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Benefits of Pilates During Pregnancy
Pilates and Back Pain
Pilates for Men - Why Pilates Is Good Fitness Training for Men
Benefits Of Pilates During Pregnancy
Pilates is a gentle low impact form of exercise and as such it is considered one of the best forms of exercise for a pregnant woman. And because pilates helps maintain and improve the condition of both your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, it is not only a safe form of exercise while pregnant, it can be hugely beneficial too. Many women first attend Pilates classes during pregnancy or in post natal recovery. Exercises can be adapted at each stage of pregnancy to allow for gentler or more focused exercise, but should not be continued if any discomfort is experienced.
Pilates will not place strain on the joints or back. In fact the back will be strengthened as will the stomach and muscles around the pelvic area - allowing for an easier pregnancy, delivery and recovery.
Pilates In The First Trimester Of Pregnancy
In the first three months, the changing hormones in the body can make you feel exhausted and nauseous, but gentle exercise can even be done while lying in bed. Often a little exercise can actually energise the body and make you feel mentally and physically better. And the relaxation techniques will relax both body and mind.
Pilates In The Second Trimester Of Pregnancy
The second trimester is, for most woman, the easiest part of pregnancy. Although the body is changing and expanding, energy levels are generally high and this should be when the exercises should be maximised to give you every advantage for the following months.
Pilates In The Third Trimester Of Pregnancy
In the third trimester, women tend to feel heavy and uncomfortable and hormones designed to loosen the pelvic joints can cause back pain. The additional weight of the baby can throw your centre of balance, legs can become swollen and varicose veins can develop. Pilates helps all of these conditions associated with pregnancy by strengthening the central or "core" muscles which in turn leads to improved posture and circulation.
Benefits Of Pilates During Labour
The improvement in muscle tone and circulation gained through practicing pilates will also be of value during labour. An improved circulation allows an increased oxygen supply to the womb and this is less distressing for the baby. And of course the breathing techniques used in Pilates can help with the control of breathing during childbirth.
Resuming Pilates After Childbirth
Women can generally return to Pilates four to six weeks after delivery, or eight to twelve weeks after a Caesarean section. Your doctor will advise you on when your body is ready.
Pilates will help your body regain its shape and tone and restrengthen muscles that have been weakened during your pregnancy. Exercises can be adapted to individual
Pilates and Back Pain
Pilates exercises are commonplace at physical therapy centres, chiropractors are recommending Pilates, and "My back used to hurt all the time and now I don't feel it anymore" is a phrase we hear a lot from people who do Pilates consistently. So what is it about Pilates that works so well for back pain relief?
What makes Pilates so effective is that it addresses the underlying structural imbalances in the body that lead to back pain. Issues like lack of core support, pelvic instability, muscular imbalances, poor posture, and lack of body awareness all effect back health. They are also issues that the Pilates method specializes in helping people improve.
Pilates Helps Correct Posture
In Pilates, we pay a lot of attention to how our body parts are lined up in relation to each other, which is our alignment. We usually think of our alignment as our posture, but good posture is a dynamic process, dependent on the body's ability to align its parts to respond to varying demands effectively. When alignment is off, uneven stresses on the skeleton, especially the spine are the result. Pilates exercises, done with attention to alignment, create uniform muscle use and development, allowing movement to flow through the body in a natural way.
For example, one of the most common postural imbalances that people have is the tendency to either tuck or tilt the pelvis. Both positions create weaknesses on one side of the body and overly tight areas on the other. They deny the spine the support of its natural curves and create a domino effect of aches and pains all the way up the spine and into the neck. Doing Pilates increases the awareness of the proper placement of the spine and pelvis, and creates the inner strength to support the natural curves of the spine. This is called having a neutral spine and it has been the key to better backs for many people.
Pilates Develops Core Strength
Good posture that goes beyond the "look" of being aligned requires core strength. Having core strength means that all of the muscles of the trunk of your body are strong, flexible, and working together to support and stabilize the spine.
