Having neglected my blog over the holiday season, I have made it a goal this year to write as least one blog entry a week. So as I sit down to write the first blog of the new year, I can’t believe that I’ve never written a blog on the benefits of Pilates. So without further ado…”The Benefits of a Pilates Practice” or “Reasons Why You Should do Pilates (there are many)”.
Most people when thinking about the benefits of Pilates, think “strong core” or “it’s a stretching workout for ballerinas”. But my friends, it is OH SO more than that. Everything that we do radiates from our center, or from our core, which in Pilates we call the “Powerhouse”. Pilates not only strengthens the core but also improves flexibility. Pilates improves muscle tone, balances musculature, supports correct posture, and teaches you to move with ease and grace, while building flexibility and long, lean muscles, strength and endurance in the legs, abs, arms, hips, and back.
As you can see the benefits of Pilates are many. However, my favorite benefit of Pilates is the one that isn’t even visible to the eye; a calming sense of peace of mind. There is a wonderful mind-body connection in Pilates similar to when practicing Yoga. Pilates is like a moving meditation to me. The precision of movement that flows with both grace and strength whether on a mat or a piece of the Pilates equipment can not be beat.
As you move through the exercises with the Pilates principles in mind, you become more in tune and aware of your body. You have very little time to focus on life outside of the studio, as you become one with your body. The stress and tension of work, family life, etc. just drop aside as you move through the exercises. It is indeed a very mindful practice.
Of course there are many physical benefits to practicing Pilates, as I mentioned above. Many of my students come to Pilates because of low back pain, or wanting to work on developing lean musculature and strengthening their core. Pilates can help you to look and feel your best, as well as teaching body awareness and good posture. Recent studies even show that Pilates can help alleviate low back pain more than other therapies.
In fact a recent Italian study “found an important improvement of pain, disability and physical and psychological perception of health in individuals who did the daily sessions of pilates”.* The results of the study showed that Pilates was better at reducing pain in individuals with low back pain more than the standard treatment methods for chronic low back pain. That’s pretty powerful! Pilates heals!!
In my teaching I have many special conditions that I work with and all of these clients have seen amazing benefits from a regular and consistent Pilates practice. I work with many clients who struggle with persistent aches and pains, have spinal issues such as scoliosis, dealing with chronic pain such as sciatica, breast cancer survivors, are in rehabilitation for past injuries or recovering from surgeries such as knee and hip replacements. My clients range from the young to the elderly, from athletes to people rehabbing from injuries or dealing with chronic conditions. Whatever your goal is, Pilates can help you achieve your fitness and wellness goals.
Benefits of Pilates:
- Increased Core Strength
- Better Spinal Health
- Improved Balance and Posture
- Leaner Musculature
- Increased Flexibility
- Increased Energy
- Improved Joint Health
- Corrects Imbalances in the Body
- Establishes Mind-Body Connection
- Greater Body Awareness
It’s very easy to see how a regular and consistent Pilates practice can benefit you in so many ways, both physical and mental. Pilates is not only great for building core strength, or helping athletes to improve their games, but it can help the every day person (like you and me) to alleviate pain, build strength and flexibility and heal from the inside out. Give it a go and see for yourself.
*Notarnicola A., Fischetti F., Maccagnano G., Comes R., Tafuri S., Moretti B. “Daily pilates exercise or inactivity for patients with low back pain: a clinical prospective observational study” European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine. February 2014