While yoga has experienced spectacular growth in popularity over the last decade, Pilates appears to have never quite reached the same level of popularity.
Though many yoga studios — and there are a lot of them, with an estimated 6,000 in the United States alone – offer Pilates sessions, this gentler form of exercise is frequently disregarded in favor of its more energetic cousin.
Pilates, on the other hand, is extremely beneficial to both your body and mind, which is particularly crucial at a time when we are emphasizing mental health awareness as much as physical health.
Pilates has a wide range of advantages, some of which are unique and distinct from those provided by yoga.
Pilates can provide you with the strength, encouragement, and relief you need to feel your best, regardless of your fitness level, age, or health condition.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of everything you need to know about Pilates and the benefits it provides.
Quote by Joseph Pilates “Pilates is complete body, mind, and spirit coordination.”
“Pilates is complete body, mind, and spirit coordination.” Pilates, Joseph
What exactly is Pilates?
Pilates’ history is both fascinating and motivating. In the early twentieth century, it was devised as a “system” by a German named Joseph Pilates.
He grew driven to develop his body and improve his health as a child after suffering from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. This dedication led him to pursue a career as a gymnast and bodybuilder.
Pilates studied anatomy as a youngster and tried as many various sorts of exercises as he could, recording the findings along the way. He studied both standard Western approaches as well as
Eastern practices such as yoga, tai-chi, and martial arts.
Pilates was detained as a German foreigner at Lancaster Castle as a German resident in Britain during World War I.
His knowledge of anatomy and exercise helped him land jobs as a nurse and wrestling and self-defence instructor, and it was during this time that the Pilates method took shape.
He experimented with springs attached to hospital beds and devised a set of exercises to help tone and cure wounded soldiers.
In 1923, Pilates immigrated to the United States and started his first studio in New York. There, he began to build his own equipment for use in his practice, which he dubbed the reformer.
These reformers, which were designed like sliding beds with springs providing resistance, are still in use today for Pilates.
Joseph Pilate’s method was an instant hit with dancers, who considered his method – originally dubbed “Contrology” – to be the most effective way of recovering from injuries and preventing new ones.
The Joseph Pilates method — and his reformer – grew in popularity across the country.
Socialites followed ballerinas into Pilates’ studio, and his method gained a wider following. His technique still emphasizes proper alignment, control, breathing, fluid movement, and concentration.
Pilates is centered on precise movements that emphasize technique and control over repetition, believing that the mind and body are inexorably linked.
Pilates thought that the core was the body’s “powerhouse,” which is why every Pilates class focuses on the core, which includes everything from your Transverse Abdominis to your back muscles to your Pelvic Floor.
Quote by Joseph Pilates “Not only is health a natural state, but it is also our responsibility to achieve and sustain it.”
“Health is not only a natural state, but it is also our responsibility to achieve and sustain it.” Pilates, Joseph
1. Injury Rehabilitation with Pilates
Pilates’ system was first utilized to aid in the rehabilitation of troops wounded in combat, then dancers with injuries, so it’s no surprise that it’s beneficial to individuals recovering from injuries.
Pilates can help people with injuries recover more quickly and reduce the risk of re-injury, whether it’s regaining strength after a broken bone or establishing a new sense of balance following an amputation.
Pilates can be both low impact and partially weight-bearing because many of the exercises are performed in a reclined or seated position. As a result, it is a safe technique of physical treatment, and it is frequently used as part of a rehabilitation program at physical therapy clinics.
to someone else
The regimen can be altered to suit how the patient feels on any given day, based on their abilities, comfort level, and the severity of their injury.
One of Joseph Pilates’ initial motives for developing his technique was his worry that a “modern” lifestyle, poor posture, and ineffective breathing were the primary causes of poor health.
The Pilates Method emphasizes proper spine and pelvic alignment, which makes it extremely beneficial for people who suffer from backaches and other spinal issues.
“Breathing is both the first and last act of life. It’s a matter of life and death for us.” Pilates, Joseph
2. Asthma and Pilates
Another of Joseph Pilates’ main concerns, and a particularly personal one for him, was inefficient breathing.
He struggled with chronic asthma as a child, and as an asthmatic myself, I understand.
One of the 6 Essential Principles of Pilates was to use a very full breath in all of his movements, and Joseph Pilates emphasized this.
He recommended that we should think of our lungs as bellows and that we should use them to forcefully pump air into and out of our bodies. As a result, making appropriate use of each breath and breathing properly is an important aspect of the Pilates workout.
Those who are familiar with the benefits of yoga may recall the concept of ujjayi breath, sometimes known as ocean breath.
It entails inhaling through your nose while totally filling your lungs and slightly contracting your throat. Instead, Pilates focuses on lateral thoracic or intercostal breathing.
The breath is drawn upward and out of the low belly with this technique, with the focus on redirecting the air into the back of the body and the sides of the ribcage.
Because the idea is to pull in a lot of fresh air and then clear the lungs of every bit of stale air with each breath cycle, this sort of intercostal breathing is extremely effective for persons with asthma or other breathing disorders.
Asthmatics have a tendency to take shallower breaths, which can lead to shortness of breath.
While deep breathing isn’t always natural, I’ve found that doing a breath-focused activity like Pilates has enhanced my “breathing stamina” – allowing me to engage in previously impossible types of exercise like jogging or running.
