Whether you’re a long-distance runner, returning to exercise from injury, or at the start of a new fitness routine, Pilates has something for everybody. Read on to learn how Pilates and osteopathy can work together.
What is Pilates?
The Pilates method uses a combination of exercises that can be used as gentle conditioning for injury rehab, or as a strenuous strength workout for seasoned athletes. It was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century as a type of low-impact, body strengthening exercise regime, and complements osteopathic treatment (keep on reading to learn more).
It’s based on six principles:
- Concentration: Bringing full attention to each movement.
- Control: Muscle control and moving with intention.
- Centering: Bringing focus to the body’s centre, engaging the core muscles.
- Precision: Performing each move with correct technique.
- Breath: Steady and controlled breathing, coordinating the breath with each movement (i.e. breathing out on exertion).
- Flow: Moving between each exercise with fluidity and ease.
Are there different types?
Yes, the two most common types are Matwork and Reformer.
- Matwork: Pilates movements performed on a mat.
- Reformer: Pilates movements performed on a reformer machine (bed-like equipment, which has a sliding carriage controlled by springs).
If you are new to this type of exercise, it may be an idea to go to introductory classes with a certified instructor to make sure you are practicing correct technique and alignment. However, Pilates is versatile – you can find a studio that offers Matwork and/or reformer classes, or you can also try it at home with an exercise mat and virtual class for instruction. However, it’s important to let your instructor know if you’re experiencing back pain, neck pain or are dealing with injury – as they will need to modify the exercises according to your capabilities and limitations.
Who is Pilates suitable for?
Pilates can be adapted to suit all levels of fitness and ability. It’s a great low impact, strengthening workout to add to your daily life. Whether you’re recovering from injury, looking to strengthen your core to enhance your sporting performance, or starting a new exercise program as a beginner, it has something for everyone. Pilates is also customisable, therefore, it can be modified to suit all levels.
What are the benefits?
Much like regular osteopathic treatment, the benefits of regular Pilates can be applied to many aspects of your life.
Some of the benefits you may see:
- Improvements in core strength and posture
- Reduction in back pain and neck pain
- Increases in energy
- Decreases in stress
- Enhancement of body awareness
- Improvement in balance
Like osteopathy, Pilates can have a positive effect on your life and wellbeing.
If you’d like to find out more about how osteopathy can enhance your life, contact our Rainham or Maidstone osteo clinics today. Our team are firm believers that movement is medicine, because many of our team practice Pilates themselves! When you’re next in the clinic, chat to your osteo about the benefits of Pilates. We’ll assess your situation and let you know if it’s the right exercise program for you.