Introduction to Pilates

Pilates is ‘A thinking way of moving’

Also known as the ‘Body Control Method’, Pilates is a system of slow, flowing, and precise movements developed in the 1920s and onwards by the German-born Joseph Pilates, (born 1880). Described as ‘a thinking way of moving’, Pilates works by developing and integrating our awareness of our bodies, our core strength and our mobility. This combination enables us to achieve ‘functional fitness’ – to know and be able to use our own true strength and flexibility effectively.

Pilates himself began his exploration of physical potential through having suffered a range of debilitating conditions himself in childhood years, including rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. He embarked on a spirited and determined quest for achieving his own peak physical condition, and in time it seemed a natural progression that he would begin to take responsibility for helping others to realise theirs too.

Pilates practice first gained popularity with dancers, then more widely among sportspeople, and now is a favourite among all. Joseph Pilates left Germany for New York in 1926, where he began to be highly valued among the New York dance community. By 1956 it was reported that ‘virtually every dancer in New York had meekly submitted to the spirited instruction of Joe Pilates.’

Today, Pilates has something to offer everyone, whether their lifestyle is largely sedentary and office-bound, hectically energetic or physically demanding. It requires some patience to learn and is less likely to appeal in itself to younger children. However, as an ‘as well as’ exercise to be used in schools or sports clubs, the principles of Pilates could save young people from ever getting into the bad postural habits that some adults spend many hours learning how to undo.

Pilates develops long, lean muscles and core strength

Pilates builds strength from the inside out and can have a visibly powerful effect on the shape and even height of our bodies. It is essentially the complete opposite of ‘body-building’. Instead of building ‘big’, short, bulky muscles by isolated weight-lifting exercises, Pilates continually works to stretch and strengthen our muscles, using carefully controlled movements to build a longer, leaner, stronger and more flexible body. Pilates teaches that our power lies in a central column of complex muscles in the torso and pelvis, and that our strength comes from proper alignment, awareness and breathing rather than brute force.

Pilates works as a reliable partner with other forms of exercise

Pilates teacher Michael King calls Pilates not an ‘instead of’ but an ‘as well as’ form of exercise; it works in a way which is extremely effective in complimenting other exercise programs, sports or performance arts. For example, Pilates can help the golfer rebalance their body after building up one side of muscles through their ‘swing’, and it can assist in building stamina, concentration and relaxation for performers including dancers, singers and actors.

Pilates is a ‘physical intelligence’ for everyday life

Pilates is a non-competitive physical conditioning program which can help people of all walks of life take care of their bodies. It can help us to live our everyday lives more enjoyably and effectively. For example, teaching us ways to avoid back pain by protecting and strengthening our backs if we do a lot of desk work or driving, or training our bodies so that we are less likely to injure ourselves in everyday tasks like lifting an object.

“The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power.” – Joseph Pilates 

What to expect at a Pilates class

Pilates generally involves a lot exercising on a mat on the floor. Some of the exercises performed in a Pilates session may seem not dissimilar to the stretches, sit-ups or even push-up type exercises of conventional fitness regimes, but the approach and method of doing them is completely different.

You need to wear comfortable loose/stretchy clothing, and in time you may wish to get yourself a Pilates mat for practice at home (you do need something soft between you and the floor for Pilates exercises).

Who can do Pilates?

Pilates includes many different movements and ranges in levels of difficulty, so therefore can suit anyone. Teachers advise first becoming familiar with the main principles of Pilates before engaging with the deep postural muscles, concentration and breathing.

Who can it benefit?

Sufferers of posturally-based back pain, sports injuries, repetitive strain injuries and stress can benefit from Pilates. It is especially helpful in offering ways to prevent and change problematic postural habits that can lead to experiences of occasional or even chronic pain. Osteopath Piers Chandler, writes that the Pilates method “can genuinely complement treatment and accelerate recovery. Some patients who are referred to Pilates teachers never need any further regular treatment.” Pilates can also contribute greatly to a supportive recovery program for people with sports injuries. The practice of Pilates is also known to help counter anxiety and stress.

