The exercise that we now know as ‘Pilates’ (originally, it was called ‘Contrology) was first developed by Joseph Pilates. This genius of a man dedicated his entire life to improving physical and mental health during the early 20th Century.
Today, Pilates is a well-known exercise and lifestyle across the globe. It is a popular choice of exercise modality for hundreds of thousands of people. In fact, the number of Americans who practise it regularly has exploded by over six-fold, and it is still increasing to today and beyond.
However, have you ever thought about the beneficial outcomes that Pilates can have on your body in addition to what exactly Pilates is suitable for and how it benefits your core?
The Benefits of Pilates
Pilates can really make a huge positive difference to your health. This is without \taking a toll on your body.
An original mind-body workout
By emphasising proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and concentration on smooth, flowing movement, you become acutely in tune with your body. You actually learn how to control its flow.
In Pilates, the quality of the movement is valued more as opposed to the quantity of repetitions. Proper breathing is essential. This is because it helps you to execute movements with maximum power and efficiency. Lastly, but certainly not least, learning to breathe properly can reduce stress significantly.
Develop a strong core
Pilates exercises are known for developing a strong “core,” or centre of the human body. The core is made up of the deep abdominal muscles. This is in addition to the muscles closest to the spine. Control of the core is achieved by integrating the trunk, pelvis and shoulder girdle.
Within the core powerhouse, the muscles are divided into two sections: the stabilisers and the movers.
Stabilisers are as follows:
- Transverse abdominis
- Internal obliques
- Lumbar multifidus
- Pelvic floor muscles
- Transvers abdominals
Movers are classified as the:
- Rectus abdominis
- External obliques
- Erector spinae
- Latissimus dorsi
- Hip adductors
- Hip abductors
If you’re wanting to have a stronger core, a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise made the finding that – after 36 weeks of Pilates training – women had been able to strengthen their rectus abdominis (in other words, their abs) by an average of 21 percent. This is not only necessary if you desire a six-pack but it’s also vital for supporting your back too.
A study by researchers at Australia’s Griffith University made the finding that Pilates is more beneficial for those with chronic lower back pain (which they defined as pain for more than 12 weeks) than any otherfitness exercise. Which is excellent for those chained to a desk throughout their twenties.
More profound muscle activation means better functioning of the human nervous system
Every time we move, we make use of several distinct areas of our brain. The brain then transfers an impulse through the spinal cord to muscle fibres.
When you learn to engage specific muscles voluntarily (such as the deep core activation in Pilates).
A healthy nervous system involves improved communication between your brain and other parts of your body. This is in addition to the release of stress-fighting and mood-boosting hormones.
In this day and age of go, go, go, we all need a space in our lives to chill out and regroup. A Pilates class will give us this much needed room to breathe and connect with what’s important in our lives.