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Pilates Ready

By April 15, 2024Pilates In Holland

Though many of you were just on spring break, I took mine a few weeks earlier in March. My husband was attending the ACS Conference in New Orleans. Both the city and the warmer weather sounded like a perfect excuse for me to tag along. 

But I have a confession to make. Though I’ve written about how important walking is, how good for your body and your mind, I haven’t walked very much this winter. I haven’t been a complete blob, but I spent a lot more time taking naps than walking.

I wasn’t being too hard on myself, after all some winter hibernation can be good for us. But I started to get a little worried when my husband and I planned this trip to New Orleans. I wanted to SEE the city. Would my body catch up to my desire?

I needn’t have worried. Even during my season of increased rest, I was still attending Pilates twice a week and my body was more than ready. During the 6 days we were in New Orleans, I averaged a little over 12,000 steps a day, or about 6 miles. The last day was my highest at over 19,000 steps, getting in all the last-minute sights and meals I couldn’t bear to miss. My average in the month before the trip? About 4,000. (Note: my goal is not 10,000 steps a day which is not science-based but was a marketing ploy that stuck. My goal is about 7,000 steps a dayMore studies are still coming out, but what is clear is that anything over 2,200 steps a day is better to get you out of a sedentary lifestyle.)

Even though my step average more than tripled from what I’d been doing in February, my body was ready. Pilates isn’t a magic elixir by any means, but it does help with our functional movement (this study shows a reduction in the risk of running-related injuries when Pilates was introduced to reduce biomechanical imbalances and inefficient functional movements). Functional movements include the actions and tasks that are important to us today, those we want to maintain long-term, and those we want to do in the future. This includes getting up when we fall and getting off the toilet! Functional movements are different for everyone, but there are common functional movement patterns that are linked to everyday activities. If we strengthen these patterns, we are likely to move more efficiently and prevent common overuse and everyday injuries. These patterns include: 

  • Squat
  • Lunge
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Hinge/Bend
  • Twist 
  • Gait

To quote myself from this blog in 2021, Pilates builds strength and flexibility, a combination otherwise known as mobility. The educational website for the Victorian Government in Australia says: Pilates promotes mobility and strength of all the major muscle groups in the body in a balanced fashion, whilst also having a key focus on the deep core muscles. It improves posture, flexibility, strength, balance and body awareness. And they list many benefits of Pilates, including:

  • improved flexibility
  • increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)
  • balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body
  • enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs
  • improved stabilization of your spine
  • improved posture
  • rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances
  • improved physical coordination and balance

This blog from IDEA Heath & Fitness Association says everything I would have said about Pilates and functional movement. I highly recommend reading it! Here are the highlights:

  • Full-Body Integration: Our “simple” everyday movements are actually quite complex and require the integration of movement, joint stability and firing patterns. Pilates teaches exercise as movements, not as bits of movement.
  • Movement Variety: Pilates continually challenges the body through many different kinds of movement that can vary and level up as needed to see progress.
  • Dynamic Stability: Our daily activities require the ability to maintain proper mechanical alignment via joint stability. Pilates conditions the dynamic stabilizing system for proper alignment and movement.
  • Balancing Stability and Mobility: The need for spinal mobility in all planes of motion is vitally important in our everyday lives. Pilates if full of ways to move the spine in multiple planes.

So no, Pilates isn’t a magic elixir, but also, maybe it kind of is?? 😉

See you in the studio,

Renee

Author Renee

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Gigi Babel says:

    HI Renee, Thank you so much for the “blogs” that you continue to faithfully write. I love to read all of your insightful comments and your descriptions of how Pilates and camaraderie fill the soul and heal the spirit. I couldn’t agree with you more. Every week I not only look forward to having a good workout but to share conversation and experiences with all my colleagues! We really are in it together. Mandy and you and the rest of the team are the best. Please share with the team how incredibly lucky we are to have such support and love and comfort every time we walk in the door.

    • Renee says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Gigi! I love hearing that the studio means as much to eveyrone else as it does to us. 🙂

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