Sitting for 12 hours a day then doing a 20 minute run just isn’t enough to achieve a healthy functional body until old age! As much as I love that Pilates will get you a lean toned physique and perky bum, it’s also the most functional form of exercise. Functional exercise means training the body for exercises performed in every day life. Now what do most of us do all day in every day life? Sit at a desk, drive, get stressed, run, stand squished on a tube? We don’t tend to love our bodies or take care of them.
Back pain affects so many of us today and gets progressively worse as we age. This is because of our lifestyle. We just sit so much as a society, we weren’t meant to do that! Pilates focuses on mobilising your spine and joints, tones your deeper intrinsic muscles that support these joints, improves your core strength, improves stability, improves flexibility as well as co ordination, alignment and control. All of these benefits lead to a healthy functional body that will feel young at the age of 70. Joseph Pilates said “you are only as young as your spinach column.” Why should we limit our activities as we age? My goal is to be doing Pilates and running around after my great grandchildren until I’m 90!
Make moving your body part of your life every single day. Walking, running, the gym is all great but are you really moving your body with these exercises? Your spine needs to flex forwards, extend backwards, rotate left to right, side bend left to right and even translate laterally left to right which you can do my shifting your ribs isometrically sideways and this really creates space and freedom in your body to be able to move more efficiently.
That’s just the spine! What about those hips that stay bunched up on a chair all day? Pilates looks at the body as a whole. Getting up from your desk every hour and doing some gentle stretches like rolling your spine down, twisting left to right and rolling your shoulders for a 5 minutes will be so beneficial. It’s simply movement! You could set an alarm reminder on your phone.
Pilates is the most balanced form of exercise. It doesn’t favour flexibility over strength or vise versa. The balance of mobility and stability is key to achieving a pain free body. Rather than just focusing on stretching your hamstrings for instant, Pilates exercise would do this but they would also look at getting your glutes more active and increasing the movement in your lower back and hip flexors.
So if your like me and want to touch your toes at 90, then get your booty to Pilates!