Why should I do Pilates?
As a qualified Pilates instructor in East Sussex, coupled with my GP referral qualification, I have seen the benefits of Pilates both for mental and physical health, as well as injury recovery and prevention.
‘I am a regular gym-goer, doing multiple classes such as boot camp, spinning and body-sculpt, but the one class I never miss is Pilates. It is thanks to Bryn’s attention to detail and minor adjustments of form, that I have such a strong core and good posture when I work out,’ – Gro-Fit client.
The health benefits of Pilates include:
- Improved flexibility
- Increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)
- Balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body
- Enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs
- Improved stabilisation of your spine
- Improved posture
- Rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances
- Improved physical coordination and balance
- Relaxation of your shoulders, neck and upper back
- Safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries
- Prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
- Increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing
- Improved concentration
- Increased body awareness
- Stress management and relaxation. Source: Better Health website
So what is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of controlled exercise which focuses on the core muscles, the five principles being:
- Control: All exercises are done slowly and with control, meaning that they can be adjusted to the level of each client. In my classes all exercises have at least 3 levels of working, making it suitable for everyone from elderly and those undergoing injury recovery, through to body-builders and elite athletes.
- Precision: Attention to detail, minor adjustments of form and small class sizes facilitate good muscle strength and technique.
- Breathing: Controlled lateral breathing not only supports the exercise, but also helps with relaxation and mental health
- Flow: Pilates uses a flow of exercises which move with control from one to another, incorporating not only strength and conditioning, but also stretching and movement.
- Concentration: Focusing on the body – its posture and balance- helps to keep good form both for exercising and daily life.
- Centering: People suffer injuries such as bad backs and muscle pulls, often because of poor form/posture, or because of muscle imbalances. Through Pilates, this can be corrected in both a class setting, or for quicker results in 1:1 sessions.
Pilates for Injury Recovery
The Pilates method (according to) is famous for toning abs and creating strong, lean muscles. Elite sports men and women also swear by its ability to improve sports performance. But few people know that Pilates has another important application: injury rehabilitation.
Evidence shows that certain types of Pilates (Clinical Pilates) can help with everything from back pain to recovery after a stroke. The reasons why Pilates is effective for injury recovery are hardly surprising, however, when you consider the origins of this method. After all, Joseph Pilates did develop the method while captive in a WW1 internment camp to help sick inmates return to health.
Source – ‘complete pilates’
To quote the NHS:
‘There are many reports on the health benefits of Pilates…’
‘Practitioners say regular Pilates can improve posture, muscle tone, balance and joint mobility, as well as relieve stress and tension. For elite athletes, including dancers, Pilates can complement training by developing whole-body strength and flexibility, and help reduce the risk of injury.’
‘Pilates has something to offer people of all ages and levels of ability and fitness, from beginners to elite athletes.’