Pilates is movement from your centre, the core area of our bodies. All movements start from here and it is strongly emphasised throughout exercise. The key principles of Pilates include precision and control of body movements, body awareness, breathing control, and continued flow of movement. Pilates exercises combine strength & mobility – they lighten the load on your spine and joints by correcting muscle imbalances and tension. Pilates allows you to move with your body’s natural movement patterns for more efficient and effective movement.
The core muscles are close to your spine and activation of them provides stability. Increased core stability allows the spine to move through each vertebral movement more easily and activities such as bending and reaching out are easier to achieve with less strain on the body.
Within sport this core stability allows you to control your movements as your core base is strong and stable. You can stride wider, reach further, exert more power, and balance longer. Any action with the arms and legs becomes more effective because your core base supports the body.
Within pregnancy, pilates isolates the core and pelvic floor muscles to support the growing bump and can alleviate musculoskeletal aches that occur throughout pregnancy. Postnatally, pilates helps to re-educate these areas on how to heal, how to strengthen, and helps regain stability and support.
Core control re-aligns the body to the way that it should be, and this allows improved posture from head to toe. A good posture means less stress on the body’s joints and muscles as the weight should be equally distributed in it’s natural location. When completed regularly your body will become stronger, more stable, and you will build muscle endurance throughout.
Once you start practising Pilates it will become a lifestyle change, the mind-body connection means that you will be thinking of the principles with your everyday movements and the benefits will carry on far beyond your time on the mat. The concentration required to execute each movement correctly will relax the mind and ease the thoughts!
Pilates is a safe exercise format for almost everyone. It can be completed pre and post-natal, following surgeries, after sports injuries, and is suitable for both the complete beginner to exercise or the highly advanced and elite. Please consult your doctor or physiotherapist prior to starting a new fitness programme.