AM Pilates Studio

Located in Las Vegas, NV USA 702-339-2809

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Cardio Happy: 5 Ways without Hitting the Gym

How Much Cardio Do We Really Need?

The American Heart Association Recommends the following

Trampoline Cardio Fun

Trampoline Cardio Fun

For Overall Cardiovascular Health:

At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150 minutes

At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.

For Lowering Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
An average 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity 3 or 4 times per week

Who Has Time for That??

But what if you really can’t find that solid 30 minutes a day? Or just don’t want to?

  • According to the AHA, 10-15 minute increments are just as beneficial as 30 straight minutes.
  • But don’t disregard activities that take less then 10 minutes. Something is better then nothing!

Why Should We??

In my last post, I touched on the release of the feel good chemicals during cardio, and it’s ability to decrease depressive symptoms. Below are a few more of the benefits we receive. Click here to see a full list of cardiovascular exercise health and wellness benefits from the American Heart Association.

  • Increased Energy
  • Sound Sleep
  • Reduced Stress
  • Curbed Appetite
  • Better Self-Image
  • Increased Physical Strength
  • Creates Healthy Habits for Life

What To Do? 5 Ideas

Below is a list of activities that will get your heart pumping without taking time from your already busy schedule.
In my last post I gave you one idea: Park Far from the Entrance (safety permitting)!

Here are 5 more ideas:

1.Take the stairs – and use your legs.

  • Make sure your whole foot is on the step and put your weight primarily on the heel.
  • This gets your legs working most efficiently and is a great glute (booty) toner and strengthener.

2. Clean your own house – I work up a serious sweat when I vacuum, sweep and mop! And I am using my core muscles as I move.

3. Play with the kids – When I go to the park with my son, I bring a book with the intent of letting him play while I get some reading done. That never happens, at least not for long. He gets me up and moving,

  • climbing, chasing, sliding; and the added benefit is the nurturing of our relationship.
Me and the fam at Flipin' Out Trampoline park. Pic taken on the floor of the bounce house.

Me and the fam at Flipin’ Out Trampoline park. Pic taken on the floor of the bounce house.

At home we will

  • get on the floor and wrestle (just as I am writing this, my son walks in and asks if I want to fight with him. Time for my afternoon session of cardio!)

Too hot for the park?

  • The new indoor trampoline parks are super fun and a major workout!!

4. Take a Walk on your Lunch Break– If it’s too hot outside, like it is in Vegas right now,

  • go to the nearest mall,
  • or if your building is big enough, take a tour, and take the stairs!!

5. Have a Dance Party 

  • In your living room with or without kids, put on some music and dance, dance, dance! You will probably feel silly at first, but it may be so much fun you’ll wonder why you never danced in your living room before!
  • At the office?? During your 10-15 minute breaks, turn up the music and get out of your chair! It is sure to put a positive spin to your day. (Ask the boss first.)
My husband walking the dogs; his happy cardio.

My husband walking the dogs; his happy cardio.

Tips When Cardioing (Not really a word, but thought it to be fitting)

Thank You again for taking the time to read this blog! I hope it is helpful! You can contact me at!

Happy Cardioing!!

Alison B. Marsh


The American Heart Association

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Skinny Girls Need Cardio Too

Skinny Minnie

I am a thin girl. As a teen I had many insecurities about being thin, only because I was approached daily with the comment “You are SO skinny!” in a disapproving tone. I believe (now) that God gifted me with the ability to exercise a little, eat fairly healthy without denying my sweet-tooth, and still have a thin, somewhat muscular bod. It’s great for business!

Contemporary dance solo at CSN

This pic gives you an idea of my body type. (from a contemporary dance solo at CSN)

I have always been active, though, dancing from the age of 3 and teaching Pilates for over a decade. Therefor, my core is strong and I know how to use my body in an efficient manner. For example, as I sit here writing this post, I am:

  • sitting up straight (I imagine a string pulling from the top of my head,)
  • dropping my shoulder blades down (engaging my lat muscles) (or think ‘armpits to the hips’),
  • gently pulling my belly back,
  • and remembering to breath

Sure, I have slouching moments. Because I have been trained to sit and stand properly from the time I could walk, slouching becomes uncomfortable if I stay for long periods of time.

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener…

I also have clinical depression. The kind that can’t be explained by circumstances. The kind that can show up when everything should be awesome.

