The Skinny on Pilates
The mindfulness component included in Pilates has been found to improve happiness, decreases depression, and supports an elevation in overall mood.
If you haven’t heard of Pilates, you have been living under a rock for the last ten years! After Hollywood celebrities like Gweneth Paltrow and Madonna starting touting Pilates’ ability to create long and lean bodies, it seemed like every gym in Boston was offering at least a class or two! It was such a big trend in the recent past that it even spilled over into the medical literature a few years later.
What is Pilates?
The Pilates Method was created by Joseph Pilates. He decided to create a way of healthy living that combined exercise/movement, philosophy, gymnastics, martial arts, yoga, and dance. His program was originally based on 6 key principals: centering, concentration, control, precision, flow, and breath.
According to Pilates, his method is the total coordination of body, mind, and spirit, promoting the uniform development of the body; restoration of good posture and physical activity; and revitalization of the mind and spirit. Sounds pretty “touchy feely”, doesn’t it?
Pilates is based on movements and exercises that are performed on either a mat or with a Pilates machine. The movements are very focused, and there is an attention paid to detail and control. The main thrust of the exercise is to refine small movements and that all movement initiates from the core.
Once researchers started studying Pilates, they really liked what they found
Many studies have found that participants do experience very real benefits after performing Pilates exercises consistently over a period of time. Participants have been found to have significantly improved muscle flexibility in the trunk and legs. Dynamic balance and muscular endurance were also found to significantly increase after a training period of just 8 weeks. The mindfulness component included in Pilates has been found to improve happiness, decreases depression, and supports an elevation in overall mood.
In patients with chronic pain, pain levels have been found to decrease in many studies. A specific subset of patients with low back pain have been found to benefit significantly from Mat Pilates programs.
So the next time you see an opening in the Mat Pilates class at CCRP, consider giving it a try. The research has found that there is nothing to lose, and even suggests that you might just become more flexible, balanced, strong, and happy. I think those are a few very good reasons to try something new!