Beneficial Long Term Effects of Pilates
Updated: Dec 26, 2022
If you have been considering starting pilates, or have been partaking in pilates for some time, then it’s important to know what to expect, including the long term effects that you are likely to experience, and who these effects will benefit the most.
What Is Pilates?
Before we delve into what the long term effects of practising pilates, it’s important to understand what pilates even is.
Putting it simply, pilates is a form of exercise that aims to strengthen the body in an equal way, with particular emphasis on core strength to improve general fitness and wellbeing.
Who Benefits From Pilates?
Pilates is suitable for all ages and levels of ability and fitness, and that includes those rehabilitating from injuries. However, we do advise that you speak to your doctor prior to starting pilates if you fall into one of the following categories:
people who have recently had surgery
people aged 40 years or more
people with a pre-existing medical condition such as heart disease
people with pre-existing musculoskeletal injuries or disorders
anyone who has not exercised for a long time
people who are very overweight or obese.
The Long Term Effects
Pilates isn’t about bending yourself into positions that your body was never meant to bend into. Pilates works toward a safe increase in length and stretch of the muscles and the range of motion within the joints. Pilates aims to build a level of muscular strength that will enhance and complement your everyday life and activities, and to create a body that can stretch and bend to meet the flow of daily life. It creates practical strength and flexibility.
Studies have shown that just 20 Pilates sessions can result in a 20% increase in flexibility, however the longer you commit to this form of exercise the more you will benefit.
A Better Posture
A strong core goes a long way towards a good posture. Pilates encourages you to utilise your core muscles, and also focus on proper alignment in the body. A good posture sets you up for greater ease and grace in daily movements, as well as supporting your body as it ages. From helping to reduce back and neck pain, to easing tension in the body and preventing injury, a good posture is something that everyone will benefit from.
Improved Memory And Support Brain Health
Studies that measured changes in women’s brain activity after 10 weeks of pilates training found an increase in the brain’s alpha peak power, which is related to neural network activity, memory performance, and other cognitive functions. From our late 20’s, we start to lose about 1% of the portion of the brain responsible for memory and cognitive function. Studies have proved that exercise improves the creation of new brain cells as well as protects existing cells and increase brain functioning.
Pilates offers a practice that can result in better memory, lower risks of Alzheimer’s disease, better learning and problem solving, a higher IQ and more. Researchers believe Pilates may even hold potential as a treatment option for people with brain-degenerative diseases and cognitive dysfunctions.
Your Aches And Pains May Disappear
Modern-day life is tough on the body. From sitting down for ours at a time, less walking in favour or driving, spending too much time on our phones, we live a more sedentary lifestyle, and consequently, we suffer from body pain and tension. However, pilates is a powerful antidote to this!
The focus on the stabilizing core muscles of the torso helps to support the spine and surrounding major muscle groups. This helps to protect the vertebrae, ligaments and discs that can often suffer as a result of repetitive trauma and habitual patterns of movement. Studies have shown that those with chronic lower back pain who practiced Pilates for even as little as four weeks experienced more relief than those who visited a physician and other specialists.
There you have it! If you have been considering starting pilates then now you what to expect, including the long term effects that you will benefit from. There is no excuse not to get signing up for your local class now, or even just get started at home! The longer you commit for, the better.