As the days start getting shorter and we begin moving towards Fall, we’re trying something new at Corpo Kinetic. In an effort to encourage us to keep all the benefits of summer hiking, walking, biking and outdoor activities going, we’re starting a Walk/Bike challenge! Join us!
How it works:
- Walk or Bike to the studio instead of driving, and drop a chip in the jar when you arrive.
- Each chip represents $1 – when the jar is full, Corpo Kinetic will make a $100 donation to the Sierra Club!
* Live too far away for a bike or walk commute? You can still participate – keep reading!
Raise your hand if you want more movement in your life! (Or better yet, raise both hands and reach your arms way above your head and enjoy a shoulder and spine stretch if you want more movement in your life!) If you’re a reader of these posts, chances are you recognize that movement is beneficial to your health, including small movements such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, taking stretch breaks at your desk, or spending 2-5 minutes on a foam roller. Not all movement needs to be confined within an exercise class, or even within a full 30-minute bout, in order to give you very worthwhile benefits.
After a Pilates class, you probably feel good! You may feel more aligned, balanced, and strong. Your joints are moving well and your muscles are stretched and awake. Small aches and pains may have subsided. One of the great things about Pilates is that it works you out without beating you down. After your session, you should feel energized, stretched, and ready for your day! Now, how do we keep that feeling going during the time you’re not at the studio?
The easy answer to that is: do more Pilates! (ha! Yes, we’re a Pilates studio so of course that’s our first answer!) Whether it’s a home program developed with your trainer or finding a group class which fits your schedule and needs, increasing the frequency of your Pilates practice will of course help you keep that great feeling of Pilates going throughout the week.
However, if devoting more time to your Pilates practice isn’t possible right now, finding ways to incorporate more movement into your life can help keep all those lubricated joints and activated muscles going in between sessions. With our walk/bike challenge, we’re focusing on one way you can add more movement to the tasks you already do: instead of commuting by sitting in your car, commute with movement!
Using commute time to get in more movement is pure gold – you already have to schedule time into your day to get places. What if you could just block off a little more, and by doing so you doubled your movement time? By applying your Pilates principles on your movement commute, you’ll be taking those lessons learned inside the studio out into the real world.
How to use your Pilates principles on a walk:
- Start with a neutral pelvis. Place one hand on your stomach and the back of your other hand on your saccrum. Make sure that your two hands are more or less parallel to the walls:not slanted forward (too much curve in the low back: or slanted backwards (tail tucked under, too much tension in the glutes):A neutral pelvis is the best place for you to move from.
- As you walk, think about using your glutes as if you are pushing the ground behind you. The glutes should be engaged with every step, but often our chair-heavy lives lead us to use only our hip flexors on the fronts of our hips, and not the glutes when walking. Focus on the glutes and you’re stride will be stronger and longer!
- Look up! Look around! We’re often used to looking at screens just 20-40 inches from our face. Not only is looking at things further away good for our eyes, but our vision is also a major contributor to our balance. Change what you’re looking at, especially the distance and level of things you’re looking at. You’ll be subtly challenging your balance with every step.
- Breathe! If you’ve been stuck in a chair for most of the day with your arms and shoulders in mostly one position, you may not have been breathing deeply either. Swing your arms, and take deep breaths as you walk – doing so will bring more oxygen to your muscles and help mobilize your shoulders, ribcage and thoracic spine from the inside out.
How to use your Pilates principles on your bike:
- Start with a long neutral spine. Too often I see people riding with a very rounded lower or upper back – aim to start more in a neutral, hips, ribs, shoulders, and back of head all in one line.
- Draw the belly to your spine to engage your core. Keep your pelvis as stable as you can as you pedal – the force should come from your legs.
- Support your shoulders by drawing your shoulder blades down your back. Make sure you are lifting out of the shoulder girdle, as you would in your Pilates plank, not collapsing into it.
- Push with your glutes! Your quads will and should work on a bike, but it’s all about balance: since we tend to be a quad dominant society, focus on using your glutes as you press down on the pedals to help balance things out.
Ready to try a movement commute to the studio?
Keep in mind that this isn’t an all-or-nothing challenge. Walk or bike once and you’ll still contribute to the cause. Walk or bike a lot and you’ll contribute a lot. I think that an all-or-nothing approach to exercise is one of the greatest things keeping us from moving. Doing something differently takes all sorts of getting over inertia and potentially reorganizing your thinking (not to mention reorganizing the stuff you have to bring with you). A little is still something – commit to trying the movement commute once this month and see how you feel!
Do you like the idea but live too far from the studio for this to be feasible for you? Maybe you could replace some of your driving commute with walking by parking further away from the studio. Or consider public transit as a go-between: we’re about a 15-20 minute walk from both the Ashby and Rockridge BART stations. For purposes of this challenge, there’s no rule on how much distance you need to walk or bike to make it count – as long as you are moving yourself more than you normally do on your way to Pilates, it counts!
We look forward to moving with you! If you’re not following us on Facebook and Instagram, this is a good month to follow us. We’ll be sharing our stories of our walk and bike commutes with the hashtag #movetocommute, and encourage you to as well!
Facebook: Corpo Kinetic