Pilates: What It Is, Is It Right For You & Common Conditions It Can Benefit

I had the opportunity to take a Clinical Pilates with a Pelvic Health Perspective course a few months ago and am excited to begin teaching classes at Choice. Our bodies are made to move and Pilates is a type of exercise that has so many benefits for the body and mind, and is generally safe for most bodies to do. I thought this type of training would be really helpful for the people I treat everyday, so I was thrilled to be able to take this course. I am eager to get back to the clinic and begin teaching classes starting Friday, June 19th! Class size will be modified to accommodate our new policies and procedures related to COVID-19.

What is Pilates?

This form of exercise was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany. He invented Pilates as an exercise program for injured dancers and soldiers while living in the UK. Joseph Pilates believed that physical and mental health were closely connected. In the 1920’s he immigrated to the US and opened a Pilates studio in New York and Pilates has since become a popular form of exercise. The foundations of pilates are core stabilization, alignment, posture, strength, and balance – things we can all benefit from! With our Pilates classes offered at Choice, we are using an evidence-informed approach incorporating the latest research to provide the most effective exercises to help meet your specific functional goals.

Is Pilates Right For Me?

Before starting a Pilates class at Choice Health Centre, we conduct a specific assessment to generally screen the way your body moves, find any restrictions that may impact your participation and to ensure that your body will benefit from Pilates. Some of the things we look at during the assessment include pelvic alignment, standing and seated posture, single-leg balance, squats, lunges, core strength, shoulder and hip movement, just to name a few! If you just read that sentence and have aches/pains or weakness in any of those areas, this type of exercise would likely be beneficial for you.

During our assessment and during our classes, a lot of our work incorporates proper breath and core activation. Did you know that 50% of people are not activating the proper muscles in the proper manner while breathing? Our diaphragm is our main breathing muscle and is also a very important muscle in our deep core. If this isn’t working properly, it can lead to pain/dysfunction elsewhere. It is extremely important to reestablish proper breathing mechanics first and foremost and then incorporate those mechanics into our exercises routine.

The class is designed for all ages, body types, and abilities. A strong emphasis of the class is core and pelvic floor activation, so the class is also great for anyone postpartum (postpartum includes anyone who has ever had a baby.. ever! Not just new moms!For anyone looking to improve their general health, get back into an exercise routine, intimidated by larger class sizes, or not quite sure where to begin, this is a great starting point!

What Conditions Can Pilates Help?

Much of the research on Pilates focuses on people with chronic lower-back pain. In a 2014 systematic review, Pilates was found to offer greater improvements in pain and functional ability compared to usual care and physical activity in the short term. Early return to exercise after an injury was also found beneficial.

A randomized clinical trial of 105 pregnant women showed that those who participated in twice-weekly Pilates sessions during pregnancy had significant improvements in blood pressure, hamstring flexibility and spinal curvature, as well as improvements during labor—fewer caesarean births, episiotomies and instances of obstructed labor.

In a 2018 randomized controlled study of 41 subjects with pain and disability from knee osteoarthritis, investigators found that those who practiced Pilates experienced more significant improvement in pain and disability than those who did conventional therapeutic exercise

In a recent study by Hay-Smith et al, women receiving weekly supervision were more likely to report improvement than women doing pelvic floor muscle activation with little or no supervision.

These are just a few on the injuries that Pilates can help. If you have any specific questions or have interest in small group Pilates classes, please email dart@choicehealthcentre.com or call our clinic at 902-404-3668 ext. 1I will be starting to teach these classes Friday, June 19th at our Dartmouth location, and I hope to see you there! 

Classes are covered by most major insurance companies. To book an appointment with our chiropractor, Dr. Justine Landry or one of our other health care professionals call (902) 404-3668 or book online.

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