What Can Pilates Do For You?
Written by Colette Barry.
Nowadays, life in general has become so fast-paced and stressful that the normal aging process has accelerated drastically. Good posture has become limited to dancers, gymnasts and the instructors on the fitness shows that you guiltily watch, trying to sit up straight as your spine protests. Even now I'm quite sure that your back is painfully bent towards the screen. 'So what?' you may ask. Well, bad posture is the leading cause of back pain and can also lead to other problems such as incontinence and poor digestion. With bad posture comes a stiff spine, and according to Joseph Pilates, "You are only as old as your spine is stiff."
Every now and then, you come across an article or a fitness show that encourages you to lead a healthy lifestyle, advertising the secrets of staying young and happy. What do you do? Maybe a few rigorous crutches at your local gym draining your energy will convince you to give up and resort to your couch potato lifestyle. But what if I tell you I have a simpler and more effective solution for you?
Pilates is a body conditioning method which allows you to get in tune with your body movements. It stresses on proper breathing along with correct spinal and pelvic alignment meanwhile concentrating on the smooth flowing body movements. Proper breathing ensures that you execute the movements with maximum power and efficacy while simultaneously reducing your stress level in the session. As if a leaner and more toned physique isn't enough to make you happy, Pilates also increases levels of serotonin and endorphins that leave you feeling refreshed and peaceful.
Pilates values the quality of movement over the quantity of repetitions which starkly contradicts your orthodox gym schedule. The age-old regime of rigorous gym sessions is not going to work for you. Your body has a system of causing "deactivation" of muscles that are in a state of prolong disuse. This results in the surrounding muscles to hypertrophy to "compensate' for the lost power. The result is a muscular imbalance contributing to injury and chronic back pain.
It also aspires to focus on developing strong core body muscles which are closest to the spine by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle. Contrary to traditional gym workouts which place a spot light on bulky weight bearing muscles, Pilates aims to improve muscle elasticity and joint flexibility. With Pilates you can be confident that no muscle group is ever over-trained or under-trained. Not only will you have a flat tummy but your whole body will feel like a well-oiled engine instead of one area becoming highly muscular.
With Pilates training your body to move in a safer, fluid and effective pattern of motion, you can easily justify its use in injury recovery, sports performance, good posture and even physical rehabilitation! So say hello to a healthy lifestyle, devoid of the pretentious guilt-induced crunches. Your goal of staying young and happy is only a step away!
- Read more of Colette Barry.
- The Many Faces of Yoga
- Can Yoga Make you Taller?
- Chronic Back Pain and Yoga
- Yoga in Postural Adjustment
- Yoga: A Remedy for Back Pain
- Yoga to Speed up Metabolism
- Feel Better & Get Fit with Yoga
- Yoga, its History & True Philosophy
- Practical Benefits of Yoga off the Mat
- Improve Sport Performance with Yoga
- Yoga for Men: The Times are Changing