Use the Pilates Jump Board for your Cardio!
Updated: Oct 16, 2019
From the age of fifteen, I've been in love with running. Growing up, I always saw my dad running as he loved it too. It was something he did to stay in shape, but also gave him a mental calmness that he valued very much. For my entire adult life, it has been my "self care." Self care is a huge category, and the phrase is somewhat overused now, so let's break it down, shall we? Certainly, exercise may be considered an aspect of a person's way of taking care of the self vis-a-vis one's physical body. Running is a highly efficient, inexpensive, enjoyable way to improve heart health and achieve mental clarity by going outdoors and getting some endorphins going. This is important. However, quite often there can be a huge detriment to other systems in the body as a result of running too much or too long in a single linear direction. We need other methods and activities to take care of the self...body, mind, and spirit.
Back in August a couple of months ago while I was out for a run, I had a light bulb moment... "I have to stop running RIGHT NOW." My hips were hurting. I had been to multiple specialists for physical therapy, dry needling, chiropractic, Rolfing, you name it...and of course Pilates. As a Pilates Teacher, I felt that every day I was using Pilates to fix the muscle imbalances that I had created with my long distance running. It was like taking three steps forward an then two steps back. I wanted to get better at Pilates and become a highly advanced practitioner of this work. Truly the running I was doing did not align with my overall health and fitness goals. A little later that same day, my rationale started to settle in.
Ultimately, I decided that I didn't have to stop running altogether, but my relationship to running needed to change. I pulled out of a long-distance race that I had committed to doing this month with my closest friends. This was difficult to do because I like to keep my commitments and be a woman of my word, but I instinctively knew that my health was more important and that I would have felt resentful of my friends had I kept training for that race. Learning to say "no"....that's another topic for another day, but it is important.
A day or two later, I began doing multi-directional cardio workouts with another group of girlfriends who met up at the field at our neighborhood elementary school. We fast-walk, run up and down stairs. We do lunges and hip hinges. I run backwards, do side lunges, bear crawls. Then we finish the workout with a plank hold that runs eight to ten minutes where we hold a front plank as long as we can and then individually switch back and forth between side planks and reverse planks returning to the front plank based on how our bodies are feeling.
Alongside these outdoor multi-directional workouts, I'm in my Pilates studio LOVING my Pilates practice even more, as if that was even possible. No longer do I have to focus on stretching and loosening my quads and hip flexors. I feel like I don't even HAVE hips much less any pain there. My low back still gets a little tight occasionally, but to no where near the degree that it did before when I was running all of the time. I had had a life-long attachment to running and was feeling the benefits of letting it go.
What about that cardiovascular health?? Well, that's actually a pretty important thing after all. A few weeks into my new exercise routine, I was feeling the benefits around all of my joints, but I could tell something was off. I was getting winded pretty quickly. A few times I had gone to the gym to walk and run backwards on the treadmill. Needless to say, I got a few funny looks from people. Running backwards on the track at the school is fun for a bit and I will continue to do that, but I needed to find a more intense cardio routine that would allow me to work my joints in lots of different angles and directions hitting all of the muscles evenly. If only there was a method of cardio that would address the need.
The Jump Board on the Reformer!!!! This is something I had taught lots and lots of times in Pilates classes in the past. I had made it a point to purchase a Reformer for my own studio that had the dimensions and came with the Jump Board. I paid extra for this!!! Why was my Jump Board sitting in the corner collecting dust?? Yet another light bulb moment occurred. I know I'm not the only one who has purchased a piece of exercise equipment that I rarely used. That is why I don't hesitate to share this little detail with you. :)
Evidently, the Jump Board for the Pilates Reformer was created after the death of Joseph Pilates. It was invented by his protege, Romana Kryzanowska, to improve ankle and foot alignment of dancers. It was not originally created to be used as a general source of cardiovascular exercise. With this is mind, you can perform a specific jumping sequence as long as the body is in alignment and the correct muscles are working. A little goes a long way! Once that muscle group becomes too fatigued to perform the move with precision, a new foot position should be used to address a different combination of muscle fibers around the joints. By working through the entire foot with good alignment and articulation, the whole body including the heart and lungs increases in strength and endurance.
Set up a private or semi-private Pilates session so that YOU can feel these benefits as soon as possible! My number is (678)-429-1030. Send me a text or call me.