Is Pilates the Missing Link in Your Fitness Routine?
Pilates was first created by Joseph Pilates and initially gained popularity among the dance community as a way to recover from and prevent injuries. But you don’t have to be a dancer to practice Pilates — or enjoy the benefits.
We’ve been incorporating Pilates into our physical therapy practice for the last 10 years and it’s been transformational for both our clients AND our practice.
Pilates is a full body strengthening system that emphasizes breath, precision, coordination, and core strength — and it helps our clients connect to their bodies in a way that they haven’t been able to achieve with traditional strengthening methods.
Most of our clients have EDS or other forms of hypermobility. These folks can find it difficult to exercise in a way that is safe and pain free. Clinical Pilates with a trained instructor can help people with hypermobility get all of the benefits of regular exercise in a safe and fun environment.
Here are five reasons why Pilates was a missing link in ourphysical therapy practice, and
why it might be the missing link to YOUR life-long fitness as well.
1. Pilates helps prevent back pain.
Once you hit 40, your risk of back injury starts to climb. We see a lot of folks with recurring back pain in our office. They’ve seen traditional physical therapists or chiropractors who get rid of their pain in the short term, but they aren’t able to keep it gone. Regular practice of Pilates is a safe and sustainable way to help keep your back pain-free. It focuses on core strength but also is a well-balanced exercise system — so it keeps your back feeling mobile in all directions — a missing link in most “back strengthening programs.”
2. Pilates strengthens your whole body, not just your core.
One of the keys to lifelong fitness is what we call “balanced strength.” That’s when each part of your body works together to produce the right amount of force, at the right time, to do your favorite activity in the most efficient way possible. Efficiency means you’ll be able to do it for a lot longer. We see lots of strong people in our office, but often certain muscles are working harder than others. And this can cause problems down the line. Pilates emphasizes full body strength that is coordinated — and this leads to a balanced body.
3. Pilates helps you get flexibility the right way.
Do you stretch your hamstrings every single day and find they just never get more flexible? Or are you hypermobile and able to easily touch your toes, to the point where you dislocate joints regularly? It’s probably because you’re not stretching the right way! What we love about Pilates is that it stretches your body in a dynamic way — with movement — so that muscles lengthen the right way and where they are supposed to.
4. Pilates puts very little stress on your joints.
Aging is a real thing and along with it comes arthritis. But it’s not a death sentence like most people are led to believe! The key to combating arthritis is maintaining a mobile and well balanced joint. When you optimize everything that surrounds your arthritic joints, your symptoms decrease. Pilates helps with all this and doesn’t cause any added stress. When your joints are happier, it becomes much easier to do your favorite activities – hopefully for life!
5. Pilates trains your nervous system.
Huh? Is that even a thing? Yes it is — and it’s almost ALWAYS a missing link that we see for people who’ve been at a certain activity for a really long time and then suddenly things start breaking down. They start experiencing pain when they never have before. If you don’t train your nervous system, it gets lazy, and that is how compensations develop in your body. Pilates helps with this because it is a mind-body exercise that emphasizes balanced strength and coordination. Your nervous system can’t get lazy when you do Pilates!
If you’re not yet incorporating Pilates into your fitness or rehab routine — what are you waiting for?
If you’re a local, click here to learn more about our Pilates program and see if it might be a good fit for you! If you’re ready to give it a shot, click here to give us a little more information and schedule your first class.