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Geometry Keeps You In Shape

Updated on October 27, 2016


I've been going to weekly Pilates lessons for around 8 years now. It's quite a nice escape. A group of around 10 people and the instructor concentrating on our Base Line Essential Principles (gosh my instructor would be so proud of me...)

My instructor was a maths teacher and now teaches Pilates. I don't think she taught during the OFSTED years but she still refers to her lesson plans and checks progress and corrects us regularly throughout the class. Prods and pokes if our shoulders are rising to our ears or our necks aren't long or we're not looking where we're shooting our arrow.

The lesson is quite mathematical and I worry sometimes what someone who is not mathematically confident might think of the instructions. While I'm sniggering at the funny maths comments, are others sniggering with embarrassment?

Trapeziums and parallelograms

One of the moves we do at Pilates is called a spine twist and the instructor will ask us to put our arms in the "Cossack" position. We're then reminded to keep our pelvic floor at first level and engage our stomach at 25%. Following this we're asked to twist, whilst keeping our arms in a nice rectangle no trapeziums or parallelograms. Then to keep the maths going we are asked to ensure that our arms remain parallel with the floor.

The references to so many mathematical terms, always makes me smile. Not only are we being asked to think about how we position our bodies but half way through the exercise we are asked something that seems at first impossible..."Now cross everything the other way" This must be the biggest challenge of all, unfold your arms and uncross your leg and cross/fold them in the other direction! (go on try it!)

I do this with ease now, I have my own patterns and logic that I follow at this point. For quite a while I would uncross everything and re-cross in exactly the same position. But, now wrist watch on top first set and wrist watch below on second set. I think I cross my legs in the opposite direction?

Don't run when you can walk

I have recently started to walk, not in the countryside or up hills, just around the local area. Whilst we were away in the summer we would walk around European cities, sometimes covering up to 15 miles a day.

This has made me realise how easy it is to walk these distances and even in 30 degrees of heat. I know aim to walk at least 3 miles a day!

I am currently averaging 2.8 miles a day. I have been quite sedentary lately. I have a step counter and distance counter on my phone and I like to use the information on it to calculate average speeds. The upgraded APP now tells me how far I have walked each minute and I can then do lots of calculations.

Speed = distance divided by time

Remember, Geometry Keeps You in Shape? Quite a nice play on words really, because we're told we don't want be apple shaped, we should be walking 10000 steps a day and people often talk about how mathematical even a game of football is.

The APP on my phone allows me to see that on average I walk 0.06 miles per minute. Occasionally, it's 0.08 and sometimes 0.05. I love this information it allows me to calculate my average speed and I do this by multiplying the distance I walk each minute by 60, the number of minutes in an hour and I can calculate that I walk at a respectful 3.6 miles per hour.

This is why I don't run because I can walk. A far gentler exercise, but it gets my heart rate up and I'm hoping it won't damage my knees as much and that my gluts won't become Kardashian sized!

Those averages again...

I said earlier that my average daily distance that I walked was 2.8 miles. I am in the slow part of the week now, where my walking slows down and then picks up again. Although, Wednesday can be a busy walking day. So far today, I have walked 270 steps but not even left the house.

Yesterday, Monday and Sunday were low step days, but Saturday I covered 6.7 miles, Friday 5.3 miles and Thursday 6.6 miles, suddenly my average weekly distance shoots up because those three days when I have walked almost double my daily distance on other days of the week.

My point is I don't walk 2.8 miles a day but on average I do. I think it's helping me keep in shape.


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