Pilates undoes the muscular damage of modern lifestyles. Sitting at desks all day, your neck craned over your phone, then sitting on the sofa all evening to unwind assists your mind but not your body. Your lifestyle creates repetitive and unrelenting strain upon your body. This constant awkward tension makes some muscles switch off completely and others become over tight. Pilates is an approach that has a two-fold effect that helps your mind to unwind and your body too. Pilates fixes postural issues created by your day and lifestyle. Whilst a gym workout or run will help with your cardio strength a more restorative approach will help to balance your mind and body. This blog will outline why Pilates should be part of your current fitness programme but also why it should be practised every day.
Pilates is what your body is screaming out for, it is the discipline that unwinds your body from modern life. Pilates is not an ‘instead of’ but an ‘as well as’. In other words, it doesn’t ‘replace your current fitness programmes but is a valuable and necessary addition. Practising Pilates you can achieve better balance, gain a leaner body and feel more poised and less stressed. Pilates isn’t simply a series of physical exercises but a concept based routine that will gently challenge your old assumptions about your body and ageing.
You will have imbalances in your body, most of us do. Certain muscles become stronger whilst others are underused and weather and this can affect your posture.
Every joint has at least two opposing muscles – your bicep and triceps work as pairs. Your hamstrings and quads are another synergistic pair. If they are equally strong then your joints will rest in a neutral position, however, if one is stronger than the other the joint will move and changes your posture, even whilst you are resting.
Daily postural habits
Daily habits like sitting, carrying handbags on one shoulder or always carrying a child on the same hip all impact your posture. Pilates works on the overused muscles that create imbalances in your body. Working on muscles that have deviated from your ideal neutral posture and brings your body back to perfect alignment.
If you spend a lot of time sitting, your gluts can switch off and your hip flexors become tight, therefore yo upsend time performing, soothing exercises where your hips are extended rather than flexed. Sitting over a desk for prolonged periods of time in a sedentary job means that shoulders become hunched over and over time become rounded.
Creating the time and space in your day to be mindful of your posture and bring back the dulcite, calm tones of your Pilates teacher gently screaming at you to pull your shoulders back and release your lower back tension will help to bring you back to the moment 😉 Create a Pilates postural habit.
Cardio work is essential for your heart strength and lung capacity, cardiovascular strengthening is one of the pillars of a good exercise programme. The rise in HIIT workouts, Crazy CrossFit, weight training and a big increase in female participation is great news. However, the fast, loud and competitive environment awareness of technique and posture is not at the forefront of your mind. Injuries happen.
Deadlifts with increasingly heavier weights, burpees that use every major muscle group test your balance, coordination and put an enormous strain on your lower back. Runners often have issues with knees, hips and ankles because of the repetitive nature of the activity. Running on a treadmill is often the worse kind of repetitive strain, outside running on rough terrain has a more varied effect on your body. Sitting shortens your hamstrings whilst running uses them even more which means that if you are not stretching your hamstrings regularly it will affect your entire postural chain right up from the back of your foot and your Achilles up all the way to your lower back and pulls your pelvis
Making sure that your lower back is strong to perform these powerful moves is where Pilates comes in. Add it into your fitness programme to ensure you enjoy the health benefits of exercise without the risk of injury
Pilates is empowering
Giving you the confidence to try something new whether that is paddle boarding on holiday or feeling confident that you have a powerful base. Pilates brings balance to your body and ensures all your muscles are strong.
Pilates is strengthening muscles and improving flexibility and creates healthy functioning bodies.
Pilates is inclusive
Pilates attracts everyone, from all walks of life. The very young with a background in dance who have overarched spines from dance and ballet, runners with tight hamstrings, footballers, yoga babes, athletes of all descriptions.
I love it when a young ‘un comes to class and a granny with 5 years experience out planks them!
Pilates is a functional exercise which simply puts makes you stronger to function every day. Functional training uses exercises that allow you to perform the activities of daily life more easily and without injuries, weight-bearing activities targeted at the core muscles of your abdomen and lower back.
Thinking way of moving
In this fast approaching new decade, there has been more interest than ever in exercise techniques that also acknowledge the power of your mind whilst exercising. Pilates like Feldenkrais, the Alexander technique, Tai Chi and yoga all come under this mind-body umbrella. These techniques offer alternative philosophies to conventional thinking about health and fitness.
It is an intelligent way of moving, an intelligent form of exercise because when your body is in a neutral position with good mobility and strength, you pick up fewer injuries. That is why so many athletes use it. It is a way to be able to do everything you enjoy without injury
Pilates brings peace and calm to your day, explore mindfulness, breathing techniques, setting intentions, sharing gratitude, mindful movement, mindful creativity, loving kindness and compassion, acknowledging thoughts without judgment and shifting from thinking to sensing.
These retreats are perfect for anyone curious, open-minded or in search of healing. If you would like to spend a cosy evening in a positive environment with uplifting activities and like minded people
Devon Day retreat 1st February 2020: http://bit.ly/2S3ZJPB
Greek Island retreat 4th Oct-11th Oct 2020: find out more http://bit.ly/323emo2
‘I nurture my deepest wishes and intentions knowing that they will grow and strengthen within me’ – Glennie Kindred
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