Pilates & the Placebo Effect

While on the Metro heading to work yesterday, I was reading Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely for my Executive Decision Making class and read about the placebo effect. I had heard of this before but the timing was perfect for a refresher. Basically, it’s about the power of your thinking and the power of perception. The chapter is really about the Power of Price and how people think more expensive medicine works better. For example, in an experiment, participants would determine the expensive medicine (really just a vitamin) to be more effective in treating pain than the less expensive choice (actually Advil). As I’m realizing the power of the mind in recovery and healing, I thought this could be really applicable to my situation. I really tried to focus on the power of positive thinking. I may have taken an Advil and told myself it was a calf healing pill…. The chapter confirmed what I had been working on – my mental perspective. That’s what it is about for me now. Predictably Irrational is an excellent read – would highly recommend!

Yesterday was also my first pilates class at Discovery. Discovery offers free fitness classes for employees including pilates and boot camp. This was my first ever mid-workday workout, from 12-1 pm. Luckily, it had been moved due to rain from the rooftop to the Science Channel conference room. I had gotten a new yoga mat at Whole Foods so I didn’t have to carry my home mat every week to and from work on the metro. Interestingly, Whole Foods had great prices (compared to Target and City Sports) on yoga mats with an excellent selection. I love my new mat!

Gaiam Dragonfly Hydrangea Print hot pink yoga mat

Gaiam Dragonfly Hydrangea Print hot pink yoga mat

The class was smaller than usual (according to some others in the class) probably due to vacation with about 8 students; usually there are about 15-20 students. The instructor was brought in from a local yoga and pilates studio and excellent. The class was more of a blend between yoga and pilates than strictly pilates. This week we focused on balance postures but since the class was a full hour, we covered a wide range of poses and exercises. I recognized a few of the exercises from YogaX such as Royal Dancer, Tree, Down dog (of course), Warrior poses, Triangle. My legs were shaking a lot! It was nice to do yoga in a group setting, as well. I don’t think it’s great to compare oneself to others or treat it as a competitive situation, but when I saw some of the women able to do poses that I’m not quite able to, it gave me more motivation to get there. For example, standing, bending at the waist with legs spread out, hands touching respective ankles. That’s how I do it. Others were able to put there hands under their feet and touch their forehead to the floor! That’s my December (when the class ends) goal – to get to that point. One girl recommended the Jillian Michaels yoga dvds – only 30 minutes and apparently a good workout! I liked that the instructor told us the benefits of many of the exercises such ones that massage your colon and help with digestion (good for me) as well as poses to help runners. Check out this pose below – you can lean farther back on your elbows if you’d like a deeper stretch. Your legs below your knees should be a little out to the side, not directly under your quads/hamstrings. It’s not comfortable but massages the lymph nodes behind your knees.
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After yoga/pilates, I felt strong and positive. My leg strength can be improved for sure. But I can see how incorporating yoga/pilates once a week at least can make me a stronger runner both physically and mentally. And I had renewed energy and focus for the afternoon!

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One comment

  1. […] after the class or before the run the next day. I also realized the importance of stretching (and yoga!) for recovery. I don’t know how I didn’t get injured before […]

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