Created in the 1920s, Pilates has since gone on to become one of the most popular exercise regimens in the world. In fact, it is widely touted by many celebrities as their go-to programme for improving strength, toning muscles, and enhancing posture. When it reached the public, people were quick to see why it is preferred by so many of their fitness inspirations and today, it enjoys an established reputation of helping anyone lose weight effectively and keep it off successfully. But did you know that it can also play a positive and important role for your mental health? Here are some of the most significant ways by which Pilates can help you take care of the real estate inside your head.
Promotion of Mindfulness
Many mental health practices spotlight the link between proper breathing and mental stability, and for many good reasons. Breath is considered to be one of the most effective calming tools, and proper control of it has been shown to alleviate anxiety and improve mood. In Pilates, breathing is one of the 8 principles established by its founder, Joseph Pilates. In fact, breathing is a critical part of every Pilates class. Sessions are designed to teach students the right breathing pattern that will make full use of the benefits of the exercise, deliver sufficient oxygen to the muscles, and encourage mindfulness.
Mindfulness, when activated, is responsible for helping people focus on what they are doing, instead of wasting mental energy in things that do not require their immediate attention. When you are mindful during a Pilates class, for instance, you can better appreciate the exercises that you are doing, and thereby harness their maximum benefits. It also helps you reconnect to your body, and it promotes 'sensory awareness', which experts have associated with stress reduction, relaxation, and mood improvement. For multiple niche you can go to GearSpieOfficial
Management and Reduction of Stress
Speaking of stress reduction, Pilates is one good way to successfully manage it. First off, it is an intense exercise program, and exercise is known to help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body while releasing "happy hormones" such as endorphins. Additionally, a study on the neural pathways that direct 'fight or flight' responses have found that the postural muscles play a role in the way that we handle reacts to stimuli. Pilates' rotational movements such as the waist twist and hip rolls are believed to be helpful in lowering stress levels.
If you do Pilates with a group, you have an even higher shot at managing your cortisol. According to the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, exercising as a part of a group can improve well-being by 26%, compared to exercising alone. This could be attributed to the fact that when you're with a group, you are more likely to meet friends, talk, laugh and have more positive dynamics with your exercise routine.
Lastly, Pilates can help you feel better about your body, which can help your mental health. Stress does not only weigh heavy on our brains, it can also seep into our muscles and cause aches and pains. Exercising helps release built-up tension in your muscles, reinstate balance, and bring back mobility.
Improvement of Memory and Brain Training
Studies have shown that exercise helps improve the functioning of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that facilitates memory, and it is also instrumental to neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, and the protection of existing brain cells. As such, it is known to be effective in helping improve memory, reducing risks for Alzheimer's disease, and easing problems with learning and problem-solving.
Not all exercises, though, are as effective as Pilates at harnessing these benefits. Some exercises, such as running on a treadmill, require the activation of your muscles but do not engage the brain. This does not only detract from the experience, it can also pose injury risks. Pilates, on the other hand, awakens both the mind and the body, through its plethora of tricks and routines. Additionally, Pilates makes use of motions that aim at coordination, which can reinforce neuromuscular pathways in the body and improve communication between your brain and your muscles.
Potential Treatment of Depression and Anxiety
Finally, Pilates may be able to help people who are suffering from depression and anxiety. All forms of exercise can be effective at this and, in fact, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists recommend the inclusion of exercise as an essential component in recovery options from mental illnesses. Pilates, for its part, can not only boost levels of happy hormones such as serotonin and endorphins in the brain; it can also expose practitioners to a like-minded community that can help improve their social skills, open gateways of communication between people, inspire positive changes, and foster good relationships. All these can greatly help those who are actively seeking a self-care routine that can help them cope with depression or anxiety.
Getting Started with Pilates
If you're interested in experiencing the wondrous ways by which Pilates can improve your physical and mental well-being, you will be pleased to know that there are plenty of classes that you can choose from, so that you can get started. To make the most out of them, consider these tips.
Choose a good instructor and studio. Pilates is designed to help the body reap maximum potential rewards, with minimal effort. However, these rewards are hinged on the proper execution of techniques, not only so that you may make full use of the exercise, but also because it is important to prevent injuries. For these reasons, it is essential that you choose an instructor and a studio that can give you the right guidance that you need, as you start your journey.
When choosing, do not hesitate to compare options and attend trial classes before finalizing your decision. These will help you feel more comfortable about Pilates, learn your preferences, and choose that which makes you feel the most comfortable.
Commit to be consistent. Once you have started, a key thing to remember is to persevere at it. Fitness is not a one-month enrollment that expires, it is an ongoing commitment that requires consistency. You don't need to show up at your studio every day, but try to establish a routine that does not cut into your schedule, while still motivating you to work out.
Even better, you may bring Pilates into your home. There are plenty of Pilates machines that you can set up in your own space, and they are widely available at different capacities, costs, and functionality. Just make sure that you spend enough time looking into the best potential equipment for your specific needs.
Enjoy your journey. Lastly, enjoy. Do everything at your own pace, and savor every moment of learning.
Published by Joseph Nicholls