A nice informative account on pilates by our chartered physiotherapist and pilates instructor Gráinne Wall.
“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. In order to achieve happiness it is important to gain mastery of your body” Joseph Pilates.
The Pilates method of exercise originally designed in the early 1900’s by Joseph Pilates still remains at the forefront of the exercise and rehabilitation industry today. Pilates is a whole body workout that is based on the principles of breathing, centering, control, precision and concentration. Joseph Pilates often called the abdominals, lower back muscles and buttocks the “powerhouse” of your body, where strength and stamina are built to prevent injury.
Pilates has been popular for decades in the dance industry and has grown in popularity due to the unique approach to mind-body awareness and extensive research promoting its benefits in treating back pain, a safe method of exercising during pregnancy, and also assist in postnatal recovery.
What can you expect to achieve from doing Pilates?
The spine supports the majority of your body weight and is under daily stress and strain spending hours sitting at a desk during the day or on the couch at night. During your Pilates class, the correct breathing technique will be taught to enhance your abdominal workout, improve circulation and enhance your flexibility.
Pilates will improve your balance, co-ordination of movement, body positioning and spatial awareness whilst also increasing strength which corrects postural faults and improves stamina.
Studies have shown the effectiveness of a few weekly Pilates sessions as helping to significantly reduce lower back pain (Patti et al 2015). Pilates exercises train the “core muscles” which decrease compression around the spinal joints and alter the tilt of the pelvis to a more neutral position. Much attention is paid to the legs, thighs, buttocks and spine and focus on developing good postural habits and relieves low back pain, a condition up to 80% of the population will be affected by at some point in their life.
Pilates during pregnancy
Exercises are also geared toward strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. When you are pregnant, muscles begin to stretch as the pelvis widens to support the added weight of the baby. In Pilates, we work on strengthening this area throughout pregnancy. Building a strong base of support will relieve your body from everyday aches and pains. The arms, legs and back are also worked extensively to prepare for labour and carrying a baby!
The benefits of Pilates are however not only physical. It assists with stress relief, has been proven to have a positive effect in treating depression, and helps clear the mind for optimal well being! It can be beneficial to everyone, regardless of age or ability!
Patti, Antonino, et al. “Effects of Pilates Exercise Programs in People With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review.” Medicine 94.4 (2015): e383.
Rydeard, Rochenda, Andrew Leger, and Drew Smith. “Pilates-based therapeutic exercise: effect on subjects with nonspecific chronic low back pain and functional disability: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of orthopaedic & sports physical therapy 36.7 (2006): 472-484.
Mokhtari, Mahyar, Maryam Nezakatalhossaini, and Fahimeh Esfarjani. “The effect of 12-week pilates exercises on depression and balance associated with falling in the elderly.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 70 (2013): 1714-1723.
Van Middelkoop, Marienke, et al. “A systematic review on the effectiveness of physical and rehabilitation interventions for chronic non-specific low back pain.” European Spine Journal 20.1 (2011): 19-39.