Core strength is deeper than the big surface muscles that we are used to thinking of as those of the trunk of the body, like the rectus abdominis, the infamous 6-pack abs muscle or the beautiful big muscles of the back, like the lattisimus dorsi, popularly called "the lats." The core muscles include the muscles that are below the surface musculature.
So while many forms of exercise focus on strengthening the big surface muscles, Pilates trains the body so that all of the core muscles work together to support and stabilize the back. Part of developing effective core strength is to train the body to know when to release, as well as activate, its core muscles. So while core strength is the catch-all term, we might say that the core coherence that Pilates teaches is essential for back health.
Some of these less obvious but very important core muscles are the muscles of the pelvic floor; the psoas, which play a huge role in keeping us upright and in hip bending; the transversospinalis, which are small muscles that weave along the spine; and the transverse and oblique abdominal muscles. The diaphragm, our prime breathing muscle, is right in the middle of the core. All of these muscles play crucial roles in the support and stability of the spine.
...the only real guide to your true age lies not in years or how you THINK you feel but as you ACTUALLY are as infallibly indicated by the natural and normal flexibility enjoyed by your spine...
Joseph Pilates, Return to Life Through Contrology
Pilates Promotes Flexibility
A healthy spine can curve forward and backward, twist, and move side to side, and do so in a way that reveals all the subtle articulations that our many vertebrae allow us to have. As core strength develops, the back muscles learn to work in harmony with the abdominal muscles, forming protective support for the spine that increase the potential range of motion of the spine. Pilates exercises are easy to modify so that we can develop spinal flexibility at our own pace. This is one of the things about Pilates that makes it easy for people with back pain to work with.
Pilates Increases Body Awareness
Whether the cause of pain is from an injury or as is often the case, a culmination of the effects of poor posture and inefficient movement habits, back pain is a messenger letting us know that we have to pay more attention to how we live in our bodies. The Pilates method is full attention exercise. You can't do Pilates without becoming extremely aware of your alignment and the energy you bring to movement.
This kind of awareness practice is extremely powerful for people with back pain because we not only improve physical functioning, but as awareness increases, we move beyond the physical and mental holding patterns that back pain can create. Then, there is more room in one's whole being for positive change. ****************************************************************
Pilates for Men
Why Pilates Is Good Fitness Training for Men
Is Pilates useful for men? I've always felt a certain reserve about that question. After all, why wouldn't it be? Pilates was started by a man, Joseph Pilates; it's been a training vehicle for elite athletes, both men and women, for over 50 years; and men have figured prominently as instructors and promoters of the Pilates method throughout its history.
Though men have always been part of the Pilates scene, the surge of popularity that Pilates has enjoyed in recent years has been powered to a large extent by a wave of women participants and instructors, leaving some with the impression that the Pilates method is more for women. This is an unfortunate side-effect of an otherwise positive development. Fortunately, it is quickly dissolving. Pilates is one of the fastest growing fitness trends in the world, and men are definitely taking advantage of Pilates many benefits.
Why Pilates Works Well for Men Core strength, flexibility, balance, uniform development, and efficient movement patterns - all are hallmarks of Pilates training and highly relevant to mens fitness. The integrative component of Pilates can be especially beneficial for men, whose workouts often emphasize a part-by-part approach to muscular development, such as what one finds in weightlifting.
Pilates, by contrast, emphasizes moving from the center of the body, the powerhouse, and developing core strength in the deep muscles of the center to stabilize the trunk and protect the back. This kind of core training makes Pilates an excellent technique for whole-body fitness, as well as a foundation for cross training with other kinds of sports and exercise.
Increasing flexibility is a goal that Pilates addresses in a way that men often feel comfortable with. Pilates works toward functional fitness. That is, the ability to have the strength, balance, and flexibility that allows one to move through daily-life tasks with grace and ease. To this end, Pilates exercises do seek to increase flexibility and range of motion, but one won't find the kind of pretzel stretches in Pilates that one might find in gymnastics or yoga.