By: Janell Strupp, Physical Therapist, Certified Pilates Instructor (25+ years of rehabilitation experience)
Here are the Top 8 Benefits of Pilates
1. Pilates Reduces Back Pain
People with chronic low back pain who practiced Pilates for just four weeks, experienced more relief than those who visited a physician and other spine specialists, according to a Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy study. What's more, their pain stayed away for a full year post-Pilates. Researchers believe that Pilates alleviates stress on the spine both by stabilizing and increasing the mobility of your joints.
2. Pilates is Easy on Your Joints
Pilates' slow and controlled movements puts minimal impact on your joints. The technique expertly tones and lengthens your entire body. Pilates has been shown to be helpful for people with chronic joint pain. Additionally, it has benefited people with delicate conditions such as arthritis, scoliosis, and osteoporosis with a modified Pilates exercise approach. It is important to find a certified Pilates instructor or a licensed Physical Therapist who has been trained to modify the exercises based on your individual needs and health history.
3. Pilates Relieves Stress
Pilates creates deep awareness of your breath, your body, and how they move together. Your mind will actively rediscover muscles you may have totally forgotten about, or areas of your body you didn’t even realize were being neglected. Precise breathing patterns, along with a deep level of focus and attention, can help your body achieve relaxation and greater ease.
4. Pilates Provides Stability
The stabilizer muscles protect you and make all of your movements more efficient. Pilates fires up the deep inner muscles like transverse abdominis, which is essentially your body's natural corset action, and the multifidi, muscles found deep along your spine. Pilates can also help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles supporting your spine. In addition, it coordinates the breathing muscles for optimal performance and stability. Often after injury or surgery, these deep posture control muscles can remain in a protective state. This offers less than optimal support or function. Retraining is frequently necessary to engage the core muscles to function in the way they were meant to. Retraining brings stability and better function back to your everyday activities.
5. Pilates Revitalizes Your Core
Pilates activates the "powerhouse" muscles, helping your body move as efficiently and effectively as possible. Pilates will teach you to activate your muscles from the inside out. After completing 36 weeks of Pilates training, women strengthened their outer rectus abdominis (the 6-pack muscle) by an average of 21%, while eliminating muscle imbalances between the right and left sides of the core, according to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
6. Pilates Makes You More Flexible
People often think that they can't do Pilates because they're not flexible, but that's exactly why you would want to do Pilates. In one study, when young women (without any prior Pilates experience) performed 20 Pilates sessions, they became 19.1 percent more flexible. When you're tight, you shorten your muscles and limit your body's range of motion. At best, that can hurt your exercise performance. At worst, it can cause injury. At Total Health, our Pilates classes are geared to help you improve flexibility and stability, starting where you're at, rather than comparing yourself to others. Modifications will be made for your individual needs, so that you can exercise comfortably while achieving your fitness goals.
7. Pilates Boosts Your Brainpower
Researchers measured changes in women's brain activity after 10 weeks of Pilates training, finding an increase in alpha brain waves. Which is related to better memory performance and other cognitive functions. By increasing alpha brain waves, deep body and mind relaxation can be achieved. Your stresses and worries drift away when you enter the alpha brainwave state. Tension and nervousness disappear as your brain's thought process is calmed down; your mind than becomes clearer.
8. Pilates Peaks Performance
By learning how to activate the core, your body will naturally move more efficiently and more effectively, whether or not you're an athlete. You'll enjoy greater ease with the activities you normally love to do, such as walking your dog, lifting weights at the gym, or keeping up with your children/grandchildren, etc. By working in small groups or one-on-one with a Pilates instructor at Total Health Nutrition Center, you can learn moves that mimic and improve performance in your sport or activity of choice. This type of core work helps your body stay strong and upright, even if your job requires you to sit at a desk for eight hours a day. Pilates has even been linked with improvements in balance and safety in older individuals. Functional Pilates exercises, take what you learn in class, and apply the same principles to your movement patterns outside in the real world, no matter what your lifestyle.
Individual Pilates Exercise instruction is available by appointment. Registration is now open for the NEW Pilates Group Mat Classes at Total Health Wellness Center. View Class Schedules here.
Please call the front desk at 262-224-2929 or stop in for more information.
Our staff would love to answer your questions. You can schedule a free 10-15 minute no obligation phone consultation and ask to find out whether a Pilates group mat class or private instruction may be the best fit for your individual needs.