I’m always trying to turn my friends and family onto Yoga and Pilates. I want to share what I love about both of these types of movements with the ones I care about. The number one thing I hear back from friends is “What I can I do to alleviate low back pain?” or “What exercises will help with my back stiffness and pain?” My answer of course is always “Yoga and Pilates!”
In fact the number one reason or complaint that people have when beginning a Yoga/Pilates practice is stiffness in the low back, and often accompanied with low back pain. One of the major causes of lower back pain is lack of flexibility in the spine; as some areas become stiff or immobile. The demands of modern life mean that we spend far too much time in a flexed-forward position (such as sitting at computer desks all day).
Joseph Pilates said:
“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”
Both Yoga and Pilates help to restore a more natural range of movement to your spine, and unload some of the strain that today’s sedentary lifestyles place on it. By working on spinal mobility and restoring natural movement patterns you can lengthen and strengthen your spine, gaining better posture and back health.
In fact, Recent studies even show that Pilates can help alleviate low back pain more than other therapies. In your sessions we work to address any underlying structural imbalances that you may have in your body. By strengthening your core, finding better flexibility in the body and improving your posture, Pilates can help to alleviate back pain and discomfort.
Being strong in your core means all of the muscles of your trunk are strong, flexible and work together to support your body’s movements. Core strength in Pilates is about more than having six pack abs. In fact, the six pack abs that most people strive for in the gym, only work the most superficial of the abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis. In Pilates we go deeper into the core (or as it’s known in Pilates, the Powerhouse), utilizing all of the abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis, the internal and external obliques, the transverse abdominis (which is the deepest and strongest of the core muscles) and the all of the muscles that support the spine.
Not only do we work on strength in Pilates, but we also work to increase flexibility in the muscles and the spine itself. Pilates will work your spine in all of it’s planes of movement: forward bending, extension, side bending and rotation of the spine. As you increase the strength in the core and other muscles that support the spine, you will have greater range of motion and less pain in the spine as it moves.
In Pilates we focus a lot on alignment. We focus on how the body is lined up as we move. When you alignment is off it can create imbalances in the body that often create other problems within the body. Poor posture can affect other parts of your body up the chain of your body. For instance, someone who constantly walks or stands with a pelvic tilt can then pull on the muscles of the back causing back pain and discomfort.
Pilates will create awareness in the body so you can focus on better alignment throughout your session, as well as throughout your day. Pilates doesn’t just teach you how to move your body for one hour during your session, it teaches you how to move your body for the rest of your day. Pilates, unlike other forms of exercises, actually lives outside of the studio in the real world.
If you have back pain or discomfort, consider taking up a Pilates practice. Ask your physician before beginning and look for a trained and certified Pilates teacher to help you. If you are in the Winter Garden, Windermere, Ocoee or Orlando area email the studio at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started today.