FITNESS FOCUS: oh, my aching knees! I don’t know about you, but the older I get, the more “aware” I am of my knees and how sensitive they are to my daily movements. Only after I began studying Pilates did I realize how the knee affects my body’s overall alignment. If the muscles around my knees are tight or weak, that causes my entire body to be out of alignment which places further strain on my knees and other joints. Pilates is a good exercise method for those who have “knee problems” because it works on building core strength which holds the upper body in proper position relieving strain on the knees. Practicing Pilates also works to increase the large muscles in the legs like the quadriceps and hamstrings which support the knee while not requiring pressure or strain on the knee itself. The knee folds exercise helps to stabilize the pelvis and initiate our movement from the core without disturbing our alignment. This is important for performing tasks that require weight to be placed on the knee like squatting, stair climbing, and walking/running.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, hip distance apart. Your feet are flat on the floor in line with your knees.
Lengthen through the crown of your head. Drop your shoulders back and down. Your arms are by your sides.
Your hips are level and your spine is in its Neutral Position (*remember small space in the lower back). Breathe deeply. Inhale, and on the exhale, pull your ribcage toward your hips, navel to spine-keeping the spine in neutral. Focus on expanding the ribcage out with each breath and not up and down.
On an inhale, feel that you are using your abdominal muscles to lift one leg off the floor. Keep the knee bent and hinge from the hip. The hips stay level, spine stays in neutral, shoulders and neck stay relaxed. (*Try not to press up with the hands for example. Use your abdominals to lift the leg.)
Exhale and return your foot to the floor. As you do so, be sure to use abdominal control. Don’t let the leg take over.
Repeat with the other leg. Inhale to lift foot off the floor,exhale to lower. No rocking in hips or pelvis.
Do 5 lifts with each leg, alternating.
FAITH FOCUS: Learning to move through our life with stability and control that comes from a strong CORE in Christ is something that takes a great deal of practice and training. It does not come easily for us. When faced with an obstacle we tend to avoid the hard work. Just like weak knees can be an obstacle for physical activity, weak faith can hinder our spiritual activity. We must train our faith, build it strong, so that we can do the activities that God has planned for us. It it with this training which includes, prayer, Bible Study, meditation on the Word, that builds our CORE in Christ which where all our movement in life should initiate.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. (Hebrews 12:11-12)