“Pilates develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.” – Joseph Pilates

Fish Sandwiches


1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 medium lime, finely grated to yield 1/2 tsp zest and squeezed to yield 4 tsp juice
1-1/2 tsp wasabi paste; more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup panko
4 (4 to 5 oz) boneless, skinless hake, haddock, or cod fillets (preferably 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
3 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce (1/4 head)
4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted


  1. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lime zest, 1 tsp of the limejuice, and the wasabi paste. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more wasabi, if you like.
  2. In a wide, shallow bowl, lightly beat the eggs and 1 Tbsp of the soy sauce until combined. Put the panko in another wide shallow bowl.
  3. Pat the fish fillets dry and lightly season with salt. Working with one fillet at a time, dip it in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off, then coat with the panko, pressing the breadcrumbs onto the fish. Set each breaded fillet on a plate or tray as you finish it.
  4. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1/2 cup of the oil over medium heat until shimmering hot. Fry the fish, flipping once, until well browned andjust cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and sprinkle each fillet with a pinch of salt.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the remaining 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp oil, the ginger, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Add the lettuce and toss to coat.
  6. Spread the wasabi mayonnaise on both cut sides of the buns. Put one fish fillet on the bottom of each bun, then top with the lettuce and the bun top.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Cook Fresh

A Robot Cooks Burgers at Startup Restaurant Creator in San Francisco

Here’s how Creator’s burger-cooking bot works at its 680 Folsom Street location in San Francisco. Once you order your burger style through a human concierge on a tablet, a compressed air tube pushes a baked-that-day bun into an elevator on the right. It’s sawed in half by a vibrating knife before being toasted and buttered as it’s lowered to conveyor belt. Sauces measured by the milliliter and spices by the gram are automatically squirted onto the bun. Whole pickles, tomatoes, onions and blocks of nice cheese get slices shaved off just a second before they’re dropped on top.

Meanwhile, the robot grinds hormone-free, pasture-raised brisket and chuck steak to order. But rather than mash them all up, the strands of meat hang vertically and are lightly pressed together. They form a loose but auto-griddleable patty that’s then plopped onto the bun before the whole package slides out of the machine after a total time of about five minutes. The idea is that when you bite into the burger, your teeth align with the vertical strands so instead of requiring harsh chewing it almost melts in your mouth.

Watch video at You Tube (2:41 minutes) . . . .

Researchers Have Developed a New Way to Cure Cavities in Teeth

Kashmira Gander wrote . . . . . . . . .

Scientists have developed a new substance to treat dental cavities without making a costly and unpleasant trip to the dentist.

Inspired by the proteins in our bodies which form teeth, the new product uses peptides—which are structurally similar to proteins—to repair the enamel on the part of the tooth which requires treatment.

The team at the University of Washington used peptides derived from a protein called amelogenin, which is vital for forming the hard enamel on teeth, to create the substance which remineralizes tooth enamel.

Researchers tested their peptide substance on dental lesions created artificially in a laboratory. They found that after each application, between 10 to 50 micrometres of new enamel was created. The study was published in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science and Engingeering.

Enamel is created in a process called amelogenesis as the tooth grows inside the mouth. However, once a tooth has stopped growing, the ameloblasts, or the cells that make up enamel, die away. And when bacteria in our mouths metabolize sugar and other fermentable carbohydrates, such as from bread and bananas, an acid is created which demineralizes enamel, explained Sami Dogan, co-author of the study at the University of Washington School. This process can be prevented by brushing our teeth with fluoride toothpaste.

The researchers hope that the formulation could one day be sold in over-the-counter products such as toothpaste to prevent and treat tooth decay, or put into clinical products used by dentists.

“Remineralization guided by peptides is a healthy alternative to current dental health care,” said Mehmet Sarikaya, lead author of the study and adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Oral Health Sciences at the University of Washington.

The latest statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics published in 2015 showed that 91 percent of adults aged between 20 to 64-years-old had dental caries, and 27 percent had untreated tooth decay.

Professor Damien Walmsley, the scientific adviser for the British Dental Association, was skeptical about the scope of the new research.

“Regenerative dentistry is an exciting area to research, of which peptide-enabled formulations are a part. However, it’s unrealistic to hope that this technology, when it comes to fruition, could ever replace fillings or crowns where there is extensive tooth decay,” he told Newsweek. “It’s only likely to ‘rebuild’ enamel in the very early stages of tooth decay or where the teeth are eroded.”

