In recent years Pilates has grown to become one of the most well-known and popular forms of exercise. I often get asked by my patients about the benefits of doing Pilates.
In principle, Pilates focuses on strengthening the core. When we talk about ‘the core’ perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions is that this just involves strengthening the abdominal muscles. This is in fact untrue. The core comprises of not only the abdominal but also:
• the back muscles
• and perhaps most surprisingly, the buttocks
These muscles are vital in providing support and stability for the lower back which may be why Pilates has become a popular form of exercise for people with low back problems. When the core is properly conditioned, the stresses and strains through the back will be reduced and the spine will also be better aligned and therefore able to move more effectively. It is not only people with back problems that will benefit from Pilates, people returning from injury, athletes and women who have just had a baby will find it beneficial too.
I always compare Pilates and developing core strength to the process of building a house. Time is taken in the early stages of constructing a house to lay down good strong solid foundations to ensure it will withstand the test of time. The same can be said for the body and the core can be compared to the foundations of a house. If these muscles are strong then you will have a strong foundation to build up further strength, this is especially true for athletes. Since Ryan Giggs declared he did Pilates a few years ago there has been a steady increase in the number of men participating. Other male fans of Pilates include David Beckham, Brad Pitt and Tiger Woods
Perhaps one of the most appealing things about Pilates is that it doesn’t necessarily have to rely on the use of expensive equipment. Other than the use of the reformer machine, Pilates doesn’t require much more than a mat and maybe a resistance band to get an effective workout. Because of this, Pilates is accessible to everyone and, if structured classes at the gym are not your thing, or if you are often away for long periods due to work, then simply doing the exercises on the living room floor will be just fine also!
One of the other major factors for the popularity of Pilates could be the fact that you don’t have to have certain level of fitness required to be able to start in the first place. Anyone of any age can do it……I had a man in my class well into his 70’s! The beauty of the exercises are that there are many different levels so whether you are a beginner or if you have been doing it for years, there is always an exercise to challenge you.
If you also have back problems or just want to get stronger core muscles to prevent any back problems, please click to find out more about our Pilates course. Alternatively, get in touch with your local PhysioActive clinic to arrange an appointment.
Thanks for reading! This post has been written by PhysioActive physiotherapist Alexandra Gill B.Sc. (Hons)- Physiotherapist, Sports Therapist, Dry needling, Pilates Instructor
Thoughts or questions?