Raising the Barre on Your Workout

beautiful sporty woman doing stretching exercise

I recently had the misfortune of throwing my back out, and by “out” I’m talking use of a wheelchair, a walker, my friends – and becoming one with a bottle of muscle relaxers. After an MRI revealed a disc herniation, I thought I’d never get back in the fitness groove again. Ironically it was a badly performed yoga move that got me there in the first place! From there on out, no more half moon pose for me.

One tip I learned from my physical therapist was not moving is the worst thing for back pain. Our spines are designed for movement, and strengthening our core and back muscles helps to improve posture, prevent further injury, and creates stability. Still, no more yoga?? Depressing.

I had heard about Barre workouts from friends and thought it was some fancy exercise strictly for those with ballet experience. I did a little research, and found this workout to be low impact with no “bendy” moves, and great for anyone with joint issues, and any age group! Furthermore, it was something I could do at home with a DVD, and the only equipment needed was a chair, hand-held weights, and a Pilates ball, or rolled towel.

Barre conditioning is a ballet-inspired workout that incorporates Pilates and yoga using a ballet barre or chair, counter etc. as a means to maintain balance. Flowing through small yet powerful movements makes this a highly effective workout that allows for modification depending on the joint problem. After about four sessions, I had no back strain whatsoever and felt more stable than I had in weeks. Although I chose to practice at home, Barre studios across the country offer classes for anyone preferring a group setting.

It’s important to ask your doctor before beginning any new exercise regime, but I have to say being completely pain-free, and feeling stronger than I have in a long time has made me look forward to working out! I even treated myself to a new yoga mat because we all need a little incentive right?

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