by Dr Pauline So, Family Chiropractor
My first experience with barre was with iNSiDE Out STUDiO barre right here in Ottawa. I had read and heard about what a great workout it is, so it was with anticipation and expectation that I joined my first class shortly after the studio opened. My personal experience was fantastic from start to finish. There is an outstanding level of service that is rare and the individual attention to each client is unparalleled in a group class.
As a Chiropractor, my mission is to empower our community to have outrageous health on all levels. So, I often get asked what exercise is best to strengthen posture and support one’s spine. While there are a lot of great workouts out there that which really range in intensity , fitness level, and focus, when I found Inside Out I was really excited about the benefits of this workout not only for myself but also to recommend to patients. Barre is the only workout I have found that specifically targets those ever important postural muscles. It’s a full body, lengthening, strengthening, posture enhancing, core tightening, mind and heart empowering one hour workout.
Barre is a combination of yoga, pilates, and strength training focusing on small isometric movements which increase lean muscle mass and help fight osteoporosis. It works well to exhaust each muscle group and then really relax and stretch it before moving on to the next group. What I also like about it is that it is suitable for all levels of fitness as it is low impact, low to no injury, and yet can result in incredible changes. Even after doing it 4-5x/week for a couple years, and more recently as a barre instructor, the better your technique, the more you will shake,(which is a great thing because this is a sign that your muscles are changing!). And it’s amazing that in a group class the instructors, do hands on corrections with everyone throughout the class.
Something not everyone knows is that the research is clear, posture is related to systemic health. In other words, bad postures and repetitive physical stress will adversely affect your health just as good postures and proper movement will support your health. It can affect everything including muscle and joint health, energy levels, immune function, sleep, proper breathing, and even digestion. Chiropractic focuses on correcting posture and movement to increase health function and your barre workout supports this correction in the following ways:
- The Tuck – this fundamental move in the class tilts the pelvis, engaging the core (both abdominals and back muscles) and protecting the lower spine.
- Shoulders Open and Back – this strengthens the rhomboids, combatting rounded shoulders from sitting at our desks, in our cars, carrying and taking care of our kids, sitting in front of the TV, and texting on our phones all day. It also provides a better foundation for our heads to sit on, and pulls our body back towards our center of gravity.
- Head Up and Back – this combats Forward Head Posture, taking the strain off of all our neck muscles.
So not only does it mean long, lean muscles and a strong, toned physique, but it will decrease cortisol (stress hormone), boost self esteem and overall health. Get and stay healthy both inside and out, it really is the intelligent fitness choice!
Dr. Pauline So
Arc of Life Chiropractic and Massage Therapy