When we think of the benefits of Pilates we often think strong abs and a toned backside. But there’s much more to Pilates than a whittled waistline. Check out what else Pilates can do for you to improve your overall health and make you feel better.
Stretch your spine and spread the workload
One of the most common causes of back pain is lack of spinal mobility. When one segment of the spine is stiff and immobile, it forces all the movement into the more mobile segment, creating overwork, strain and often breakdown at those joints. Pilates enhances spinal mobility, creating more movement through the stiffer areas of the spine and spreading the workload. The result is better freedom of movement and a healthier, stronger spine, capable of supporting all your activities.
Stop peeing every time you laugh
Do you sometimes laugh so hard the tears run down your leg? Pelvic floor dysfunction is no joke. Overactive bladder syndrome affects countless women. Pilates creates strength and balance in the muscles of the pelvic floor which is part of the inner unit of “core muscles” that engage in every Pilates exercise. A healthy pelvic floor is necessary to normal sexual function and urinary continence. For those considering surgery for pelvic floor prolapse, PFilates TM a specifically designed pelvic floor rehabilitation program based on Pilates exercises has been clinically proven to help improve surgical outcomes and in some cases avoid surgery altogether.
Build better bones
Osteoporosis and low bone density is not an old lady disease. It affects active women in their 40s and 50s too. Osteoporosis and low bone density are like the crumbling foundation of a house. It doesn’t matter how strong your muscles are, if the foundation of skeletal bones is porous and unstable, the foundation is going to crumble. Literally, your bones will break. Pilates resistance training, particularly on the Reformer or other spring –based Pilates resistance machines, helps build and maintain bone density keeping our bones healthy and strong.
Breath in. Breath out. Repeat.
If you are going to keep going at this crazy pace and not lose your mind, you have to find a way to deal with stress. We are pulled in a million directions – work, kids, family, community. The stresses are never ending, cumulative and hazardous to your health. Pilates teaches you to focus on the task at hand while letting go of the extraneous tension in your body and your mind. This mind-body connection, practiced over and over in your Pilates workout, transfers into your everyday life creating calm and control.
Barbara Grant is the President and Founder of Retrofit Pilates, a full-service studio located in Toronto’s Bloor West Village.