hours in the garden or working on jobs outside… and keep up with making those plentiful cups of tea!