Moving in the Right Direction  

Strength for life

Give me strength! But what is strength? Have you ever stopped to consider what is strength and how do you know when you are strong? Is strength measured on how many push ups you can do, or how fast you climb up a set of stairs? Maybe. But how often do you have to do a push up as many times as you can? Or how often do you have to better your time storming up a flight of stairs? For most of your life, you don’t. For most of us, we simply need the strength to do our daily activities well. Activities like:

  • Lifting: Laundry basket, grocery bags, child/grandchildren

  • Reaching: Refrigerator or clothes dryer, dishes on shelves, grabbing objects on floor

  • Power: Standing up from chair, going up stairs, walking up incline

  • Balancing: Walking (single leg activities), moving while holding awkward objects

  • And combinations of the above

Therefore, most of us need functional strength. Unless we are trying to do a specific movement that will win a gold standing, we are just trying to complete movements to the success of accomplishing our daily activities. This is called functional strength.

Training for functional strength means performing work against resistance specifically in such a way that the strength gained directly benefits the execution of daily activities. In other words, the goal in functional strength training is to transfer the increase in strength gained in one movement to improving the performance of another movement by affecting the entire neuromuscular system. For this reason, training the movement control is as essential as training the individual muscles involved in the movement.

For example, to improve one’s ability to rise from a chair, squats improve lower body strength and neural control better than sitting in a machine and doing knee extensions. Exercising both the muscle and the movement together creates a greater level of strength for the required movement. For many of our day-to-day activities, the muscles that need strengthening are those that support our spine and the movements need to be controlled and thoughtful.

Pilates is known for its focus on the muscles and the movements that strengthen the stabilizers of the spine - core strengthening. Pilates teaches the body how to create an ergonomically correct posture and how to maintain that posture so that the body is in the most stress free posture that it can be in while it moves throughout the day.

Pilates gives you the strength you need to do your daily activities well. It is a fantastic feeling to be confident in your body and have the ability to be agile and capable. Pilates is for everyone who wants to move well. So, if you need strength, then you need Pilates.

For more information, please go to www.sculptpilates.ca.

More Moving in the Right Direction articles

About the Author

Lori Rockl graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Political Science. After working with the Federal Government through two elections, she escaped back into her gifted life of fitness training and now owns a successful Pilates & Yoga studio. Although her clientel tell her often how much they learn from her, Lori would tell you that she is the one that learns the most from her clients. For Lori, the study of the mind-body connection is an infinitely fascinating study. She has found that Pilates and yoga are excellent tools for healthy living and incorporate those tools into her marathon and triathalon training. Please contact lori at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories