The five signs you might need a little Pilates in your life.
- You've developed "tech neck" or as some people call it "text neck," from looking at your phone all day. You can't straighten your neck and now you've got tight shoulders too. The head weighs a lot and all that constant looking down at our phones and leaning into our computer screens is putting a lot of tension in our upper bodies. Pilates is excellent for building good posture. Pilates counteracts many damaging effects from work-related postures and motions, by strengthening the "powerhouse." Learning to lift and lengthen the spine, using your powerhouse (core) muscles when sitting to prevent slumping, and standing tall; these are all things you can learn how to do through Pilates. It takes practice and commitment, but good posture is achievable! Just ask a me, a former sloucher.
- You have an injury from doing a little too much. Bootcamp, H.I.I.T., hot yoga, ultra marathons, spin class, or just lifting too many boxes. You name it, we all want to do it, and lots of "it". There is a lot of "ultra" exercise going on around us, and there is so much to choose from. How much can you do in on week? Many of us, have gone at our exercise and lives with such gusto, that we've gotten injured along the way. Maybe we did a little too much, too fast, or, didn't engage the key muscles when we started heaving those weights. Pilates is the exercise method many physical therapists recommend for injury recovery and even preventing an injury. Why? Because Pilates is a safe way to work out and builds strength using precision and control and encourages engagement of the proper muscles. So if you're injured from over doing something maybe take a minor step back, insert some Pilates into your life, and then get back to your life feeling stronger and remain injury free.
- You feel super stiff and inflexible. Bending over to pick something up has become a bit of a chore lately. Your back and hamstrings are so tight that you walk like a wounded penguin at times. The good news is, most Pilates exercises incorporate oppositional stretch in the exercise. Pilates is not just about strengthening your core, there is a lot of stretching going on as well as increased circulation, all so good for stiff joints. Take the Roll Up exercise, for example. As you roll up and over using your core muscles, you also stretch to your toes and as you are, you are simultaneously pulling your abdominals back in opposition, getting a deeper stretch in the shoulders and hamstrings. Keeping your spine flexible through articulation will help you keep that youthful feeling in your body. How nice is it to be building strength in your body and stretching? It's very nice.
- You find yourself needing more strength. As we age, we all lose a little strength in our bodies. Maybe carrying that heavy backpack has worn you down, or you don't have quite the stamina you used to have, or want to increase your athletic performance. In a Pilates session you may use a piece of Pilates equipment like the Reformer or Wunda Chair in your routine, but you will also tap into a lot of your own body strength to perform an exercise, and you won't need to do a high number of reps. Pilates is a great way to build stamina and strength in your limbs by using the core. Strengthening the "powerhouse" allows the whole body to become stronger, connecting all the weaker areas to your strong "powerhouse." A strong core, is essential for improving mobility in your limbs. Exercises initiate from the core and our limbs and the rest of the body gain the benefits too. How would you like to gain a lot of strength? Try some Pilates. You will get stronger.
- You're an athlete and you wish you could just...pull yourself up to that rock a little faster when you're rock climbing, or stand up and balance better when surfing, rotate a little more in your golf swing, run using better body mechanics, or just stay strong and rooted when hitting that tennis ball - then life would be so good. Pilates is a perfect complement to the sports you already do. Pilates will help you develop a stronger core, which allows your limbs to have more mobility and gain strength. You will learn to work with control, precision, and gain better balance, all leading to improvements in your sport. Pilates has helped professional athletes and dancers around the globe become better at what they do, and it can help you too.