Easter 2017

Easter 2017 is just around the corner, which means a few changes to the timetable of Pilates classes at The Wellbeing Studio.  The following sessions will NOT take place over the Easter break:

  • the 0930 and 1030 classes on Good Friday 14th April
  • the 1000 class on Easter Saturday 15th April
  • the 1230 and 1900 classes on Easter Monday 17th April

The 1130 Piloga class at Strode on Easter Saturday 15th April will also NOT take place.

There are plenty of other Pilates classes happening in the weeks either side of the Easter break of course.  If the session you normally attend is not running, why not book into a different class if you’re available.

Looking for an alternative to buying someone an Easter egg?  Embody Pilates gift vouchers are available from £10.  More details via this link.

To close, two Easter bunny-themed tracks from Echo and the Bunnymen and Jenny Lewis and The Watson Twins…

 

 

 

 

 

The Changing Shape of the Female Body

Using data from Government statistics, the lingerie brand, Bluebella produced two graphics comparing the body shapes of the average woman in 2017 and 1957.  Click on each image to view in more detail…

          

AVERAGE WOMAN 1957

  • 5ft 2ins tall
  • Weighed 9st 10lbs
  • Size 3 feet
  • Dress size 12
  • 28 inch waist
  • 34B breasts
  • Expected to live 73 years

AVERAGE WOMAN 2017

  • 5ft 5ins tall
  • Weighs 11st
  • Size 6 feet
  • Dress size 16
  • 34 inch waist
  • 36DD breasts
  • Expected to live 83 years

To close, The Cult with front-man, Ian Astbury (Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison’s secret love child and with the best head of hair ever seen on a man) cookin’ on gas…

The (Brain) Power of Breathing

I came across an interesting article entitled, Your Breath is Your Brain’s Remote Control.  Here are the main points from the article…

The power of active breathing – voluntarily inhaling and exhaling to control our breathing rhythm like we do in Pilates – has been known and used throughout history. Even today, in tactical situations by soldiers, or in extreme cold conditions by the Ice Man, we know that slow, deep breathing can calm the nervous system by reducing our heart rate and activating the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system. In this way, our bodies become calm, and our minds also quieten.  Recently, a new study has found evidence to show that there is a direct link between nasal breathing and our cognitive functions.

How Nasal Breathing Influences the Brain

Through a series of experiments, Northwestern Medicine scientists discovered that nasal breathing plays a pivotal role in coordinating electrical brain signals in the olfactory “smell” cortex – the brain regions that directly receive input from our nose – which then coordinates the amygdala (which processes emotions) and the hippocampus (responsible for both memory and emotions). We know that the “smell” system is closely linked to the limbic brain regions that affect emotion, memory and behaviour, which is why a particular smell or fragrance can evoke very strong emotional memories. This study shows, additionally, that the act of breathing itself, even in the absence of smells, can influence our emotions and memory.

The In-Breath Encodes Memories and Regulates Emotions

To further understand the effects that nasal breathing has on our brain regions, the scientists conducted separate experiments to test the effects of nasal breathing on memory and emotional behaviour. 60 subjects were presented with fearful or surprised faces, and had to make rapid decisions about the emotional expressions of the faces they saw. They were able to recognize the fearful faces (but not surprised faces) much faster when the faces appeared specifically during an in-breath through the nose. This didn’t happen during an out-breath, nor while mouth breathing. The scientists also tested memory where the same 60 subjects had to view images and later recall them. They found that memory for these images was much better if they first encountered and encoded these images during an in-breath through the nose.

These findings show a system where our in-breath is like a remote control for our brains: by breathing in through our nose we are directly affecting the electrical signals in the “smell” regions, which indirectly controls the electrical signals of our memory and emotional brain centers. In this way, we can control and optimize brain function using our in-breath, to have faster, more accurate emotional discrimination and recognition, as well as gain better memory.

Before you go, check my brain…distorted guitar riff alert!!!…

 

 

Osteoporosis Drugs May Weaken Bones

Bust made of bones

A report on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme today highlighted new research which suggests that drugs used to treat weak bones in elderly patients suffering from osteoporosis may actually make them weaker.  Below are key the key points from an accompanying article on the BBC website

Scientists at Imperial College London examined the bone structure of hip-fracture patients who had been treated with bisphosphonates.  They found evidence the drugs were linked to microscopic cracks, making bones more fragile and prone to break.

Osteoporosis affects three million people in the UK.  Losing bone is a normal part of the ageing process, but some people lose bone density much faster than normal. This can lead to osteoporosis and an increased risk of fractures.

Bisphosphonates – the main treatment for osteoporosis – are a commonly prescribed class of drugs that slow down the natural processes by which the body removes ageing or damaged bone.  But doctors have raised concerns about the number of fractures occurring among elderly patients who have been taking the drugs for a long time.

To find out why, the team led by Dr Richie Abel took samples of bone from 16 hip-fracture patients and studied them at the Diamond Light Source – the massive doughnut-shaped Syncatron or particle accelerator at the Harwell campus in south Oxfordshire.

“What we wanted to see was whether the bone from bisphosphonate patients was weaker or stronger than bone from untreated controls,” Dr Abel explained.

“Rather startlingly, we found the bone from the bisphosphonate patients was weaker. That’s a conundrum because the bone should be stronger.”

Animal bone sculptures by Hideki Tokushiga

By bombarding the samples with X-rays 10 billion times brighter than the Sun, the team were able to generate images of the internal structure of the bones in unprecedented detail.  These showed microscopic cracks building up in the bones of patients treated with bisphosphonates.

Dr Abel said: “The drug is clearly working, but it also leads to the build-up of micro-cracks in the bone and that could increase the likelihood of a fracture.”

It’s a surprising result, but the study was small and the work is at an early stage.  Even so, Professor Justin Cobb, a co-author on the paper, says the discovery raises important questions about how we prescribe bisphosphonates for long-term conditions such as osteoporosis.

“There’s no hurry, but we should think about how long people are taking them for, and how we might monitor the development of these micro-cracks,” he said.

In the meantime the researchers say people should continue to take medications prescribed by their doctor.

A good diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking and alcohol, safe exposure to sunlight and regular exercise involving some weight bearing activity are also highly recommended for good bone health.

To close, here’s Shakey Graves (swoon!) with a cover of Rush’s Roll the Bones…see what I did there…