“Physical health is the primary need of happiness,” says Joseph Pilates.
“The first need of happiness is physical fitness.” Pilates, Joseph
3. Pilates for Boosting Athletic Performance
Outside of the studio, Pilates can help people who aren’t asthmatics.
Weight-bearing workouts, such as boxing, running, lifting weights, doing push-ups, and other similar activities, tend to produce short bulky muscles.
Though it may appear to be a quick way to a terrific body, this type of muscle is really the most vulnerable to injury.
Conventional workouts, on the other hand, tend to repeat the same muscle areas again and over, meaning that although strong muscles get stronger, weak muscles get weaker.
Pilates, on the other hand, focuses on conditioning the entire body, including the ankles and feet.
This is referred to as muscle imbalance, and it is the most common cause of injury and chronic back pain.
Its “whole body” approach ensures that no muscle area is over-or under-trained, resulting in a musculature that is evenly balanced and conditioned. This balance is not only important in Pilates, but also in everyday life.
Working on your entire body allows you to enjoy daily activities and sports while also improving your performance and reducing your chance of injury.
Rather than building short, bulky muscles, consistent Pilates practice lengthens and develops your muscles, increases their elasticity, and improves joint mobility.
Pilates is used by many sports teams and Olympic athletes as part of their training regimen since a stronger and more flexible body are less likely to get injured.
“Everyone is the architect of their own pleasure,” said Joseph Pilates.
“Everyone is in charge of his or her own happiness.” Pilates, Joseph
4 .Pilates is beneficial to mental health.
Joseph Pilates soon recognised the link between mind and body. Patients in Pilates’ first New York studio practised “Contrology,” which he coined to describe the use of the mind to govern the muscles.
Pilates is a beneficial activity for both your mental and physical health for many of the reasons we’ve already explored.
Focusing on regular breathing promotes mindfulness, allowing you to stay in the now and provide meaning to your body’s motions.
Medical professionals frequently “prescribe” Pilates as a strategy to lessen and cope with stress.
Exercising can reduce stress chemicals like cortisol while raising feel-good endorphins, giving your mind (and body) a boost, according to extensive study.
As a result, Pilates may improve your ability to respond to and cope with stress triggers, as well as your stress resilience in the future.
Pilates has been proved to boost memory and brain training while also exercising the body.
Pilates, unlike treadmill jogging or stationary cycling, encourages you to actively engage both your body and mind at the same time.
Your brain is challenged to learn a new skill, whether it’s a whole new exercise or a modification to an existing one, keeping your mind occupied at all times.
Last but not least, the vast bulk of research on the function of exercise in enhancing mental health focuses on the benefits of Pilates for those who are depressed or anxious.
Exercise “should be consistently incorporated as an essential component in rehabilitation from mental illness,” according to a 2015 report for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.
Pilates can help with depression and anxiety treatment by providing an opportunity to socialize, influencing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain (serotonin, cortisol, and endorphins), providing a distraction from negative thoughts, reducing stress, enhancing mindfulness, and assisting in the development of a self-care routine.
Quote by Joseph Pilates “A few well-defined movements performed correctly in a balanced sequence are worth hours of sloppy exercises or forced contortion.
“A few well-defined motions in a balanced sequence are worth hours of sloppy exercises or forced contortion.” Pilates, Joseph
According to Joseph Pilates,
: “Every moment of our lives can be the start of something extraordinary.”
Starting a new habit, particularly an exercise program, might be intimidating at first.
But, as with most things in life, once you get started, you won’t look back.
There are numerous reasons to try Pilates.
Step ahead into a healthier mind, body, and pelvic floor today, whether from the comfort of your own home or at a studio near you.
5. Pilates For The Pelvic Floor Is a Great Way To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor.
Pilates is arguably most advantageous for women in terms of keeping their pelvic floor muscles in good shape.
The pelvic floor muscles stabilize the pelvis and support the organs of the lower abdominal cavity, forming the basis for the core of the body (like the bladder and uterus).
The pelvic floor muscles, coupled with the deep back and abdominal muscles I outlined before, make up what Joseph Pilates referred to as the body’s “powerhouse.”
The pelvic floor can be thought of as “a network of interconnected muscles, tendons, and ligaments that form a supporting hammock at the base of the pelvic bowl,” according to VeryWellFit. The integrity of the pelvic area is jeopardized if the pelvic floor muscles are weakened or injured.
The usual culprits for producing weakness or injury to the pelvic floor muscles are childbirth, aging, persistent coughing, and inactivity.
Incontinence decreased sexual pleasure, and, in the most severe cases, a drop of the organs into the pelvic muscles can all be symptoms of a compromised pelvic floor.
Regular Pilates practice is good and necessary for pelvic floor strengthening.
The muscles of the pelvic floor provide natural muscular support during regulated movements. To support the muscles of the stomach and back, we draw the pelvic floor in and up, and it is this forceful and persistent tugging that serves to lift, strengthen, and support the pelvic floor.
Exercises to support the pelvic floor should be done by everyone!
Consider acquiring an Elvie Kegel Trainer if you need extra help outside of the Pilates Studio.
It’s a fun, engaging technique to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles that just takes 15 minutes per week.
“Change happens via movement, and movement heals,” says Joseph Pilates.
“Movement brings about change, and movement heals.” Pilates, Joseph