Building strength in your core

Posted on: 8th September, 2014

Category: News

Contributor: West Cork People

West Cork Pilates is back in action this September. Classes are available from September 15 in both Skibbereen and Clonakilty. The great thing about autumn is that it’s possible to recommit to routines having enjoyed the lazy days of summer. Even one class of Pilates a week can help you feel reenergised, stretched and strengthened and it is a gentle way to awaken for those of you who may have ‘relaxed’ a little too much during the summer months.

Pilates is an exercise programme or series of exercises, designed by Joseph Pilates, which are focused on building strength and increasing flexibility.

Pilates movements create very little stress on the back and joints and most of the exercises can be done in a lying or sitting position. Pilates can be performed by most everyone: young, old, strong, weak, flexible, inflexible sedentary or athletic. It has shown to be beneficial for post-partum women and in rehabilitation from injury, and is as a result often recommended by physical therapists and doctors.

Among the benefits of Pilates are: increased flexibility in the body, leaner muscles, improved posture and improved co-ordination which all leads to increased strength. It is one of few conditioning systems that have been found to be energising no matter what your age, condition or health.

Pilates trains the body so that all of the core muscles work together to support and stabilise the back. Part of developing effective core strength is to train the body to know when to release, as well as activate its core muscles. So, while building on core strength, with Pilates you also learn how and when to use that strength for the best benefit of the body. In Pilates, the aim is to use an appropriate level of effort for the task at hand so as not to create further stress for the body — this makes it an excellent method to help those with weak backs to strengthen and support their spine.

While Pilates is not a weight-loss method, it is remarkably effective at toning muscles, particularly the abdominal muscles. Pilates will also create a leaner body, by increasing muscle fibre, which in turn helps burn fat and gives greater strength and control in aerobic exercises such as: walking, jogging, and swimming.

In Pilates, you move from the abdominal core with control, concentration and precision, using your breath to create a flow between the exercises.  As most people don’t breathe effectively, and are oxygen-starved, Pilates can benefit by ridding the body of stale air and energising tired tissues.

Because positioning, breathing, and concentration all are very important for achieving the desired results, having an experienced and informed instructor is crucial in order to get the most out of your classes. Lorraine Dufficey has been teaching Pilates in West Cork since 2003 and has trained with some of the finest Pilates teachers in Europe. For further information on the lists of classes please visit the facebook page West Cork Pilates as the website is under construction at present.

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Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
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