What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise training that improves patterns of movement, by focusing on principles of core activation and stability. It is particularly effective in muscle conditioning, improving posture, and increasing flexibility.
The Pilates method involves activating the deep postural muscles of the trunk which comprise the ‘core’. These postural muscles consist of the pelvic floor, deep abdominals, deep back muscles, and diaphragm, which when working together create a stable cylinder around the lower trunk. The Pilates method postulates that by correctly activating and strengthening these core muscles, all body movements and postures can be adequately controlled, preventing muscle imbalances from occurring.
Pilates was created by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. He was born in Germany in 1880, with numerous health conditions affecting his physical health. This motivated him to strive to improve his physical health and strength. He developed a program of mat exercises designed to improve control of movement. Joseph Pilates further developed his method of exercise, which was very popular with dancers.
Today the principles of his method are used, along with current research about exercise rehabilitation and injuries to create a system of exercises that is both safe and effective in the prevention of rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries.
Benefits of Pilates
Reduce Back Pain
Pilates strengthens the deep abdominal and trunk musculature, to provide stability and protection to the spine. Research has shown the deep abdominal muscles are weakened following an episode of back pain, resulting in reduced support to the spine. This weakness increases the likelihood of further injury and recurrent back pain.
Postural Correction and Body Awareness
Pilates assists in correcting common spinal and muscle imbalances, to improve movement efficiency and balance and maintain the body posture that is best for our spine.
Enhance Sporting Ability
Many of our Pilates clients are involved in athletic pursuits. Strengthening the stabilising muscles of the spine, assists in training muscles to provide optimal efficiency, balance and co-ordination. Greater strength of these muscles tends to improve athletic performance. This is why most sporting teams incorporate Pilates into their conditioning programmes.
Back pain during pregnancy is a very common presentation. Strengthening the deep abdominal/ pelvic floor complex, in association with postural and breathing techniques, plays an important role in pre and post natal management. Stronger core muscles will reduce symptoms of back pain when feeding, changing or carrying your little bundle of joy.
Pelvic Floor Activation and Strength
Strength of the pelvic floor is frequently an important component in incontinence. Pilates can be effective at improving strength of the pelvic floor muscles, particularly when used in conjunction with Real Time Ultrasound.
Surgery to the abdomen has a profound effect on the abdominal muscles as they are cut to gain access for surgery. This will cause weakness of the core muscles and can predispose to back pain and postural issues. Strengthening of the abdominal muscles after an appropriate period of recovery from surgery can address these issues.