What exactly are the health benefits of Pilates?
PILATES seems to have a “buzz” around it at the moment. With sayings such as ‘Pilates has got your back’ and with many healthcare professionals recommending it as a form of exercise – you may wonder what EXACTLY are the health benefits of Pilates?
Let me try and explain them to you.
When I used to think of Pilates the words “zip and hollow” spring to mind and not having a scooby-do about how to work my core muscles made me give up going.
Now that I have been trained and educated in Pilates there is no going back for me.
Pilates means postural awareness, body position recognition and correction, core strength and optimal use for function, efficient breathing, reduced risk of injuries, improved mood and a healthy mind, a toned body and even curbed sugar cravings.
So in terms of the health benefits of Pilates, there are plenty.
Imagine being able to recognise your daily bad postural habits and being able to correct them before they turn into niggles, aches or pains.
Imagine the glow you would get as you sat with brilliant posture that oozed self confidence and a high self worth without feeling snobbish.
Imagine being able to use your core muscles every day without the need for rolling out an exercise mat.
That is Pilates now for me.
The health benefits of Pilates are huge.
Pilates will strengthen your core muscles namely your lower tummy and pelvic floor muscles so you not only stop peeing your pants your tummy tones up as an added bonus.
Pilates teaches you how to move, position and change your body postures optimally thus reducing compressive forces through your spine.
Pilates can teach you to breathe efficiently and effectively using your diaphragm to help you get the best oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange possible. Breathing correctly enables us to feel energised and reduces fatigue and lethargy tenfold.
Pilates reduces your risk of injuries by increasing your body position awareness, facilitating the use of your core and helping you to move in an optimal way. Injury prevention is much easier when you are more tuned into your own body and the way it moves.
You develop a mutual respect for your body being your vessel and you start to put into it what you want out of it.
Pilates allows you to be more mindful and present within your body. It enhances your mood by helping release your natural happy hormones, endorphins. As you focus on the control, precision and flow of the movement it can really take you away from all the noisy chatter of your day-to-day brain into a sea of calm serenity.
Pilates is one of those exercises that once you master the core it opens several doors for you and makes life that bit lighter, happier and healthier.
As a physiotherapist, I now use my Pilates education to treat many different health care needs. It’s perfect for pregnancy as the combined use of core, posture, breathing and movement is super for keeping active and preparing for labour and birth.
I teach ladies with osteopenia and osteoporosis safely with Pilates ensuring they don’t do any loaded forward bends or articulating spinal movements such as those found in the shoulder bridge. This is to help protect bone density and prevent wedge fractures.
Here is a little video of the shoulder bridge exercise explaining how to do it correctly using your core muscles and also how to modify it if you have osteoporosis.
It is fantastic for people with back care problems as it helps educate and empower you to strengthen your spine with the knowledge and confidence that your core stability muscles are helping you. Pilates exercises will allow you to keep moving safely and help to reduce aches and pains but more importantly alleviate fear and anxiety related to back pain problems.
During Pilates classes a good teacher will spend time educating you, teaching you “how to” and actively get you working you pelvic floor muscles. For any ladies post childbirth, going through or post menopause or suffering with prolapse or bladder/bowel incontinence this can help massively to improve your quality of life. Say “ta-rah” to Tena ladies and hello nice knickers as you regain control of your bladder/bowel.
Be able to confidently sneeze in public once more without the fear of wetting yourself.
Pilates is a lifestyle change and a lifestyle choice.
One that is most definitely for the better.
If you want to nurture your spine, empower your body and focus your mind Pilates IS for you. The health benefits of Pilates are clear.
You can watch me teach some classic Pilates exercises on my you tube channel <<<here>>>. Be sure to subscribe to see more video’s being added.