Lots of people claim that Pilates is one of the best forms of exercise, as it strengthens the core muscles of the body, so improving posture and flexibility. There is now a lot of evidence supporting this and reformer pilates, on a weight machine, or mat pilates is in fact one of the most useful activities you can do to improve your health now and for the future.
Vital ligaments and muscles support the bony skeleton. By strengthening the “core muscles”, those such as the abdominals and pelvic floor, we prevent back pain, neck pain and arthritis in joints as we age.
Some studies have shown that reformer Pilates activates transverse abdominus and the internal obliques, which compose part of the “abs”. These muscles become stronger and help to support the natural curvature of our spine. As we stand straighter, this also helps to prevent shoulder pain, which is becoming more common due to being hunched over computer screens or our steering wheel, when driving.
The slouch posture leads to wear and tear of the bones at the joints, and if we lift something heavy, we risk further damage, which causes sciatica or bulging discs. Poor positioning causes additional pressure on nerves, leading to further pain. Pilates would help to prevent all of these conditions.
The pelvic floor muscles are extremely important as they prevent vaginal prolapse, especially after childbirth, keep us from being incontinent of urine (an embarrassing condition for many ladies), and help us to achieve better orgasms! The pelvic floor drops up to 2.5cm in a woman, due to the stretching while in labour. Pilates encourages control of these muscles and research has shown women achieved the same level of strength with Pilates to their pelvic floor as doing specific exercises with a physiotherapist.
The breathing exercises encouraged during the Pilates class help to have greater control over the diaphragm, so increasing lung volume and capacity. The energy burned to repair the muscles after the classes, help us to lose weight and keep trim. Stress is released as we focus on our own bodies for the duration of the class, and endorphins are released. The weight bearing exercises also improve bone strength and prevent osteoporosis.
Thus, Pilates is one of the most efficient exercise regimes available today and one of the most effective to gain real and noticeable results.