We have all heard someone talking about the benefits of Pilates. Many types of people, at different levels of fitness, who have started doing Pilates exercises say they’ve seen improvements in range of movement, flexibility, circulation, posture, and abdominal strength and decreases in back, neck and joint pain.
Having qualified as a Pilates instructor to the advanced level I can see those changes happening within my own classes and that is extremely satisfying!
Functional fitness is a fairly new craze that has hit the industry and yet that is the foundation of Pilates. No changes needed there then!
Pilates is a voyage of discovery in body awareness. Your shape and posture can change by educating you in daily life skills such as pulling in your tummy and drawing your shoulders down throughout the day. There is an attention required during class that changes your awareness and continues even after class.
Personal understanding of how you sit, stand or how you move and being able to relate those habits to the aches and pains and injuries you have or have had in the past is one of the greatest benefits.
Despite it being largely common sense, a lot of what we do is so habitual that we become unaware of how our daily lives affect us. Weakness of the postural muscles is a prime example of this. Even those who exercise often don’t use their core muscles and rely on their extremities. This can be witnessed most often in the gym environment.
We are taught in Pilates to think of our bodies as a tree. Does it have all its strength in its limbs? No. The tree is only as strong as its trunk and roots. Without a strong trunk, the tree would topple over.
“It’s the same for human bodies. If we don’t concentrate on building a good foundation and a strong trunk or core, we’ll end up with an imbalance in our muscles, some compensating for others and doing work they were never designed to do. This leaves us susceptible to injury and at the mercy of our occupations. Mine is one of the few that will avoid this problem!
A Stronger Core
A stronger core is more useful, a flexible muscle is a strong muscle. If you are looking for ‘flat abs’ then you are actually looking for weight loss. One should not be confused with the other. Abdominal strength and core support give the benefits of a healthy back and body.
As you develop better body awareness, stand straighter and become more flexible so your shape will change. You will still have the same body but one that you are appreciating and feeling confident about.
Of course Pilates is not suitable for everyone and just as with any new exercise programme medical advice should be sought if there is an existing injury or medical condition.
If you have read this, found it interesting and would like more information, please get in touch.