1. Develop a strong core: deep support for a healthy spine
Low back pain affects up to 80% of people at least once in their lifetime. And that pain can keep people from being able to complete normal daily activities, including work. A recent study published in the Lancet medical journal reports that the best cure for most people with back pain is regular movement and exercise. According to Doug Gross, a co-author of the study and a professor of physical therapy at the University of Alberta, exercise might even help to prevent low back pain.
A stronger core equals a better back. Pilates promotes a healthy spine by strengthening deep postural abdominal and spinal muscles to create a strong corset of support.
2. Create an evenly conditioned body
Pilates exercises load joints efficiently and focus on the balanced development of muscle strength and flexibility. While it is good to find movement through a variety of activities, many popular workouts often work the same muscles and reinforce similar recruitment patterns repeatedly. This can lead to muscular imbalances, a primary cause of injuries. Pilates conditions the whole body, from head to toe. By creating support in a balanced way, movement is more efficient, daily activities and sports are performed with greater ease, and there is less chance of injury. That’s why so many professional sports teams and top athletes use Pilates as a vital part of their training regimen.
3. Reduce stress
Breathing and concentration are two important Pilates principles. With focused, deep breathing, blood is better able to deliver oxygen to muscles and organs, tension in the body releases and lung capacity increases. Deep breathing has been shown to reduce stress levels and blood pressure, enhance mood, and improve sleep.
4. Improve posture
Pilates encourages body awareness, especially in relation to posture and how it affects how we move and find support. Many people spend the majority of their time sitting, often in a slouched, forward-flexed position. This can lead to imbalances throughout the body and pain. There is no “one size fits all” work in Pilates. Movements are specific to individual imbalances and weaknesses to help build meaningful strength and support. One-on-one Pilates sessions are important to learn about individual posture and movement patterns. Small group classes are a great way to reinforce new movement patterns and awareness.
5. Better balance
Pilates exercises focus on core strength, proper skeletal alignment, and efficient muscle recruitment which allows for enhanced static and dynamic balance control. Better deep postural support equals better control and coordinated movement throughout the whole body.