When I write for Stylebook, I feel like I focus on the topics that interest me the most. So, I took to Instagram and asked for your questions (please follow me at @drmeganbrown for exercise and physical therapy tips). You sent in some great ones! There are more, but I will follow up and post those on my account.
Q: Suggestions for chronic neck pain when physical therapy hasn’t given much relief. (Thank you @mcqdrex)
A: Well first I would send you to my favorite physical therapist for neck pain, Mike Reing, the owner of Advantage Physical Therapy. He is the best with necks. Other than that, here are some quick tips:
View this post on Instagram
See full post in my link in profile (live 8/8). Before we start strengthening the correct postural muscles, we need to stretch out the culprits that keep forcing you into that position. Also, it’s difficult to hold “proper” posture if we are constantly pulling against the resistance of tight muscles. Try these easy exercises that when performed daily, can automatically improve your posture and reduce neck pain. Now that we have loosened up the muscles that help cause this faulty posture, it’s time to recruit, educate and strengthen the postural muscles that are weak and inactive. Educate you say? Yep! Contrary to what we commonly hear and see at the gym, it’s not just about strengthening muscles…we also have to educate them. In PT terms, that’s neuro-reeducation, meaning restoring muscles to their normal function. And that function is pulling your shoulders back and into the correct position without—SEE FULL POST
Speaking of The Shoe Hive, this next question is from her!
Q: What other exercise do you do?
A: If I am not teaching, which, oh man, teaching virtually requires us to actually “do” the class so I am working out at least five days a week. I know, that’s annoying to read. On the off days, I do rest or I may take a hike at my favorite spot, Sky Meadows State Park. Other than that, when I am working on the business side of MtM from home, I try to stretch out throughout the day and squeeze my butt with my brain as much as possible after I have been sitting on it. I also prop my feet up and pump my ankles to improve circulation.
Q: Intermittent Fasting. Still loving it? Lessons/advice? (Thank you @diplomaticdressing)
A: Yes, I have been casually practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF) for five years now and it has changed my life. I basically move my breakfast forward to at least 11am and try to eat all meals within an eight-hour window. It’s become such a part of my life that I don’t even think about it anymore. You can get super technical with IF which will provide even more health benefits other than weight and appetite control (that’s why I practice it, I used to be hungry all the time. And for Alzheimer’s prevention). Listen to this The Genius Life podcast episode (there are more, this one was most impactful) and you will be blown away! Thanks, Meg Briam for this podcast rec.
Q: What are you doing to keep your life balanced at the moment? (Thank you @krice546)
A: Nothing. Not a darn thing. Not anything that is actually working at least. I am, however, finding things that help me not spin out of control, not cry daily, not binge potato chips and chocolate cake, not scream into my pillow before I go to sleep, not yell at my kids when they fight, not give up on my business, not take for granted my family’s health. But I am in no way finding balance. What I’m doing to “not lose it”: reading (for once, I normally hate reading), sitting on my porch (I bought a bird feeder), drinking good wine (but I recently cut back), walking more (I stroll and check out the trees and birds). Breathing more. Saying thank you more. Telling people I love them (more).
Q: What are your favorite pieces from lululemon? (Thank you again @theshoehive)
A: This could be an entire post! But here’s the edit:
The best and most supportive workout bra:
I don’t like any bouncing when I run, jump, dance, etc. I also don’t like straps digging into my neck and upper shoulder area. So for Pilates Boot Camp, my HIIT meets HAWT conditioning workout, I love the Enlite Bra. I love every style but especially the zipper version.
The best workout pants I’ve ever worn in my entire life:
Wunder Under Super High Rise Full-On Luxtreme (I have every color, these are part of my work uniform).
The structure is simple. No fancy pockets, zippers or mesh cutouts. I prefer this simple design and light compression for performance. The super high waist supports my abdominals and pulls in my belly especially on my “lady days.” When new styles drop, make sure you order quickly, they sell out.
The best t-shirts:
Soft and versatile, I tie these in the front or the back. They look great with shorts, skirts, and jeans…and your favorite bathing suit!
Q: What supplements do you take? (Thank you @alexandriastylebook)
A: I am all over the place and super inconsistent. In a perfect world I would take these consistently:
Listen to this podcast, another one from The Genius Life, his guest lists four essential vitamins everyone should take daily. He states these four decrease your chance of death (yes…death): Vitamin C, Magnesium, Vitamin K2, and Vitamin D3.
Q: What have been your COVID silver linings? (Thank you @madelynorfitelli)
A: The little lining: No more yellow stains on my white t-shirts since I haven’t worn deodorant in four months.
The big lining: Reconnecting with old friends. Reconnecting with past clients from all over the country (California, Connecticut, New York, Washington State, Florida) and the globe (Pakistan, England, South Africa, Canada, and Mexico) I love seeing them pop up in my virtual Facebook LIVE classes!
Q: Hips! I had hip clicking (too much sitting and cycling?!) but regular Pilates has helped a ton. (Thank you @carolinewalsh2)
A: Yes and yes! Pilates is the best to counter sitting and any repetitive exercise that lives in one plane. Our bodies move in three planes. Running and cycling are dominant in one plane. I love both of those activities, but it’s important to balance our bodies biomechanically in all three planes. That means we need to twist and work outside of our body’s midline (think jumping jacks) just as much. If you run and cycle, great, and I know we all sit too much. You can join our Pilates classes any time virtually (we run live classes but save them in our Facebook groups so you can come back to them any time. We have about 1,000 saved classes!) Let me know in the comments below or follow me on IG @drmeganbrown and I can help guide you.
Q: What can we do to support MtM?! (awww thank you @krice546)
A: You are doing it! We are overwhelmed by your messages, your expressions of gratitude, and your referrals. It is literally keeping us going. You consistently tell us “thank you.” We are so floored by that because we thank you for sticking with us and supporting us. Because of you all, we will still be here on the other side…whenever that happens (and it will). Feeling your support has been the most significant moment of my professional life. Truly. And I can’t begin to thank you enough.
Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga was founded in 2008 by Megan Brown, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Polestar Certified Practitioner of Pilates for Rehabilitation and Sara VanderGoot, Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher (e-RYT 200, RYT 500). In their private practices as physical therapist and massage therapist respectively Megan and Sara observed that many of their clients were coming in with similar needs: relief for neck and shoulder tension and low back pain as well as a desire for more flexibility in hips and legs, stability in joints, and core strength.
Together Megan and Sara carefully crafted a curriculum of Pilates and yoga classes to address needs for clients who are pregnant, postpartum, have injuries or limitations, who are new to Pilates and yoga, and for those who are advanced students and are looking for an extra challenge.