Pilates and why it’s good for health!
Pilates is an exercise form that utilises a person’s body weight. It combines breath control and movement to help in improving flexibility and strength. Pilates has turned into a popular form of exercise since the last decade. Two of the most important forms of Pilates are Clinical Pilates and Postnatal Pilates.
It is a form of Pilates that is specially designed for people recovering from illnesses or issues. The exercises can be administered either from the health care centre or from a specific studio designed for Pilates and exercises.
Stretching is said to eliminate certain people’s pain and symptoms. Some people only get stiffness if they practice stretching exercises. Certain people who have hypermobility joint syndrome might feel stiffer as they stretch. When the muscles get stretched, the nerves are also stretched as a result.
If both muscles and nerves are stretched to the end of their range, there can be two possibilities. The muscle might either tear or the nerve might react to protect tissue damage in ligaments or muscles. This can mostly occur among hypermobile people. The nerve would react to protect the tissues from damage and the result would be tight and stiff muscles!
People who naturally have stiffer joints might be less flexible. They can gain benefit from stretching exercises. Such people gain more flexibility and function due to stretching. Clinical Pilates can be more helpful when compared to traditional Pilates in such cases as the exercise is designed to suit specific individual needs.
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As the name suggests, this form of Pilates is administered to women after childbirth to lose excess belly fat accumulated during pregnancy and to gain more confidence. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of Postnatal Pilates.
Pelvic Floor Retraining: The pelvic floor muscles lie between the pubic bone and tailbone which supports the bowels, uterus, bladder and vagina. The muscles can weaken after having a baby. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is very important as it can help in treating incontinence issues and pelvic organ prolapse.
Reduces Abdominal Separation: The abdominal muscles stretch during pregnancy to accommodate the growing baby. Abdominal separation occurs when the connective tissue gets stretched by creating a gap. Pilates focuses on activating the deep abdominal muscles which lie underneath the abdomen. If you train the deep abdominal muscles, it can reduce abdominal separation with certain activities and exercise.
Whole Body Strengthening: Other than training the core muscles, Pilates can help in strengthening the lower and upper body. Pilates can however target the whole body with a set of exercises that can strengthen the core, gluteals, arms, legs etc. and can also improve posture.
Helps Increase Energy: Regular exercise can help in increasing energy levels and improves the emotional, physical and psychological well-being of an individual. Growing stronger with the help of Pilates can make everyday activities seem to be easier and more achievable. Regular exercise can increase the quality of sleep too, which is very important and necessary.
When to Start Post-natal Pilates
Most women would be ready to start post-natal Pilates in six weeks after giving birth. To make sure that you are ready, an assessment needs to be performed by a physiotherapist. The assessment might include use of real-time ultrasound to assess the pelvic floor and transverse abdominus muscles. This will allow the physiotherapist to see how well the muscles are functioning and how they can adjust to the exercises that may suit you.
It should be kept in mind that though clinical Pilates and postnatal Pilates are just two variations of traditional Pilates, both forms can be beneficial only when administered and practiced in the right way.