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Health Benefits of Pilates
Pilates is a mindful body exercise designed to improve your physical health by improving your muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance. Pilates emphasizes core strength to develop functional movements that support the body. However, Pilates also incorporates other muscle groups to provide a full-body workout.
Pilates was created in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates to work the smaller, stabilizing muscles in the body and align the body’s overall structure and support its joints.1 He was inspired by gymnastics and boxing to create Pilates. Dancers, and soldiers returning from war, were amongst the first to add Pilates to their exercise routines.2
Studies have shown that Pilates improves a person’s quality of life by helping manage depression. Pilates has also been proven to reduce pain, particularly in your back. Doctors often recommend Pilates for injury prevention and rehabilitation purposes.3
Pilates workouts can be tailored to an individual’s needs, and there are thousands of possible exercises and modifications available. Pilates is also slow-paced and has a low-impact on the joints. This makes Pilates a great workout for all ages and fitness levels.
Here are 10 benefits of Pilates.
One of the health benefits of Pilates is it can help manage or lessen pain. Pilates is low-impact, making it an exercise that doctors recommend for those who have an existing injury or a musculoskeletal issue.
Pilates can help lower back pain in particular. Lower back pain is often caused by tight muscles, misalignment, or lack of core strength – all of which is improved with Pilates. Pilates works to strengthen muscles in the back, as well as the core which supports the lower back, while also increasing mobility of the spine.4
Another one of the health benefits of Pilates is it improves posture. Because Pilates focuses on the range of motion at the joints, full body alignment, and muscle balance, it can help strengthen your often-neglected postural muscles.1
Pilates also focuses on correcting your body’s alignment. Good posture and alignment are important for your overall health because they decrease pain, muscle tension, and risk of injury.5
Increased muscle strength is one of the benefits of Pilates. Pilates exercises often include gravity resistance and controlled movement, which creates a muscle contraction due to the muscle extending under tension.6
One study found that the older adults who participated in two Pilates sessions per week over a three-month span showed improvements in lower body strength.7 This makes Pilates a great exercise for seniors or those who may need to improve the muscles in their lower body.
One of the additional Pilates benefits includes enhanced flexibility and range of motion. Pilates involves a good amount of stretching, which will help improve your flexibility.
Maintaining flexibility can enhance your range of motion, help your muscles relax, and may protect your body from injury.4
Increases Core Strength
One of the most notable benefits of Pilates is it can increase your core strength. Core strength stabilizes the spine and supports the diaphragm. Core strength is needed for your everyday activities, from walking to good posture.
Pilates exercises rely on core strength, which builds muscle and conditions the pelvis. This can be extremely beneficial for anyone who experiences pelvic floor issues or dysfunction.8
One of the benefits of Pilates for seniors is it can improve their balance. Maintaining proper balance is critical when it comes to falls prevention. The CDC estimates that 36 million older adults fall each year, which can result in injuries.9
Balance is important at any age. It is needed for everyday activities that involve coordination. Pilates can improve your balance because of its focus on body alignment, as well as whole-body exercises.1
Another health benefit of Pilates is it can help increase your energy. Pilates increases your blood-flow circulation and stimulates your spine muscles. This type of exercise also releases endorphins throughout the body that impact your mood and energy.6
The more you exercise and practice Pilates, the more energy you will have. The more energy you have, the better you will feel throughout the day as you accomplish your daily tasks.
One of the benefits of Pilates is it adds great variety to your routine. Pilates is a great option to cross-train by adding it to your weekly workout rotations.
If you’re looking for variety and a workout to increase your flexibility, try Pilates.
Supports Mental Health
Exercise in general has been found to support mental health and a healthier mindset. Pilates is a workout that can increase your mood and promote a positive mindset. The breathing involved in workouts such as Pilates and yoga has been found to reduce stress levels.
Additionally, physical activity causes your brain to release endorphins, which can improve your mood. Scientists believe this brings about a better sense of confidence and self-control.11
Reduces Risks of Disease
Another one of the health benefits of Pilates is it can reduce your risk of disease. Pilates has been found to reduce blood pressure and enhance blood flow due to the deep breathing involved.11
It is important to maintain a healthy blood pressure because if left untreated, it can lead to heart disease and stroke. This is another reason why Pilates for seniors is great because older adults are more at risk for developing high blood pressure.12
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Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Menzies, Roxy. “These 19 Benefits of Pilates Will Inspire You to Fire Up Your Core.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. April 22nd, 2021. Accessed June 8th, 2023. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pilates-benefits.
- “Everything You Need to Know About Pilates.” Dotdash Meredith, marthastewart.com. October 21st, 2021. Accessed June 15th, 2023. https://www.marthastewart.com/8167878/what-is-pilates.
- “Application of Pilates-based exercises in the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain: state of the art.” National Library of Medicine, PubMed Central. Accessed June 8th, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6581086/.
- “Pilates 101: What It Is and Health Benefits.” Cleveland Clinic, clevelandclinic.org. March 10th, 2023. Accessed June 8th, 2023. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/everything-you-want-to-know-about-pilates/.
- “Importance of Good Posture.” Lompoc Valley Medical Center, lompocvmc.com. April 30th, 2021. Accessed June 9th, 2023. https://www.lompocvmc.com/blogs/2021/april/importance-of-good-posture/?locale=en#:~:text=Good%20posture%20is%20important%20to,common%20ailments%20and%20medical%20conditions.
- McGee, Kristin. “10 Benefits of Pilates.” Dotdash Meredith, verywellfit.com. October 14th, 2022. Accessed June 8th, 2023. https://www.verywellfit.com/the-many-benefits-of-pilates-exercise-2704865.
- “Effects of Pilates on muscle strength, postural balance and quality of life of older adults: a randomized, controlled, clinical trial.” The Society of Physical Therapy Science Production services IPEC Co., jstage.jst.go.jp. Accessed June 8th, 2023. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jpts/27/3/27_jpts-2014-621/_article.
- “Is Pilates as Good as Everyone Says?” The New York Times Company, nytimes.com. Accessed June 9th, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/22/well/move/pilates-exercise-flexibility.html.
- “Falls Prevention: How to Reduce Senior Fall Risk.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. September 22nd, 2021. Accessed June 8th, 2023. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/how-to-prevent-falls-in-seniors.
- McCallum, Katie. “5 Benefits of Pilates That Might Convince You to Add It to Your Workout Regimen.” Houston Methodist, houstonmethodist.org. February 22nd, 2022. Accessed June 9th, 2023. https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2022/feb/5-benefits-of-pilates-that-might-convince-you-to-add-it-to-your-workout-regimen/.
- Henderson, Roger and Fletcher, Becky. “'I tried Pilates for 8 weeks and this is what happened'.” Hearst UK, netdoctor.co.uk. Accessed June 9th, 2023. https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/fitness/a28692/pilates-benefits/.
- “Hypertension: What is it and How to Prevent it.” Saber Healthcare Group, saberhealth.com. September 23rd, 2021. Accessed June 9th, 2023. https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/hypertension-risks-and-prevention.