My love for the Pilates method began as soon as I started practicing on the mat. Now, after three years of teaching and witnessing some incredible results, I am even more passionate about it.
We often hear about the benefits of Pilates – how it can increase core strength, improve posture and aid flexibility. Celebrities and athletes swear by it. When Joseph Pilates founded his studio, some of his first Pilates clients were ballet dancers looking to improve their posture and control. These principles of motor control have been used to rehabilitate people with back pain and other musculoskeletal injuries. In my experience, Pilates has proven very effective in reducing pain and promoting function.
Here are the top 5 reasons why Pilates and benefit you:
1. Develop a strong core: Back pain is associated with weakness and dysfunction of the deeper abdominal muscles. Pilates increases the strength and control of these muscles whilst lengthening the back muscles. This can reduce compression on the joints of the spine and adjust the tilt of the pelvis. Once you have mastered the basics of core activation, you can apply this to functional movements, which will reduce the load on your joints.
2. Improved Posture: Pilates encourages body awareness, especially in relation to posture. 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. Pilates teaches correct spinal alignment and works muscle groups equally, to ensure postural imbalances are addressed.
3. Injury prevention and rehabilitation: Pilates starts in positions where clients have a wide base of support, for example lying. This is progressed to more functional positions once strength and control increase. The principles of Pilates and stability can be applied to all joints in the body by isolating smaller stabilising muscles, stretching and offloading overactive muscles, and promoting muscle symmetry and normal movement patterns.
4. Enhanced muscle tone: Each exercise targets deep postural muscles and awakens little-used muscles of the abdomen, pelvis and trunk. As your activation and awareness of these muscles improve, you will be able to recruit these muscles more readily, leading to enhanced muscle tone.
5. Relaxation: Pilates enhances mindfulness and sensory awareness. It helps to switch off your bigger global muscles, which are prone to becoming tense. Deep thoracic breathing stimulates and energises your mind by supplying fresh oxygen to the brain.
It is easy to perform Pilates exercises incorrectly, which is why it is important to have an attentive, knowledgeable teacher to ensure correct form. I completed my training with the Australian Physiotherapy and Pilates Institute, world leading provider of Pilates education. Physio-led Pilates and Yoga classes are for anyone at any level and are fantastic for keeping fit, increasing performance or just to have some “me time”. My classes are currently run at the The Thornbury Clinic, lunchtime and evenings, Mondays and Thursdays. With a maximum of 4 people per class I am able to make sure you are always getting the full benefit of the exercises!
Sarah is a Senior Physiotherapist, Pilates and Yoga instructor at The Thornbury Clinic with over 9 years experience in Physiotherapy and Sports Rehabilitation. She has worked as a senior physiotherapist in the NHS and in private practice as well as with professional sports teams. If you would like more information about Sarah or would like to book an appointment simply CLICK HERE