What’s at Your Core? …. Hopefully strong abdominal muscles.
Back pain is a common side effect of a weak core. When our abdominals are weak, it’s often because our back muscles are over- or under-used. Sitting at a desk all day or in a black and white doesn’t help either. Not being mindful of how we’re sitting, and not engaging our core, can lead to things like compressed discs in our spine and back pain.
Building core strength will help bring balance to the front and back of your body and potentially eliminate back pain.
Here’s a solution… Pilates
…is that exercise or a torture device?
It’s actually Pilates, a phenomenal core-building regimen.
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a full-body exercise system that uses a series of machines, such as the Reformer and Cadillac, as well as exercise mats. Pilates instructors usually assist with use of the machines, but some of the exercises can be performed at home on a mat.. Pilates works the left and right sides of the body in unison. But it focuses primarily on what Joseph Pilates called the “powerhouse” or core. It’s the group of muscles that begins two inches below your navel, goes two inches above your navel, and then wraps completely around your front and your back – kind of like a corset. It also includes your butt.
How is Pilates different from other types of exercise?
Pilates is a non-impact exercise that works the whole body. You’re either lying on your back, on your side, or kneeling on the floor. When you move your body, you’ do so from the core, using your abdominals to protect your back. You’re also working the body very evenly and symmetrically, making sure one side is not working harder than the other.
Isn’t this just yoga?
There’s definitely a mind-body component and a very similar fluidity in yoga and Pilates. One difference is that Pilates uses special equipment that isn’t used in yoga. With Pilates, you’re doing exercises with the assistance and resistance of springs and pulleys.
How Pilates will benefit me?
Pilates can help you lose weight, obtain back pain relief, tone your trouble spots, or recover from injury. Pilates is also being used more and more as therapy to help people with certain serious illnesses such as cancer.
Can Pilates really reshape my body?
Pilates completely transforms the body by using the powerhouse and really focusing on strengthening the abdominal wall, teaching it to lay flat and be strong. In Pilates, you’re always thinking of this inward pull as if the navel is going in toward the spine and then lifting up slightly, pulling all of your abdominal wall down and flat.
How often should I do Pilates?
Pilates is safe enough to do every day but doesn’t have to be performed on a daily basis. Initially, you may want to do it every day to develop a rhythm and become consistent. Once you’ve learned how and what to do, a good goal is to do it every other day.
Curious? Want something new? Give it a try
Check out this 10-minute beginners Pilates workout video.