Your questions answered!
I receive many questions about general Pilates, the exercises, and general fitness queries when I am teaching and just as many via email! So I’ve decided to create a theme to answer your questions on a regular basis! Not found your answer here? Ask away and I will give you the answer in the next post!
Question 1: Is Pilates enough? For general health & fitness is Pilates enough or should we be doing more?
Answer 1: It really depends on what you wish to achieve! Pilates is a fantastic workout for almost everyone and develops so many aspects- core strength of course is the obvious one! But it also builds general strength for the upper body and lower body too, it targets flexibility, body awareness and control. The breathing control assists with exercising the lungs and I find it also clears the mind for psychological health. However, Pilates rarely incorporates a cardiovascular element.
The World Health Organisation guidelines state that we should undertake a minimum of 30 minutes CV exercise daily (this can be broken up in to 10 minute chunks), or even more for greater health benefits. http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/factsheet_recommendations/en/. So in combination with your regular Pilates workout (the good news is that regular Pilates meets the WHO guidelines that you should complete muscle strengthening exercise twice weekly!)- try going for a power walk, light jog, take the stairs often, do the gardening- the list is endless! You want to build up a little body heat, create a sweat and get your heart racing!
Question 2: Do the glutes exercises ever get any easier?! I feel like we do them every week in class but they always burn and I struggle to complete the set.
Answer 2: Yes and no! The exercises you are talking about are the ones we often do on our sides like the clam, side kick, and leg lifts. They are difficult to almost everyone because they isolate the gluteal muscles so well, especially the gluteus medius. This is such an important muscle in stabilising your pelvis and assisting with walking, running and general pelvic balance, but rarely do “normal” gym exercises strengthen this group in complete isolation. The more you do them you will become stronger and more controlled with your execution, but then we modify the exercise so that it is always challenging to constantly give you the strength gains! Try my Clam challenge here! (https://freshlycentered.com/2014/07/17/friday-fun-pilates-challenge/)
Question 3: Will regular Pilates help my lower back pain? I have had on-going back problems but nothing seems like it will help?
Answer 3: YES! Pilates is excellent, and essential for anyone suffering from lower back problems. The “core” muscles that we so strongly focus on in Pilates are the muscles that surround your trunk area and lie very close to your spine. Their main role is the stabilise your spine, keep it structured, prevent the intervertebral discs from displacing (giving you the “slipped disc” problems) and support your body when you move away from the trunk. Besides from the anatomical reason, Pilates also teaches body awareness and good posture- both of which are essential to looking after your body and ensuring that it moves correctly. If you have a strong, tight trunk/core area then your body can move more efficiently away from it’s centre and can support you bending, lifting, twisting, all without putting the strain on your spine and discs.
Keep the questions coming and I will address the next bundle a little later on!
Try my Pilates 100 challenge! This can be completed daily for improving your back health.