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How Pilates Can Help You Get Through Your Day

By Robin Viele
March 27, 2012
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Pilates is a method of exercise that emphasizes posture, muscle balance, body awareness and core strength. In a Pilates workout, exercises are chosen to restore the natural curves of the spine, increase stability in the hips, shoulders and knees, and build strength around ideal alignment. Practicing Pilates regularly not only leads to a toned, lean physique, but will also develop functional strength which can decrease pain and discomfort throughout your day.

If you’re like most Americans, you spend the majority of your day stuck behind a desk, staring at a computer. This sedentary lifestyle is hard on the body, and often leads to weight gain, bad posture and back pain. Principles learned in a Pilates class can help prevent or reverse these tendencies. Strengthening the abdominal and back muscles makes it easier to sit with good posture throughout the day. Holding the spine in good alignment means less pain in the neck, shoulders and low back.

In addition to helping you get through your work day, Pilates can help you to more easily accommodate physical challenges to your body. By developing stability in your joints, you will be able to run, walk or bike (or whatever physical activity you enjoy!) longer and with a lower chance of injury. A strong core helps with everything from lifting heavy grocery bags to enhancing your basketball game.

Practicing Pilates also improves body awareness. This goes beyond basic coordination; being in tune with your physical body can help you understand the source of aches and pains (maybe the tendency to hike up your shoulders or slouch in your desk chair) and use techniques learned in Pilates class to combat them. Being more aware of your body might also help you recognize an illness earlier or stay more in control of stress.

In general, practicing Pilates is a safe, gentle and effective way to improve your physical fitness and overall well-being. Here at the YWCA, we have many different venues to try Pilates including mat classes, reformer classes and private and semi-private training. Check out the Pilates page on our site or contact me with any questions you have. I look forward to hearing from you!