Pilates refers to a series of exercises that target the core – the abdomen, obliques, lower back, inner and outer thigh, and so on. The movements involved in pilates also help to improve flexibility and posture while promoting core stability.
The first pilates studio was set up in New York by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, becoming popular among dancers who were looking for ways to gain better control of their movements. However, the rehabilitative benefits of pilates were quickly recognised and this form of exercise is now used in the treatment of a number of conditions.
Pilates revolves around eight basic principles – control, breathing, flowing movement, precision, alignment, stability, centring and opposition. A variety of assistive equipment can be included in a pilates programme to help those who are not able to participate in other exercises due to injuries or health problems.
3 Benefits for Posture
There can be many reasons for bad posture – excessively looking down at smartphones, sitting incorrectly for long hours in front of the computer, weak foot posture or having been passed down from family.
Pilates training aims to stabilise the centre of the body, raise strength in the the lower body and minimise any unevenness in overall posture. This type of posture correction is achieved in the following ways:
1. Centring. This is a key concept in pilates which involves centralising body movements. Pilates helps to enhance posture because of the strong mind-body connection that is established; as result of this, you are able to focus on the correct muscles in the core during exercise. With these core muscles strengthened, your spine is better supported and your body functions in a stable manner.
2. Alignment. When you have healthy posture, your whole body appears visually balanced. A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science proved the usefulness of pilates for those suffering from a forward-head posture; they were found to have decreased neck and shoulder pain, muscle imbalances and fatigue after practising pilates for ten weeks. Pilates can also be helpful if you have chronic low back pain.
3. Weight loss. One of the most effective ways to restore balance in posture is by losing any excess weight, especially in the core region. Pilates concentrates on both the major and minor muscles of the body. When paired with aerobic activity, pilates can be a great addition to your weight-loss programme. Besides burning calories, you’re also able to achieve better posture and stability with pilates.
Things to remember
It is important to have good form in order to see results. While you may find many pilates tutorial videos online, it is advisable to learn from a certified instructor who can guide you in performing the exercises correctly.
Breathing plays a vital role in pilates; make sure you focus on your breathing during exercise. For example, one of the most popular pilates move called “The Hundred” highlights proper breathing coordination.
Since posture begins with the feet, try getting your feet checked by a qualified foot and ankle specialist for any balance issues. This could help you in understanding whether you have foot posture problems such as flat arches.
If left untreated, flat feet can ultimately start causing problems in posture alignment and balance. A good way to manage flat arches is by wearing MASS4D® foot orthotics.
MASS4D® provides your feet with the support needed to normalise foot movements and prevent problems in the rest of the body.
This supportive force helps to bring balance and stability to your posture while protecting you from developing foot and lower body conditions in the future.
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