Each year on the first Saturday in May, the Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) celebrates Pilates Day. The mission is to foster the public’s appreciation and awareness of the Pilates Method.
My little contribution to the mission by sharing six reasons why Pilates is so good for you.
1) Good Posture
Pilates targets the muscles that are in charge of supporting our spine. These muscles act functionally as a cylinder of support with our spine being in the middle. If you increase the awareness and strength of your cylinder or core muscles then they will be able to support these joints better in their upright position. This is how your posture will improve. The main thing to remember to prevent bad posture is to keep your belly pulled in (draw your belly towards your spine), and keep your shoulder blades pulling down your back (bring your shoulders away from your ears).
2) Free from Back Pain
Most back pain is due to faulty posture when sitting, standing or walking. Related to point number 1, with improved posture, you will find the ease it creates in your whole back. If you want to improve your posture and heal your back pain, you must incorporate the deeper Pilates concepts into your daily life. Translate the neutral spine, the feeling of length, and the famous abdominal scoop into your desk job while sitting, and when walking. You’ll notice changes in your back pain, your posture and overall well-being.
3) Stronger Sculpted Muscles
Pilates certainly does not replace strength training. However, if you are intimidated by strength training, practicing Pilates is definitely a good way to begin strengthening your body. You will find the benefits of increased strength in certain muscle groups, and improvements in muscle tone and strength.
4) Stress Relief
The mindful characteristics of Pilates make it an ideal way to relief stress. Pilates exercises, tones and shapes the body as well as the mind. People who do Pilates exercises on a regular basis say they feel that their minds are more open. Pilates can help train your mind to relax and control stress. It has a meditative effect.
5) Increase Flexibility
This Joseph Pilates quote sums up why Pilates help to achieve better flexibility. “True Flexibility can be achieved only when all muscles are uniformly developed”. Our body is a system of levers and pulleys. For one part to lift, another part has to lower. If one muscle contracts, the opposing muscle has to lengthen and release. Training efficient body mechanics for functional movement with Pilates develops this work-release system and that is what truly helps to improve real flexibility. To enable a graceful flow from one movement to another, some muscles will work harder, and others will need to release to allow this movement to happen. This is the beauty and grace all the principles of Pilates coming together that I love!
6) Improve Mind-Body Connection
The six principles of Pilates – Concentration, Control, Centering, Breath, Flow, Precision – forms the integrative Mind-Body approach, which is what Pilates originally referred to as “Contrology”. Frequent practice of Pilates will improve your mind-body connection, and helps you feel more centered.
Get moving, and get started on Pilates today if you haven’t already tried it. And if you do already practice Pilates, incorporate the core Pilates principles into your daily life!