The Powerful Benefits of Pilates
Born from the vision of Joseph Pilates, Pilates is loved across the world for its ability to not only sculpt the body, but to foster profound overall well-being. Beyond building physical strength, Pilates plays a remarkable role in optimising the body’s functioning and boosting mental wellbeing.
Here we delve into some of the extensive health benefits of Pilates and how it nurtures your body from the inside out:
1. Enhances Body Functioning
Pilates focuses on building core strength, which serves as a stable foundation for the entire body. The exercises promote balanced muscle development, correcting muscle imbalances and reducing the risk of injuries. By targeting these deep muscles that support the spine and joints, Pilates leads to more efficient movement patterns in daily life.
2. Improves the Respiratory System
Pilates not only stretches and strengthens the core muscles, but it also does the same for your diaphragm, allowing for deeper breaths. This serves to enhance lung capacity, optimise oxygen intake, improve the efficiency of the respiratory system and boost circulation.
3. Nurtures Digestive Wellness
Alongside deep breathing, Pilates works in all the planes of movement, which together massage your stomach organs, stimulate your digestive system and boost your bowel function.
4. Boosts the Nervous System
In Pilates, the focus on the breath, along with the deliberate, controlled movements, stimulates the nervous system, helping strengthen neural pathways and increasing your body awareness. The Pilates breath also helps de-regulate the nervous system, reducing the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which has a wide range of benefits, such as reducing pain and improving the quality of your sleep.
5. Balances the Endocrine System
Endocrine glands, responsible for hormone regulation, need oxygen to perform. Pilates stimulates oxygenation and circulation, aiding the endocrine system, and leading to greater hormone balance throughout the body.
6. Boosts the Immune System
The slow and controlled movements stimulate the lymphatic system, which is responsible for eliminating toxins. As you move in all the planes of movement, twisting and stretching muscles, you help the lymph vessels to drain excess fluid from the body’s tissues. By stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, Pilates reduces stress in the body, which reduces inflammation and enabling you to better fight off infection.
7. Improves Brain Function
Research has shown that Pilates boosts your brain health, increasing cognitive functioning and improving memory.
8. Better Muscular and Skeletal Systems
Pilates strengthens your small intrinsic muscles, which allow your bigger, global muscles to function more effectively, promoting muscular endurance and flexibility. In addition to correcting muscle imbalances, the controlled, low-impact movements work wonders for joint health and help relieve chronic pain and prevent joint issues.
9. Improves Posture and Alignment
Modern lifestyles often contribute to poor posture, leading to discomfort and pain. Spinal health is so important; Joseph Pilates famously wrote that, ‘If your spine is stiff at 30, you’re old. If it is flexible at 60, you’re young’. Pilates works your spine in all directions, keeping your spine healthy and targets your inner muscles responsible for maintaining proper alignment. Strengthening these muscles not only enhances posture but also alleviates strain on the spine, reducing the risk of chronic back issues.
10. Boosts Life Span
Pilates has been shown to contribute to a longer, active life due to the above benefits as well as by enhancing core strength, flexibility, balance and the mind-body connection.
Inspired to roll out your mat?
Try this 20 minute, no-equipment Pilates class that will engage your core and improve your mobility (suitable for beginners).