Pilates: a key discipline in managing longevity of health
His method – Pilates - in a quiet persistent way, can have the greatest effect in gathering the body together to prevent many of the age-related accidents, like falls. It promotes a greater sense of balance and core strength and enables the body to maintain that at a more effective level.
Brittle bone fractures are a genuine risk as we age; because of the type of exercise that Pilates is, it helps to preserve the muscle mass and bone density through regular contraction of the muscle mass.
It also helps with Osteoporosis as load bearing exercises done in a low impact way help to build bone density.
“If your spine is stiff at 30, you are old. If it is flexible at 60, you are young.” – Joseph Pilates
The quote above highlights just how important spinal health and flexibility is. Through misuse and abuse of our spines or put more simply by slouching whilst sitting, carrying a bag on one shoulder consistently, always carrying small children on the same hip, looking down at electronic devices for extended periods of time. The muscles surrounding your spine may become weak and unbalanced and this may lead to stiffness in the vertebrae and you may get pain and restriction. The good news is there is always room for improvement, you don’t have to just accept any restriction you have.
The Pilates method teaches and constantly reinforces the correct standing position- feet hip distance apart, knees straight but not locked, pelvis level, waist nice and long, neck nice and long and core held in at 25% (roughly second notch of a belt). This position enables the muscles on both the front and the back of the body to work equally. It also creates space in the torso area for your organs within to function optimally.
Sitting correctly is also encouraged in a very similar way to standing. The only difference is that you are sitting on a chair. A good tip to try if you want to keep a check of your slouching whilst you are driving is to sit in the driver’s seat and go through the rules of ‘good sitting’ (above was good standing), and once you are in that nice position adjust your rear view mirror so you can now see clearly out of the back window in your new position. Once you have started driving, each time you check your rear view you will see if you have slouched down or not and if you have that’s your cue to realign.
A final note on how Pilates can help in terms of managing longevity is the importance of the breathing…
The lateral thoracic breathing we do in Pilates provides the body with a good supply of oxygen with each breath that nourishes the muscles and organs and the large action of the ribs/ lungs actively gives the organs an internal massage. The precise rhythm of the breathing also creates a calming effect on the body which in turn can lower blood pressure and stress levels.
If your spine feels older than your actual age and you would maybe like to readdress that balance, or if you resonate with any other part of this article and would like to book an appointment, please call the Uxbridge clinic on: 01895 200050. I look forward to meeting you.
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