Pilates has a reputation for providing incredible health benefits, from strengthening one’s core to improving one’s mood. But how do you know for sure that Pilates can deliver on all of its health-promoting promises? Science. In fact, there are at least 10 benefits from practicing Reformer Pilates (The form of Pilates practiced on a reformer machine rather than a mat), that are backed by studies and supported by science.
Reformer Pilates improves core strength
The core, or center, of the body, encompasses the trunk and all of its associated muscles. Critical to proper posture, stability, and movement, a weak core often creates chronic pain throughout the head, neck, back, and shoulders.
Pilates, however, can help. Studies conducted on postpartum women, older adults, those who suffer from chronic back pain, and others have found that this system of exercise consistently results in stronger muscles and reduced core-related pain.
Reformer Pilates improves posture
Poor posture leads to a host of problems, from head and neck pain to unattractive sitting and standing positions. Improving core strength through Pilates can improve the body’s ability to hold itself in the correct position.
In addition, Pilates exercises improve the participant’s awareness of their body’s alignment and emphasizes getting the body’s muscles to work together. The result is an ability to recognize and attain an appropriate position when sitting, standing, walking, crouching, bending, or otherwise using one’s body in everyday life.
Reformer Pilates improves balance
Balance is central to many of life’s daily activities. From simply walking to completing more complex movements, balance helps to reduce falls and maintain proper coordination among all parts of the body.
Pilates can provide an improved balance. Among older adults, Pilates has been shown to prevent falls, due to its ability to help seniors keep their balance. Pilates contributes to better balance, thanks to its focus on improving core strength and bodily alignment.
Reformer Pilates could improve the immune system
Pilates strengthens and aligns muscles, but it also leads to improved circulation throughout the body, and studies indicate that this improved blood flow could be good for your immune system. Studies focused primarily on older adults indicate that Pilates can help seniors avoid illnesses by boosting the performance of their immune systems. And, if it works for older adults, chances are that it will work for younger Pilates participants as well.
Reformer Pilates reduces pain
As mentioned above, pain is often the result of improperly aligned or exercised muscles within the body. For example, weak core muscles or poor posture can lead to chronic pain throughout the head, neck, shoulders, and back. By improving the underlying causes of this pain, Reformer Pilates can deliver relief from recurring discomfort. Studies have also shown that participation in Pilates can reduce menstrual pain (PDF) and discomfort.
Reformer Pilates improves flexibility
Flexible muscles make it easier to stretch, move, reach, and function without muscle injury. Pilates, when compared to simple stretching exercises, improves the muscles’ ability to stretch. That flexibility contributes to a wealth of advantages, including better balance, improved mobility, and an improved gait.
Reformer Pilates reduces injuries
Muscles that are out of balance, either because they are too weak or because they are too tight, are more prone to injury. Restoring the muscles to their proper roles within the body is one of the core advantages of regular participation in Reformer Pilates.
Pilates regimens focus on working all the core muscles in the body, including those often neglected in more traditional workouts. As each muscle receives the exercise and strengthening it needs, it works together with other muscles to maximize stability, flexibility, and resilience, and that has been proven in multiple studies to reduce the likelihood of injury in specific contexts, such as sports.
Reformer Pilates improves mood
Pilates isn’t just good for the body. It can be good for the soul, too, with proven mental and emotional benefits. How can working your body through Pilates lead to a better mood? Like any exercise, Pilates releases endorphins into the brain. These chemicals provide a natural feeling of happiness and well-being. They improve one’s mood.
While most forms of exercise generate endorphins, Pilates in particular has been proven to improve mood in the following ways:
- Reduce anxiety
- Reduce fatigue
- Relieve symptoms of depression
You do not have to experience depression or anxiety to benefit from Pilates, however. Regular participation in this exercise routine can help anyone feel happier and calmer in their daily lives.
Reformer Pilates improves cognitive functioning
Mood isn’t the only mental and emotional benefit of Reformer Pilates. This approach to exercise can also help your brain to work more efficiently. Studies of the impact of Pilates on the brain discovered that these exercises delivered the following benefits:
- Increased blood flow to the brain
- Improve formation of neurons and neurotransmitters
- Lengthened neuron life
- Improvements in executive functioning, learning, and memory
Reformer Pilates improves motivation and focus
These brain boosting benefits also seem to make it easier for Pilates participants to enjoy less tangible qualities that lead to improved performance and learning in their everyday lives: Motivation and focus.
For example, one study looking specifically at students found that those who participated in Pilates reported a stronger attention span and improved motivation to complete their studies.
Here at In Touch NYC, we understand the many incredible benefits that Pilates offers. That is why we offer Pilates as part of our tailored treatment and exercise programs. We want to help you get on the path to health with compassionate, skilled care. Contact us today to learn more!