I was diagnosed at the age of 34. I had debilitating anxiety as a teen and in my 20’s. Anxiety is know to turn into depression. [2] My psychiatrist put me on 2 medications, but also asked if I was exercising.

I am a Pilates instructor. Taking one look at my body (I say this with humility) and knowing that I teach Pilates, you are not alone if you think I work out all of the time.

But I was not working out.

The catch-22 of depression is that even though exercise has been shown to release the same feel good chemicals that medications synthetically create (nuerotransmitters and endorphins) [1], the depressed person doesn’t feel like getting up to even get dressed let alone move their body enough to release these feel good chemicals.

If you have never experienced clinical depression, it is not easy to understand. My best description is that it feels like moving through molasses. Brushing your hair is even a chore. It’s not the type of thing you can just snap out of. It is a bizzar disease.

On the Other Side

After about a month of taking my medication, in addition to taking 2,000 mg of Omega Fish Oil and a multivitamin with a high B vitamin content, I had enough energy to get my body moving again.

I started with walking in the morning. Between my kids needing fresh air (my kids are adopted, by the way) and my dog’s needing a walk, it became a routine. We would walk in the morning when the sun is in it’s most awesome position of the day. With the combination of

  • movement,
  • getting my heart pumping (cardio),
  • taking care of other living beings (purpose),
  • sunlight (which has been proven to increase energy levels),
  • and God (spirituality),

my depression began to lift and I began to feel like a real person again. I began to feel happiness and enjoy the company of people, feelings that were foreign to me.

Along with the above reasons for the initial lift in my depression, I also had the support of my husband, mom and dad in addition to counseling (faith based), and freeing myself from toxic people in my life. I also ate a more nutritious diet, started sleeping better (with the help of melatonin), and began working out with my clients.

I am 37 now. My depression is under control. I have seasons of melancholy and seasons of high functioning. What the antidepressants seem to do is keep me from falling deep into debilitating depression again, allowing my list of other supports to work.

I notice that those seasons of melancholy show up when I stop getting my cardio. I am currently in the process of getting back into a walking routine, but being on the verge of a hot Vegas summer, walking outdoors is difficult to stick with. I swam the other day. That is an amazing workout! Today I glided on my Gazelle at my studio. Swimming wins between the two.

 Cardio Happy

Cardiovascular activity is CRUCIAL whether you are depressed, happy, skinny, overweight, male or female. In my next post I will give you a list of ways to incorporate cardio into your daily routine.

Here’s 1: Park far away from the entrance of where ever you are going (always thought it was funny when people would wait for the closest parking spot, in the gym parking lot!!), unless it is a safety concern.

As a side note to parking lots, always be aware of your surroundings in the parking lot, keeping your head high (not on your phone). This will also help you keep proper posture!

Thank You so much for taking the time to get to know me! I look forward to many more posts that I hope will be inspiring and helpful! Feel free to email me at with questions, or comment on this post.

Happy cardio hunting!

Headshot May 13

Me, Alison B. Marsh

Alison Marsh, owner of AM Pilates & Posture

For more information on depression and anxiety, go to

For more information on cardiovascular health, go to




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Stronger and Thinner Every Day and a Faster 5K

In the November/December 2012 issue of Fitness Magazine, a hidden perk of core strength was highlighted. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that runners who added 6 weeks of core training to their usual workouts ran a much faster 5K then runners who did not add core training.

The Reason: The 4 sets of abdominal muscles – the Transverse, Internal Obliques, External Obliques, and Rectus Abdominus, support and stabilize your hips and pelvis, allowing your legs to do their job.

Specifically, the Transverse Abdominals-which run horizontally around your waist like a corset, are crucial for not only avid runners, but for all human kind! Our activities of daily living (ADLs) – walking, sitting, lifting, lowering, climbing (stairs), carrying, etc. call on the Transverse Abdominals to support our bodies, particularly our low backs, allowing for more efficient, pain free movement. Woman Measuring Waist

An added perk? The Transverse Abdominals are the muscles that cause the waistline to lose inches, just by the engagement of these muscles. I lose a total of 3.5 inches, measuring from my resting position to my active position as I pull my belly to my spine and sit or stand tall (see my 5 Points to Posture Perfection).

Adding the practice of Pilates just 2-3 times a week will significantly alter not only your 5K experience, but the rest of your days!

Interested in Pilates classes? Call or text me at 702-339-2809 or email at