Pilates Prevents Injuries
Pilates is a method of exercise that has been used by physical therapists to rehabilitate patients following injuries to the spine for decades. But did you know that, if practiced regularly (at least 2-3x per week), Pilates can be used to actually prevent injuries?
Personally, I have taught group exercise since 1990. And I have taught just about every type of exercise class from kickboxing to boot camp. After all these years, I
still teach high energy classes such as Spinning, TRX and cardio/strength interval classes. I attribute my ability to continue to teach these classes 4-5x each week without sustaining an injury (knock on wood) to the fact that I also teach and do Pilates 2-4x per week.
To an outside observer, Pilates may look easy, maybe even boring. However, to anyone who has truly tried a Pilates class, he or she may beg to differ. Pilates has so many benefits for both the mind and the body. Whether you are an athlete or not, you have all probably sustained some form of injury in your lifetime. Maybe an ankle sprain, pulled hamstring or lower back injury. Injuries can leave you incapacitated for weeks, months….even years. But what if you could use exercise as a way to prevent injuries rather than cause them? Well, Pilates is just that type of exercise!
Pilates is a form of exercise,
that when performed regularly, can actually prevent injures. It can do this because it focuses on the 5 following aspects:
1. It strengthens the core. Pilates focuses on strengthening the core and back muscles. The trunk is where your power radiates from whether you are running a marathon or pushing a lawn mower. Think about how often your core muscles have to engage during the day. It engages when you sit, stand, run or open a door. If you suffer from lower back pain, it may very well be because of weakness in your core or trunk muscles.
2. It rebalances muscle imbalances. Pilates exposes our muscle imbalances and then can be used to correct those imbalances. Most of us have a dominant hand, dominant leg or even dominant side of your trunk. That dominant side of your body is usually stronger than the opposite side. These muscle imbalances can form as a result of a sport or everyday life. For example, a baseball pitcher usually has one arm he/she uses over and over again to pitch a ball. That activity will result in greater strength on that side of the body and usually weakness on the opposite side. That muscle imbalance will usually lead to some form of injury, whether it be an injury to the shoulder, spine or hip. An example of muscle imbalances in everyday life would be if you work at a computer all day and you always use the mouse in your right hand. Or you reach for that drawer on the right multiple times during the day every day. This can lead to muscle imbalances which will, many times, result in injuries to the shoulder, wrist or neck. Pilates can be used to first discover those imbalances and then correct them before they result in pain, dysfunction and injury.
3. It is gentle enough to do Everyday but challenging enough to see and feel the difference. Pilates is designed to be gentle enough to be used every day, but also challenging enough to feel and see the difference in your body. Pilates is so easy to adapt for each and every individual….his/her strengths and weaknesses. Consistent Pilates practice trains the body to move efficiently and naturally.
4. It improves strength, flexibility and balance. Some of the many benefits of practicing Pilates regularly is that it improves strength, flexibility and balance. When your body is strong, flexible and balanced, you are less likely to sustain and injury.
5. It enhances body awareness, coordination and concentration. Regular Pilates practice enhances your body awareness, coordination and ability to concentrate. When you are able to achieve this, your body moves smoother, more gracefully and with greater control. This can prevent injuries.
Pilates is a wonderful form of exercise that has many benefits. It is a form of exercise that when practiced regularly, it can make you move with greater control, efficiency and strength. By moving in this way, you are less likely to sustain an injury….whether it be a sudden injury or an overuse injury.
So what are you waiting for? Pilates is absolutely necessary if you want an greater chance of remaining injury free.
ABS Pilates of Columbus, Ohio is a specialized Pilates program. Amanda B. Smith is a licensed physical therapist and certified Pilates instructor with more than 20 years of experience. Contact ABS Pilates today and prevent the injuries of tomorrow!