Pilates is a series of vigorous exercises that lengthens and strengthens muscles simultaneously. Pilates is unique in that it uses spring loaded equipment to provide resistance. This helps to ensure that no muscle is ever over or under trained. Joseph Pilates originally called the system “contrology,” and strongly believed in the mind, body and spirit connection.
“Pilates develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality,
invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.”
– Joseph Pilates
Millions of people suffer the physical and emotional toll of chronic back pain. Slipped or degenerative disks, genetic conditions like scoliosis, sports injuries, or simply having spent too many years sitting behind a desk can lead to reduced agility, restricted range of motion and an overall diminished quality of life. While some might attribute these negative effects to aging, it’s well known that with proper care and the right amount of exercise, the human body can function pain-free at almost any age. Pilates is an excellent method for achieving such a goal and can be used by anyone, at any level of fitness.
Pilates exercises are specifically designed to address the underlying structural imbalances that lead to back pain by working through from the inner to outer muscles. The training also focuses on breathing and centering to achieve optimum postural alignment. This comprehensive process strengthens the body’s foundation or “core,” as it is commonly known today. Core strengthening is widely believed by licensed physical therapists to be one of the most effective ways to alleviate back pain naturally, and for the long term.
Because every individual’s physique and fitness level are different, Equinox’s Certified Pilates Instructors carefully work with clients in the first session to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Through this guided session a teacher can design an individually tailored exercise program that builds strength and avoids injury by working specific muscle groups at appropriate levels of intensity. The customized Pilates session focuses on a total body workout and quality of movement. It will include exercises designed to achieve spinal alignment and bring overall balance to the body. The spine will be safely bent forward, backward, side to side, and rotated in each session. These movements greatly increase strength, endurance and flexibility by targeting the abdominals, gluteus maximus, inner thighs and lower back. These core muscle groups function as the body’s powerhouse and when used properly, will greatly reduce or eliminate unnecessary pressure on the spine, joints, ligaments and tendons.
The balanced work of Pilates leads to a marked and noticeable improvement in one’s posture, physique and ultimately self-esteem. Through Pilates you will increase self awareness and learn to move with better form, naturally carrying yourself with the spine straight and shoulders “lifted” during day to day tasks. You’ll move with a flow in line with the way your body was designed to be used. This will greatly reduce physical and emotional stress, eventually eliminating all unnecessary pain.
For more information on Pilates and its benefits, you can contact Pilates Coordinator & Lead Teacher Trainer; Alison Moffett [email protected]. You can also visit the Equinox website https://www.equinox.com/
Written by Alison Moffett, Pilates Coordinator & Lead Teacher Trainer at Equinox, Westlake Village, CA