If you are a regular to my classes and/or read my blog articles you know I stress the importance of building balance in the body. But what does that mean?
There is a constant play of stability and mobility within our bodies. Certain areas in our body function best when strong and stable (stability) and other areas of the body function best with more range of motion (mobility).
Pilates on the apparatus (reformer, stability chair, tower, barrel, plus TRX) lays the foundation to build a highly functional body by uniquely building that balance of stability and mobility. A functional body has even strength in the muscles combined with proper flexibility of the joints.
Pilates apparatus exercises develop healthy balanced force-couple muscle relationships. Force-couple refers to the dynamic play of two opposing muscle groups, especially around a joint.
For an example: say your quadriceps (front of thigh muscles) are super tight and strong, and yet your hamstrings (back of thigh muscles) are really weak and deactivated. The quads pull on your knee joint, but your hamstrings don’t balance that pull, which creates an incorrect torquing on the knee joint, leading to dysfunction and eventually pain. All muscles need to work in unison to produce desired movement so our bodies can work optimally.
We don’t just need balance of strength in our muscles, we need balance concerning our flexibility as well. The uniqueness of the springs on the reformer, stability chair, and tower focuses equally on the concentric (typical weight training movement which shortens our muscle fibres) and the eccentric (lengthening of the muscles on load) actions to not only create strength, but also length of the muscles by keeping constant tension through the entire movement. So amazing!! Thank you to Joseph Pilates for inventing spring loaded Pilates equipment!
By developing this balance in our bodies, we are building our postural muscles, standing taller, longer, more upright. When our posture is in correct alignment, we start to move with ease. Our effort is less, so moving our bodies becomes easier. It also reduces our chance of injuries, because we are moving our bodies properly so our joints and our muscles all are working the way they should.
One of the cool things about Pilates is the awareness piece. Pilates really demands a lot of our brains as we must constantly focus when we go through Pilates exercises. This is paramount to success when creating balance in our bodies when we know what our bodies are doing and how our bodies feel, which is called proprioception (the body’s ability to perceive its own position in space). This awareness and focus on breath, help our bodies and minds de-stress and feel good.
And we all know how AMAZING we feel after a Pilates session. We feel lengthened, energized, mindful, and definitely less stressed. The stress piece is huge right now. Moving our bodies in an intentional way, focusing our minds on the present moment helps to de-stress. Studies show the exercise helps bump up the production of our brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
So what you are waiting for? Connect with me to start your Pilates feel good adventure today!