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Can Pilates Keep You From Pain?

Can Pilates keep you out of pain?

Have you ever had one of those days when you’re feeling great and then you take one weird step off of the curb and end up hurting your back, knee, hip, etc?

Was it that one step that caused the injury? Most likely not. Most of our injuries come from years of bad alignment habits that will eventually play out when you take that one weird step.

Our posture and our daily habits account for a lot of our injuries. So whether you sit at a desk for hours on end, hold a baby on your hip with one arm while trying to make dinner with the other, drive countless hours hunched over the steering wheel, or swing a golf club repeatedly in incorrect alignment, all of these hours of misalignment make you more susceptible to injuries to come.

What can Pilates do to help me?

Most people, when I ask what their strengths and weaknesses are during their first Pilates session can pinpoint exactly what postural habits are making them more prone to injury. We know that sitting for hours on end hunched over is bad, we just aren’t sure how to fix it.

Sometimes we have no idea where the pain is coming from and it takes observation from a trained instructor to find where our imbalances are. Either way, with great instruction, we can put together a program to get you pain free.

During the first Pilates session, we start by looking at your posture and your alignment. This can be as simple as a roll down exercise to observe the movement of your spine or as complex as a spinal palpitation, depending on how in depth you would like to get into your alignment issues, for example. From there, we will identify which daily habits are causing issues with your alignment and how we can adjust them. Sometimes this is as easy as adjusting the height of a computer monitor or coming up with ways to drive with less tension.

Next, we will put together a program to lengthen our shortened, tightened muscles and strengthen our core stabilizers. Most times small adjustments at home and adding Pilates into your weekly routine can make huge improvements in our posture and pain levels.

Email kristen@glidecorefitness.com if you think you could benefit from a postural and pain-free analysis and we will get you started today!

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Just breathe!

Pilates often gets thrown around as a buzzword for exercising your core, but have you ever thought about why Pilates is so essential to your exercise routine? Let's dive a little deeper into why mind body exercise is so important.

Breathing is essential to every day life. We need oxygen to survive. But breathing does a lot more than just a function of keeping us alive. When we focus on our breath we begin to calm the body and the mind. We are able to focus on our body in it's present state. Long, slow deep breaths can slow your heart rate and reduce tension in the muscles.

Breathing correctly helps us to use our bodies in a more efficient and effective way. Proper breath can help to reduce tension in the neck and shoulders, and instead create stronger core muscles by allowing us to access the transverse abdominis (the deepest layer of our abdominals).

So let’s do a quick exercise. Take a few shallow breaths into the upper part of the ribs. Can you immediately feel the tension in the neck and shoulders beginning to form? If we instead think about breathing deeper and more 3 dimensionally into the lower lobes of the lungs, we can not only bring more air into the lungs for greater oxygen flow, but also leave the tension out of our neck and shoulders. Close your eyes and take a few of those deep breaths into the lower lobes of the lungs and into your back, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Imagine a balloon inflating and then deflating deep in your belly. Notice how your abdominals start to kick on wrapping in and around your waist with each exhale. Also notice the tension leaving your neck and shoulders.

This is why breathing is the #1 basic principal in the STOTT Pilates method. Focusing on proper breathing creates a deeper mind body experience that is unique to the Pilates method. We are able to focus more internally on how the body feels, creating proper technique, and maximizing our core strength.