Health Report

By Hannah Wallace July 1, 2011

Pilates Power

Certified Pilates instructor Christina Maria Gadar helps us debunk five misconceptions about “the Pilates Method.”

Pilates is...

>>Just for women

Founder Joseph Pilates was an avid boxer—as well as a beer and cigar lover. Rumor has it, according to Gadar, that kegs were the basis for Pilates’ original barrel apparatus, and the steel keg hoop inspired the magic circle accessory. Nearly half of Gadar’s clients are male.

>>Like Yoga

“While Pilates is a wonderful complement to yoga,” Gadar says, “Pilates does not repeat poses often, and doesn’t require holding poses for a long time.” Most Pilates exercises are done for three to five repetitions, allowing the practitioner to maintain good form before the body fatigues. On the apparatus, the idea is to keep the springs constantly moving (with control), so that the body is always moving.

>>For Dancers

Although dancers were among the first to discover Pilates (they use it for conditioning), Pilates can be a well-rounded primary exercise regimen for anyone—“or cross-training for golf, tennis and more,” says Gadar.

>>Just Stretching

“The fact that dancers—who are already flexible—flock to Pilates is proof that this is a misconception,” argues Gadar. In addition to building flexibility, Pilates exercises generate both strength and control.

>>All the same

“When I was certified in 2000 by Joseph Pilates’ protégé Romana Kryzanowska,” says Gadar, “only graduates of Romana’s program could legally say that they taught Pilates; all other teachers had to label their work as ‘Pilates-based.’” That distinction no longer exists. Be sure to ask about your instructor’s credentials, “not only to gain the benefit that true Pilates can provide,” she adds, “but also to avoid injury.”


An Apple a Day…

A recent study reinforces the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” In the study, 80 women were each given a daily snack of 75 grams of dried apple, in addition to their normal diet. After a year, total cholesterol levels in the group were reduced 14 percent, while LDL (“bad” cholesterol) dropped by 23 percent. Scientists attribute much of the improvements to fiber, but there may also be a gel-like substance in apple pulp that binds with cholesterol and removes it from the body.

The study also noted that, though the apples added a couple hundred calories to the participants’ diets, the apple-eating women actually averaged a weight loss of 3.3 pounds.

Source: National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health


Three is the magic number in Sarasota, where popular triathlons make the most of our calm Gulf waters, great weather and gorgeous scenery. Before you sign up for your next tri, here’s something you should know about the bike portion of your race. When it comes to wheelsets—that is, the rim or frame for the wheel—carbon fiber is a popular alternative to traditional aluminum, says Johan Boakes, triathlete and co-owner of Sarasota’s CABO Multisport. Here’s why.

Carbon fiber is lighter: It takes less carbon to achieve the wheel’s necessary stiffness. Less material means a lighter ride.

It’s sturdier: Carbon fiber vibrates less than aluminum, which means more of your energy goes into moving forward.


The Ultra-Spa

The Met Fashion House, Day Spa and Salon now offers yet another high-end service: aesthetic procedures. The St. Armands Circle destination recently partnered with plastic surgeon Dr. David Holcomb to create an “ultra spa,” offering aesthetic treatments like Botox and Sculptra. “It’s sort of tag-teaming,” Holcomb explains. “Clients might have their hair done and get a little Botox.” The menu of services may expand in the future. Holcomb describes the partnership as win-win: “The Met is adding another tier of high-end services, and we’re joining an established fashion house and spa with a really great reputation.”


Prosthetics Plus

Two state-of-the-art tools for limb enhancement, both available through the new Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics offices in Venice and Bradenton.


For: People suffering from foot-drop, dragging the foot or toes while walking.

What it does: Restores a natural walking motion.

What it is: A discreet cuff that fits around the leg, just below the knee.

How it works: After it electronically analyzes your gait, WalkAide determines the appropriate time to send an impulse to the peroneal nerve, which controls movement in the ankle and foot.

Insignia Laser Scanning

For: People being fitted for prosthetic limbs.

What it does: Creates a more comfortable-fitting prosthetic than traditional fitting techniques (tape measure or plaster casting).

What it is: A hand-held, motion-tracking, laser wand scanner.

How it works: Without ever touching the patient, the scanner sends three-dimensional information about the body part to proprietary computer-aided design software, which is then used to create a custom device accurate to within one millimeter.



“The majority of hearing loss is in the older population, but a recent study reports that one in five teens has hearing loss. They may not notice it yet, but hearing loss is progressive; you never can recover.” — Edward F. Ogiba, president, Hearing Loss Association of Sarasota

16.1% >> People with hearing loss in Sarasota and Manatee counties, tied for the highest percentage in the nation.

Tooth and Bone

The importance of dental implants runs deep. Because they’re anchored to a titanium rod that’s inserted into the jawbone, dental implants actually mimic natural tooth roots, which stimulate the bone whenever you chew. Without that stimulation, the bone shrinks—“much like bone loss that occurs in other parts of the body from lack of use,” says Sarasota dentist Dr. Craig Misch. And dentures, the alternative to implants, actually accelerate the bone loss by putting pressure on the gums and underlying bone. “That’s why dentures don’t fit as well after a few years,” Misch explains.

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