WONDERING HOW PILATES CAN BENEFIT YOU?
INCREASES CORE STRENGTH
Pilates has a famous reputation for its focus and emphasis on the core. This doesn’t just mean the 6 pack abs but the muscles deep within the abdominals and back attaching to the spine or pelvis, including those all-important pelvic floor muscles. When you increase strength and movement in these muscles you also increase the support and stability in all your day-to-day movements. Pilates focuses on core strength and function which in turn becomes a key factor in reducing back and hip pain and improving pelvic floor function.
As we get older our work environment, daily habits and genetic disposition starts to affect our posture. Pilates focuses on full body alignment, joint mobility and correcting muscle imbalances. It’s so easy for muscles to start deactivating to let larger muscles dominate. This is why the cueing in Pilates is so effective in reminding and bringing awareness to proper form, streamlining and in turn strengthening neglected postural muscles.
DECREASES BACK PAIN
As we strengthen the deeper abdominal muscles and pelvic floor they start to work like corset, helping to lift and support the organs and protect and stabilise the back/spine. By increasing your range of hip mobility it also helps to reduce pressure from spinal compression in the lower back.
HELPS PREVENT INJURIES
Pilates is fantastic for all ages due to its low-impact nature. By increasing strength and stability in joints and muscles it ensures that they are neither too loose & weak nor too tight and rigid. These issues can make the body more susceptible to injury.
IMPROVES SLEEP QUALITY
Poor sleep is a serious public health issue due to lifestyle and environmental changes over the last 100 years. Pilates helps sleep quality by opening out our spine, lengthening through our muscles and alleviating pain from compression, all of this helps the body to relax at night and benefit from restorative sleep. The mindfulness involved in Pilates helps to counterbalance any stresses from the day and ready the mind for sleep.
Joseph Pilates specifically suggests spinal rolling exercises for better and deeper sleep. The rolling and unrolling exercises, he says, massage the spine, relax the nerves, help cleanse the body, and restore the natural flexibility of the spine
BOOST YOUR MOOD
Studies that have specifically explored the mood-boosting benefits of Pilates found a reduction in fatigue, anxiety and depressive symptoms and a release of negative thought patterns. The inward focus and breathwork utilised in Pilates can down-regulate the nervous system. This, in turn, can take you out of fight-or-flight mode, lower cortisol, and decrease stress over time.
TRAINS YOUR BRAIN
Learning a new activity increases the density of white matter in the brain (the fibres that let neurons communicate.) If neurons are formed but don’t connect then eventually, they die without any benefit to brain health so this white matter is very important. Learning a new movement or a new modification in a Pilates routine builds white matter by challenging the body and mind at the same time.
Studies have shown improved cognitive functioning after Pilates training.
Improvements were shown in new neuron development, blood flow to the brain, increased neurotransmitters, and longevity of neurons responsible for learning, memory, and executive thinking
STRENGTHENS YOUR BONES
Strong bone density prevents osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and can affect people of any age. When body parts move against the force of gravity, like in Pilates, you increase your bone density. Pilates works to increase strength and muscle mass, which results in more support for the bones. As well as this you also benefit from an improvement in balance, which can help prevent falls that might result in a bone fracture.
ENHANCES SPORT PERFORMANCE
Many athletes both professional and amateur now incorporate Pilates into their strength and conditioning training. Pilates has become a popular choice because of its ability to balance and align the body by strengthening muscles, increasing mobility and improving mind-muscle connection. All of these allow you to be able to react quicker and with more dynamic strength. Research performed on athletes in multiple sports demonstrated gains in muscle mass, improved speed, improved vertical jump, a more stable core and better flexibility.
IMPROVES YOUR SEX LIFE
And not just in one way! Activating and strengthening of the pelvic floor is a key component in Pilates. Many of us can tighten our glutes or lower abs but have no idea how to contract the pelvis floor until they have a Pilates session. The strengthening of this muscle group correlates with increased sexual pleasure. As well as this, Pilates builds endurance, strength, mobility and flexibility … all of which are going to enhance your bedroom adventures! By feeling better both inside and outside, your self esteem is going to get a boost from regular Pilates sessions.
Due to its low impact nature, classic Pilates sessions don’t leave you feeling fatigued but instead give you a boost of energy. By focusing on breathing, we are able to improve your cardiorespiratory capacity. In turn this stimulates feel-good hormones, oxygen flow and blood circulation.
ENHANCES BODY AWARENESS
During a Pilates class you focus your attention inward, focussing on the sensations in your body and developing your mind muscle connection. This heightens your awareness of pain or comfort, emotions and surrounding environment. In turn this allows you to respond better to stimulus, which can prevent injuries and falls. It can also have the benefit of preventing overeating, as you become more in tune with your body’s hunger signals.