He added: “In the meantime one can stop such damage to teeth by reducing sugary snacks to mealtimes, brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and visiting your dentist on a regular basis.”

Source : Newsweek

Higher Body Fat Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Risk in Younger Women

While obesity has been shown to increase breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women, a large-scale study co-led by a University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher found the opposite is true for premenopausal women: higher body fat was linked to lower breast cancer risk.

The findings, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, show the need to better understand breast cancer risk factors in younger women before menopause, said UNC Lineberger’s Hazel B. Nichols, PhD.

“The drivers of breast cancer risk can be different for young women compared to older women, so we need to do a better job of understanding what contributes specifically to breast cancer risk in younger women so we can make appropriate recommendations for them,” said Nichols, who is an assistant professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. “This study is not a reason to try to gain weight to prevent breast cancer. Heavier women have a lower overall risk of breast cancer before menopause, but there are a lot of other benefits to managing a healthy weight that should be considered. What it does do is help us to try to understand what contributes to breast cancer risk in younger women.”

Breast cancer is most common in older women, with a median age of diagnosis at 62 in the United States. Obesity has been linked to higher risk for breast cancer in women after menopause, which occurs, on average, at age 51 in the United States.

Since breast cancer is less common in younger women, researchers pooled data from 19 different studies to investigate breast cancer risk for a group of 758,592 women who were younger than 55 years.

“Studies often have smaller numbers of premenopausal breast cancers since breast cancer is less common at younger ages, and the evidence was not as strong as for postmenopausal breast cancer,” Nichols said.

Their analysis linked a higher body mass index, or BMI, to lower breast cancer risk for younger women across this age group, even for women within a normal weight range.

“We saw a trend where, as BMI went up, cancer risk went down,” Nichols said. “There was no threshold at which having a higher BMI was linked to lower cancer risk.”

The largest reductions in risk were for BMI between the ages of 18 and 24, with a 23 percent lower breast cancer risk linked to each five-unit increase in BMI during this time period. At ages 25 to 34, each five-unit increase in BMI was linked to 15 percent lower risk. There was a 13 percent lower risk for BMI at ages 35 to 44, and a 12 percent lower risk for BMI at ages 45 to 54 years.

They also saw the risk decreases linked to higher body mass index for estrogen- or progesterone-receptor positive breast cancer, but they did not see a consistent relationship for BMI and triple negative breast cancer, or hormone-receptor negative breast cancer.

Nichols said multiple factors could be contributing to the link between higher BMI and lower breast cancer risk in younger women, such as differences in hormones, including estrogen, growth factors, or breast density. Estrogen can be a driver of breast cancer, but there are different levels and sources of estrogen before and after menopause. Before menopause onset, the primary source of estrogen comes from the ovaries, and estrogen produced by fatty tissue may help to downregulate the amount of estrogen produced by the ovaries.

“The amount of estrogen produced by your ovaries is driven by feedback loops in your body,” Nichols said. “The small amount of estrogen produced by fat tissue before menopause may help tell the ovaries that they can produce less estrogen and also regulate other hormones or growth factors.” Nichols said that after menopause, women with higher adipose tissue have higher estrogen levels.

“After menopause, the ovaries are no longer the primary source of estrogen,” she said. “Instead, most estrogens come from adipose, or fat, tissue,” she said. “Women who have more adipose tissue after menopause usually have higher levels of estrogen which can contribute to higher breast cancer risk. In young women, estrogen is one factor that contributes, but it’s not the whole story.”

To further their investigation of breast cancer risk factors, Nichols said the group will take a closer look at patterns of risk according to weight change in early-to-mid-adulthood and will also consider the role of pregnancy, and other factors that may be important to consider for breast cancer risk at younger ages.

“Although breast cancer is more common at older ages, it’s actually the most common type of cancer diagnosed among reproductive-aged women,” Nichols said. “Understanding risk factors that may operate differently before menopause is critical to reducing breast cancer risk in young women, but these factors are hard to study in traditional settings where there are fewer young women in cancer research. The Premenopausal Breast Cancer Collaborative Group, which was founded by investigators at UNC, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina and the Institute of Cancer Research in London, gives us a way forward to investigate breast cancer in younger populations.”

Source: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

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