In our daily lives, we all bend, twist, reach, extend, lose balance and catch ourselves from falling. This is called normal movement. Pilates can help you learn how to do these every day, habitual things with ease, strength and greater awareness. Pilates works on building a stronger and better functioning body as a whole, rather than isolating individual muscles. In Pilates we aim to lengthen tight muscles, strengthen weak muscles, align the spine, and bring the body into a better and more harmonious balance. It creates a certain equilibrium to keep the body moving and performing at its best.
Here are our top 10 reasons why Pilates will help you feel amazing:
1.) Say Goodbye to Stress
Pilates has grown in popularity in the UK for a number of reasons. You will feel – and see – results quickly, which provides great motivation to keep going. The classes can be intense – but it’s a full body workout. Not only can you feel the exercises working, but you feel great afterwards – an endorphin buzz!
It’s time-efficient – while an hour class is amazing, even 10-20 minutes regularly is beneficial! And last, but not least, it’s a great stress-buster. Whether first thing in the morning or after a long day at work, Pilates provides a great escape in a fun, small group environment. The combination of breathing properly, whilst carrying out the exercises along with stretching, helps to relieve stress and tightness in the body.
2.) Improve Posture
Pilates programmes are praised by everyone from Doctors, athletes, to office workers for their ability to develop strength and correct posture in the key areas of the hips/lower back, upper back and neck – basically counteracting the effects of slouching and daily living!
We always ask our clients whether there are particular areas they would like to concentrate on. However, any given class will also focus on the areas that people need to work on, namely releasing the typically overactive areas of the chest, upper shoulders, thoracic spine (upper back) and hip flexor muscles as well as activating and strengthening the gluteals, abdominals and shoulder stabilisers. We activate these muscles in isolation and then progressively work the muscles in more compound and dynamic functional movements.
All of this significantly improves dynamic stability – the ability of the body to hold itself in better alignment for longer, maintaining upright posture, stability and responsiveness.
3.) Prevent (& reduce) Back Pain
Most back pain results from poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle. Pilates addresses the muscle imbalances that most typically contribute to back pain, namely weak abdominals and buttock muscles. Pilates also stretches out the tight and overworked back muscles. Proper alignment is the main factor that helps to alleviate back pain. If you do Pilates carefully, you’ll understand how to use your body in ways that protect your back from injury.
Pilates was initially developed as a rehabilitation tool. Joseph Pilates was a German gymnast (and lots of other things too!), born in 1883, who dedicated his life to teaching his exercising techniques, believing that poor posture goes hand-in-hand with poor health. He believed that by having awareness of breath and of alignment of the spine, we can strengthen the deep torso and abdominal muscles, and recover from injury.
At Chiltern Physiotherapy we have 14 classes per week all taught by Physiotherapists with specialist training in Pilates. Physiotherapist led Pilates classes are highly recommended, as Physiotherapists have a greater understanding of the body, movement patterns, and injury causes & prevention. Physiotherapists have excellent knowledge in modifying exercises to suit the individual no matter what level of capability you are. If you’ve experienced back pain or joint pain these classes are PERFECT for you!
4.) Exercise Without the Fuss
Sometimes the thought of going to the gym can fill you with dread and then you keep putting it off. Pilates lets you tailor your workouts and even complete sessions at home. Pilates is safe and effective if you pay attention to the detail. At Chiltern Physiotherapy you can attend classes in person in our purpose designed studio or join live online via Zoom. Classes are recorded and stored in our private members area on our website for you to access any time. Whatever your level of membership, you can access as many classes on Zoom as you wish.
5.) Your Body Will Get Stronger
Every Pilates exercise focuses on using your core to power movement in your limbs. Pilates also hits your transverse abdominals, the base abdominal muscle under your six-pack.
Any exercise regime should increase your body’s overall strength, or else what’s the point? But Pilates strengthens the muscles in your body that you may actually notice on a day-to-day basis. Pilates is meant to improve your daily life: It can help you get up from bed, if that’s hard for you, or it can help you get stronger for playing sport too. Whatever activity you do, you’ll find that Pilates exercises improve strength in meaningful ways and can help with the overall health of your spine. Doing Pilates can help prevent injuries, too!
6.) Improve Flexibility
Pilates exercises stretch the muscles and the joints while they strengthen the body. If you have found that your spine has lost some of its range of motion and flexibility, Pilates very quickly lessens this problem. Everyone has physical limitations that depend on age, genetics and lifestyle. Pilates is not a panacea, but if you do a regular Pilates exercise program, your body can reach its potential in the areas of flexibility and strength.
7.) Improve Tennis & Golf Swing
Pilates exercises strengthen and lengthen muscles, enabling free, stronger movement. Pilates exercises move the body in all directions. Pilates can incorporate many exercises that rotate the body, especially the spine. After sitting at a computer all day, the back needs to twist. Golfers and other athletes, especially benefit from having a flexible spine that rotates with ease. The same rule applies to the shoulder. Typical "gym" exercises strengthen the muscles around the shoulder, which can leave them tight. Pilates exercises strengthen the shoulder muscles surrounding the joint and encourage shoulder joint mobility.
8.) Improve Body Composition
By focusing on corrective and oppositional movement patterning, you can expect to see significant changes in your body shape within a few months. Now, different studios use this famous quote of Joseph Pilates in different ways, but what they say about Pilates is that after 10 classes you will feel a difference. After 20 classes, you will see a difference, and after 30 classes, others will see a difference in you. Your confidence and poise!
9.) Arms Like An A-Lister
Celebrities and sports stars consistently credit Pilates as the reason for their toned muscles. Given that the stars often have to plan their days down to the last minute – what with all their photoshoots, interviews, meetings, Pilates fits easily into their day. And not only is it a hugely efficient full-body workout, it has many additional benefits, too. It builds longer, leaner muscles. It improves core strength, flexibility and balance, and corrects posture - making you stand taller and look slimmer! We're all for that.
10.) Live More Consciously
Pilates forces you to pay attention - you've got to focus on your breath while working through each movement and concentrating on proper form. Pilates will help you tune into your body to activate your muscles. You need to listen to the instructions carefully to be safe, and you need to pay attention to the feedback you are getting from the equipment. You cannot think about your grocery list, tomorrow's board meeting or what you are wearing to work. After a Pilates session, you'll feel refreshed and relaxed, which can even carry over into the next day if you're lucky.
After reading all the amazing benefits (and these are just a few that we have mentioned here) and would like to try Pilates we are here for you!
At Chiltern Physiotherapy we have 14 classes per week all taught by Physiotherapists with specialist training in Pilates. If you’ve experienced back pain or joint pain these classes are PERFECT for you! You can attend classes in person in our purpose designed studio or join live online via Zoom. Classes are recorded and stored in our private members area on our website for you to access any time. Whatever your level of membership, you can access as many classes on Zoom as you wish.
If you would like a FREE trial to see if you would enjoy our classes before joining, we are hosting a FREE taster session on Monday 9th January at 1pm. Maximum of 8 spaces available, so call 01923 283845 for more information and to reserve your space before you miss out.
Click here to download our FREE eBook ’10 Reasons Why Pilates Can help You Look & Feel 100% Healthier, Stronger and Energised!’ with added bonus tips to help you ease back pain fast, naturally!