Exercise and Your Brain

Last summer, I went to Pilates Anytime in Santa Barbara with a mission:
  1. Teach people how mind-body movement really works
  2. Fill a gap in fitness education by overviewing the anatomy of the central nervous system - the computer behind both voluntary and involuntary movement
  3. Let exercisers know how to improve their own performance with tricks to improve communication from the brain to the body and the body to the brain
  4. Help instructors understand some techniques to work with people with neurological conditions
  5. Escape DC summer (Not really... Well, maybe a little...)
The workshop covered central nervous system 101, reflexes (like the one that we use to walk), voluntary movement and how to make it better, why bad movement is programmed into the brain (and what to do about it), how to mediate pain through something called the Gate system, why babies are a hot mess, how music is "constructed" within your brain, the reason accomplishing something you're afraid of is going to be like getting a hit of a very powerful feel-good drug, and much more. We figured out whether attendees left and right hemispheres were talking to each other, and why women use more of their brains than men. I also included some trivia - great for the next time you need to engage in small talk at a party, including the story of how Albert Einstein's brain was stolen, why alcohol burns when you put it on a cut, the reason my husband yells at the TV screen during a sporting event (and why you might, too), and the scientific theory behind foot fetishes, among others. Curious? You can watch a trailer for the workshop below: If you're interested in taking the whole workshop, it was recorded, so you can take it here. You don't have to be a member of Pilates Anytime to access the content! For those teachers who want to go in depth on working with neurological conditions (most specifically multiple sclerosis), the 2- and 3-day Pilates for MS teacher training courses I also developed are taught in both the United States and across Europe. The UK MS Society offers grants for students interested in the course in that part of the world. Until next time, stay hard core (and learn something new every day!), Mariska

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