One of the biggest questions that people ask about Pilates is…
Can it improve posture?
Pilates offers a lot of benefits to anyone who is seeking to improve their physical appearance. Most importantly, Pilates can help in maintaining good posture habits and boost core musculature and responsiveness.
What is A “Good” Posture?
Ever since we were kids, we have been encouraged to stand up and or sit down straight in order to hold a good posture. However, it is not always easy to be “up tall”. We have slouched, slumped or go back to our old position and habits.
But why was this always encouraged?
Partially, it is to help us fight against gravity. Gravity wishes to bring our shoulders and chin forward which can give additional tension through the back, shoulder, and neck. And it is because of the stress and fatigue of these muscles which lead to headaches and postural pains.
Each of your muscles in the body has an optimum length-tension relationship. Meaning, the muscle’s ability to do its job in providing tension or strength is influenced by its length or position. Thus, the postural muscles are in much stronger position and may work more efficiently if they are not fully shortened or lengthened position.
And this is where a “good posture” comes in which allows the optimum length to tension relationship for good postural muscles. It is usually as to whether there is an ideal posture. Every individual has different postures and positions unique to them. The key is finding that position and strengthening in order to maintain it.
Benefits of Good Posture
- Radiates an attitude of confidence
- Creates a trimmer appearance
- Improves circulation
- Takes stress or pressure off of compressed organs
- Increase range in motion
- Improves muscle function
- Allows efficient moving
- Pain relief on the body particularly in the feet, leg, hip, neck, and back
How Does Pilates Work For Posture?
The optimum length-tension relationship mentioned above is where a Pilates workout can be effective for mid and low back pain and also chronic neck pain. A Pilates-based workout has been shown to promote changes in habitual posture through the improvement and enhancement of joint, scapular and spinal flexibility as well as strengthening abdominal, lower back and shoulder musculature.
Originally, Pilates was called Contrology and has been around for almost a century. Joseph Pilates, its founder, and a former athlete argued that a stable mind to body relationship and a focus on a good alignment or posture in tandem with controlled and proper breathing can help improve one’s health. These are the fundamentals of a Pilates program, thus making it so effective.
What Do The Experts Say?
There are numerous research and studies made in regard to the efficiency of Pilates, both in promoting a good postural habit and general fitness.
A recent study has shown that a Pilates-based exercise can enhance the postural alignment of healthy women, measured by angular positions on the pelvis, head, and shoulders. There was a large improvement seen for the more than 6 months of study period for the postural resting position of the thoracic or cervical spine.
Other Benefits Of Pilates
In addition to the positive effects of Pilates on strength and posture improvement, it has also shown several other significant benefits.
Pilates excels not only in improving general health through good posture, but it is also great for pain relief by enhancing flexibility and stability. It allows better control over the foot, hip, neck and back regions- areas where pain is common to most individuals.
Using Pilates in order to strengthen core muscles can also improve circulation, increase range of motion for limbs and joints and allowing you to move efficiently.
Strengthening muscle groups in the abdomen, back and shoulder are beneficial not only for posture but it also improves your workout routines and general fitness. Lastly, regular Pilates exercise can create a leaner and toner appearance which can give you a more positive and confident outlook in yourself.
Now that you know that Pilates can indeed improve posture, you might want to try it out. Pilates exercises can be further enhanced with the best Pilates reformer machine.