How To Correct Posture With Pilates

The fact is, no one has a perfect posture.  Yes, there are those who benefit from a more aligned spine and therefore a better posture, but everyone has to who work at it, and Pilates provides the perfect mechanisms to do that.  So what is Pilates and how can it help everyone, including athletes?  Pilates is strength, flexibility and control of the body.  To quote Joseph Pilates (Founder of Pilates) “A man is as young as his spinal column”.

 

WHAT IS PILATES?

Joseph Pilates grew up in Dusseldorf, Germany in the 1880s.  He was unfortunately a sickly child who suffered numerous asthma attacks as well as rheumatic fever, which left him with an underdeveloped bone structure as well as distorted limbs.  Joseph refused to let his health situation dictate his physical and mental capabilities, working hard to produce exercises that would correct and strengthen his body.  The first of these exercises is more commonly referred to as mat work, later known as ‘The Art of Contrology.’  Evolving the exercise regime after 1st world war, Joseph worked in a hospital in The Isle of Man, helping the bedridden and wounded by strengthening their bodies and muscles, getting them mobile once again.  Using bedsprings attached to a bedframe helped the wounded move more freely, whilst keeping their muscles toned.  This equipment later developed to what is now referred to as a ‘Cadillac’.

 

HOW POOR POSTURE MAY AFFECT THE BODY

Posture is not just a matter of standing up straight, it may also affect good health.  When organs are not working to their full potential, balance may be disturbed and the spine may incur injuries.  Poor posture is not always down to habit, although repeating certain movement repetitively, can have an effect on the spine’s alignment.  It may be due to the way a spine curves, for example:

  • Lordosis – extended curvature of the lower back, which may cause lower back pain.
  • Abnormal Kyphosis- affecting the dorsal area and commonly referred to as a hunchback, includes back pain, muscle exhaustion and stiffness.
  • Scoliosis – sideward curvature of the spine. Symptoms may include, leaning to one side, ribs sticking out to one side, or uneven shoulders, which may cause clothes not to fit correctly.  Adults often suffer from back pain caused by this affliction. (please note there are several types of scoliosis from genetic to habitual)
  • Swayback – hypermobility beyond normal range gives the appearance of a swayback. This issue may cause chronic back pain.
  • Flatback – lower back loses its natural curvature, which may cause severe back pain.

 

HOW TO CORRECT POSTURE WITH THE PILATES METHOD

Partaking in Pilates on a regular basis can offer the following benefits: healthy spine, even shoulders and hips and body weight dispersed evenly on both sides of the body.  Initial work consists of a combination of floor work (mat) and the reformer which is a resistance carriage that moves back and forth along a track making the subject work within the apportioned space helping align the spine and strengthening the body.  In some studios selected exercises may be introduced on the Cadillac, a table with springs which enables a person to exercise with the support of springs. The classical Pilates method is good for everyone, including athletes who want to improve their performance.  Pilates will develop their alignment, muscle configuration, endurance, improve flexibility, and help coordination and balance, all aiding the prevention of injuries and potentially improving the body’s longevity.

Whether the class is a group or a private lesson, it is all about technique. Athletes have experienced many benefits from the Pilates methods, some of which include:

 

  • Increased flexibility
  • Muscle efficiency and balance
  • Strength
  • Increased mobile movement
  • Cognitive focus

 

Ficmax Ergonomic High-back Large Size Office Desk Chair
Ficmax Ergonomic High-back Large Size Office Desk Chair

 

Pilates is different from many exercise regimes because it concentrates on a whole body approach, using the core (the spine and surrounding muscles) as the key to strengthen muscles, align posture, and rescue internal organs from damage.  Once the posture and the core start to correct, breathing, circulation, strength and mobility follow.  Classical Pilates has many positive attributes for those who want to improve physical performance, as well as benefit health.  The one thing Pilates possesses that no other method has is the ability to protect the body’s core, whilst pushing expectations and achieving results that a person may have not thought possible, especially those who have notably suffered from poor posture.

Being precise in movement is the key to success, so be sure to research a well established Pilates venue. To read more about the benefits of Pilates in athletes, please follow this link www.stack.com

 

 

RESOURCES

https://www.thebodeswell.com/

Harvard Health

American Family Physician

 

 

Does it Hurt to Get out of Bed? Here’s Why…

As we age, more often in the morning we wake up grunting, making noises as we stretch, or complaining of a newfound ache. Scientists have recently discovered the reason why it may hurt to get out of bed.

Good Morning, Sunshine!

Your foot hits the floor as you make your way off the mattress. As you stand up, there’s stiffness in your leg, back, or neck. There’s a logical reason for this, and it’s not just “getting older.”

Researchers in the UK at Manchester University conducted a study on cells from joints. What they found is that cells within our bodies have a biological clock. During sleep, the cell’s clock suppresses anti-inflammatory proteins. That’s why we’re often puffy, and everything’s sore. Our anti-inflammatory defenses go to bed too.

It’s Going to Be a Great Day

As we wander into the kitchen to grab our tea or coffee, our bodies are springing back into gear. Our natural ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory responses) begin to function more fully. Arthritis research doctor Qing-Jun Meng reminds us, “…as a consequence of the daily activity and resting cycle, we are two centimeters taller in the morning than when we go to bed.” So, once again, sleep matters, too.

Understanding that our cells have a time of day when they provide the highest (and lowest levels) of natural ibuprofen, can inform doctors when is the most beneficial time to administer medication to arthritic patients.

Additionally, arthritis patients and others with chronic inflammatory diseases may eventually have new medicines to help treat their pain—without painkillers. The researchers experimented with the rhythm of the cells in joints and even in the spine. The 24-hour cycle was altered to knock out the cryptochrome gene. When they did that, there was pervasive inflammation in the test subjects.

This experiment informed the scientists that the cryptochrome gene—and hence, its protein product—has significant anti-inflammatory abilities. This discovery can certainly help with the potential to create new drugs.

Back on Track

This research has also informed why lower back pain can be more prevalent with aging. As our cells’ body-clocks function at a declined capacity, so will their ability to act accordingly—that is, fight inflammation, for example. So, besides exercising and getting good sleep, we need to keep our cells as healthy as possible. If they’re healthy, they won’t know if they’re young or old as they continuously divide and reproduce.

With proper nutrition, we can keep cells happy and help prevent them from becoming diseased. Also, it’s important to bear in mind that stress plays a negative part in healthy cell reproduction. Eat well and stay calm, and hopefully, you’ll wake up with a few fewer aches tomorrow and for years to come.