The Benefits of Pilates exercises
Pilates is a method of exercise and movement re-education based on the principles of the founder Josef Pilates. Pilates is a low impact form of exercise using Pilates equipment and body weight. It is mostly performed on a Pilates mat and can include exercises that focus on trunk mobility, strengthening of the abdominal and back muscles and motor control or stabilisation.
Pilates has many benefits but we will discuss a few which we feel are most important:
Developing a strong core
Your starting position of each exercise in Pilates is very important. Each exercise and repetition targets and engages the stabilising muscles of your spine, called the core or “powerhouse” of your body. A strong core helps with varies body benefits for example back and neck aches and pains and improved posture.
Help with better balance
The two major factors that help with balance are core strength and body awareness (proprioception). Pilates focuses on core activation in all of its exercises, using specific breathing techniques or cues to access those deep muscles. On top of this you need to concentrate on the movements of various body parts during any given exercise which helps develop better proprioception.
Poor posture is the result of misalignments and muscular imbalance in the body which can lead to lower back or neck pain. Pilates helps to restore the natural curve of the spine to improve posture. It increases the mobility throughout the back of the body to help stand or sit taller. The strong core helps the spine to be more stable which helps you to hold the taller posture for longer periods of times.
Reduce back pain
Back pain can be a result of a number of different issues. Depending on the problem and diagnosis it can often be alleviated by increasing core strength, stretching, mobilising the spine and learning better posture positions. All of this are focused on in a Pilates session.
Stretching is one way to improve your flexibility and occurs in every Pilates session. Pilates utilises both static (non-moving) stretches and dynamic (moving) stretches throughout various exercises.
Breathing and concentration are two important Pilates principles. With deep breathing your blood is better able to deliver oxygen to muscles and organs, tension in the body releases and lung capacity increases. Deep breathing slows your heart rate and lets you feel calmer which leads to reduced stress levels and blood pressure, enhanced mood and improvement in sleep.
Physiotherapy Matters run a weekly programme of physio led Pilates classes that are suitable for all ages and abilities, located within modern facilities at our head office clinic in Regent Centre, Gosforth. To see the full timetable and prices visit our Health and Exercise Classes page.