10 Benefits of Pilates
In this blog the 10 Benefits of Pilates we will discuss how Pilates can not only help strengthen your power house (abdominal, low back, glutes and pelvic floor muscles). But how Pilates can bring multiple benefits to you both for your mind and body.
1 Whole Body Workout
Pilates consists of flowing functional movements which means you will be truly working the whole of body. Pilates will target the deeper postural muscles as well your larger superficial muscles and connective tissues. It is common for clients to say; ‘i’m discovering new muscles I never thought I had.’ Pilates moves your body in all directions and planes with a combination of strengthening and stretching. Furthermore it focuses on breathing, concentration and toning muscles in a natural way combining precision, fluidity of movements and balance within your body. Therefore making your body stronger and to proactively help avoid injury.
2 Improves Sports Performance
Pilates is hugely popular with athletes as it gives you a strong foundation for any movements. It supports you and gives you the ability to improve your sports performance. Pilates is unique as it has a focus on strengthening your powerhouse muscles and increases flexibility within functional movements. Therefore it increases efficiency of movement, improves joint mobility and gives balance to muscles. Dancers, runners, tri-athletes, tennis players, gym goers to name a few will all benefit from practicing Pilates as part of a wider training program.
3 Pilates Improves Balance and Coordination
Certain movements will really challenge your balance within a session. Not only do you need to concentrate on performing the exercise with a good technique but to keep your balance at the same time! More challenging exercises will improve the efficiency of the deep stabilizing muscles. Therefore regular practice you will not only become stronger but develop a greater sense of balance and coordination. In addition to help improve sports performance but it will help with everyday tasks and help prevent injuries. This is particularly beneficial for seniors to help avoid falls and broken bones.
4 Improves Bone Density
Pilates is a fantastic way to strengthen bones and therefore help prevent fractures for people with osteoporosis. Bone, is a dynamic tissue (like muscles) which respond well to resistance and bodweight exercises. The majority of Pilates exercises use your own bodyweight as a resistance to strengthen tissues (bone, muscle, fascia, tendons and ligaments) whilst being low impact on your joints. Body parts are moving against the force of gravity and Pilates equipment resistance which increases strength, muscle mass and therefore support good bone health. Furthermore Pilates can help increase bone density and decrease pain levels (Angin et al 2015). If you have reduced bone mineral density like osteopenia or osteoporosis then Pilates is a great form of exercise to help strengthen your bones in a safe and low impact manner. Your Pilates instructors are highly skilled and will modify exercises accordingly specific to your needs.
5 Pilates Enhances your Mind Body Connection
Pilates is a mindful exercise that concentrates on your breathing whilst performing flowing exercise movements. By practicing proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment it helps you become more in tune with your body. With regular practice you will become develop a greater awareness of your movements and body. You are encouraged to bring your attention to different body parts and focus on how are feeling in that moment. Movements are controlled and there is an emphasis on the quality (not quantity) of the movement with the correct form to maximise benefits. Therefore you are being present whilst exercising which is mindful movement! The movements require control, focus with a mixture of contraction and relaxation. This can also be a great stress and anxiety reliever and help support your demanding lifestyle.
6 Benefits of Pilates Reduces Back Pain
There are many studies which suggest that Pilates is a safe, effective treatment method for people with low back pain. The Pilates method uses many active rehabilitative strengthening and stretching exercises specifically core strengthening which have been shown to help reduce low back pain. A recent Cochrane review (2015) suggested Pilates is more effective then minimal intervention for patients with low back pain for disability and pain levels. Moreover Pilates exercises are great for your keeping your spine healthy. The meaningful movements help keep your joints mobile and inter vertebral discs lubricated. In addition, Pilates exercises will have positive benefits on how you think and feel about your pain levels which are all important in injury rehabilitation.
7 Pilates and Weight Loss
Pilates gives you the foundation to support more demanding activities. It involves muscle strengthening exercises which can contribute towards weight loss. For best results combine with a healthy diet and aerobic activity (walking, cycling or swimming). To increase efficiency try reformer Pilates where there is added resistance to increase difficulty and help with weight loss. A recent study showed an increase in Pilates activity have shown a positive reduction in weight, body mass index and fat percentages (Savkin 2017).
8 Pilates and Posture
Modern day postures can lead to hunched shoulders and poor upper back mobility which can create muscular imbalances. Pilates helps to proactively support demanding job roles and bad postural habits by creating better muscular balances through symmetrical exercises. It will give your a greater sense of body awareness and be able to correct our posture to feel more naturally aligned. Reformer Pilates is benefical as it gives you feedback on your right alignment so you can self correct. Furthermore with regular practice this will transfer into your everyday tasks to support your active lifestyles. Improving your alignment will help reduce aches and pains, improve your breathing mechanics, digestion and make you appear slimmer.
9 Pilates and Lymphatic Drainage
Your lymphatic system is a key part of our immune system which is primarily to recognise and eliminate bodily waste and toxins. The cellular waste products are carried around the body in the lymph fluid (similar to blood) into the lymph nodes. However unlike your blood circulatory system there is no heart to pump blood around your body. The lymphatic system requires muscular contractions, breathing and good digestion to flow around the body. The lymph movement is important for a functioning immune system and getting rid of waste and toxins from your body. Exercise is the best form of lymphatic drainage and Pilates is unique as it focuses of moving joints in different planes with twisting and rotating movements. The main lymph nodes are located by your joints so flowing movements which articulate these joints will theoretically help with your lymphatic drainage and help optimise your immune system.
10 Benefits of Pilates boosts energy levels
Exercise boosts your body’s fitness level and energy levels. When you are exercising you experience an increase in your endorphin levels. These are natural hormones that get released when we are doing exercise that requires a burst of energy and feel good. Exercise also boosts your cardiovascular health which helps you to have greater endurance throughout the day. Through exercise you will improve your sleep patterns gaining better quality sleep you are likely to feel better in the mornings. Moreover you are likely to feel more mentally alert, energised and be more productive. It is very common for people say they feel great after a Pilates session which is and its great way to support your everyday stresses and have a natural energy boost. Furthermore Pilates is unique as the nature of the exercise isn’t an excessive stress on the body so doesn’t excessively fatigue you.
10 Benefits of Pilates References
Angin, E. Erden, Z. Can, Z. (2015) The Effects of Clinical Pilates Exercises on Bone Mineral Density, Physical Performance and Quality of Life of Women With Postmenopausal Osteoporosis Journal Back Musculoskelet Rehabil (2015);28(4):849-58.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26406222/
Yamato et al (2015) Cochrane review: Pilates for low back pain https://www.cochrane.org/CD010265/BACK_pilates-for-low-back-pain
Savkin & Aslan (2017) The Effect of Pilates Exercise on Body Composition in Sedentary Overweight and Obese Women https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27607588/