This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard of Pilates.
It’s a popular form of exercise that’s been around for more than a hundred years now.
Pilates works for anyone, no matter your age, gender, size, ability, or fitness level.
Doctors often even recommend Pilates as a form of exercise because of all the health benefits it has for your body.
What you might not know, though, is that Pilates is also an excellent tool for injury rehabilitation.
Here at Capitol Physical Therapy, our physical therapist Maya Drummond is trained in Pilates as part of our sports injury physical therapy rehab clinic in Washington DC services.
So what exactly can Pilates do for you, and how is it used in a rehabilitation setting?
Let’s take a look and find out.
What Is Reformer Pilates?
Reformer Pilates is a type of Pilates that uses a machine, called a reformer.
A reformer machine has a foot bar, pulleys, carriage, and springs with varying tensions.
All of these can be adjusted to suit your personal needs.
Essentially, instead of doing Pilates on a yoga mat, you use the reformer machine.
This adds things like resistance to your Pilates exercises while maintaining its low impact nature.
In fact, if you’re using Pilates as a rehabilitation tool, using a reformer is more comfortable on the joints and overall a better option that traditional Pilates on a mat, and has the added benefit of providing biofeedback.
What Does Pilates Do For Your Body?
While Pilates may seem like just another workout style, it focuses on more than just your body’s fitness.
Pilates teaches you to focus on the connection between your mind and body.
It does so through the following principles:
- Balanced muscle development
- Rhythm and flow
- Whole body movement
But there are also some more specific benefits to Pilates.
Let’s take a look at a few.
1. Pilates Can Improve Your Posture
Pilates focuses on the alignment of your full body and balancing your opposing muscles.
When your muscles are strong and balanced, you’ll have more strength in your postural muscles.
This makes Pilates a useful addition to a physical therapy posture exercise routine.
You’ll also be able to develop better awareness of your body’s alignment, which will naturally improve your posture.
2. Pilates Can Reduce Back Pain
Pilates can reduce lower back pain through the strengthening of the muscles in your abdomen, hips, and pelvic floor.
Both these sets of muscles are important in strengthening and stabilizing your back, which can work as a natural pain management solution for some conditions.
3. Pilates Is A Great Mind Body Exercise
Practicing Pilates enhances your mind’s awareness of your body.
When you do Pilates, you learn to turn your attention inward and focus on the sensations you feel in your body.
This isn’t just physical sensations, either.
Pilates can help you be more aware of your emotions and environment along with your feelings of comfort or pain in your body.
4. Pilates Can Improve Flexibility
At its core, Pilates is usually a combination of strength and stretching.
This combination improves your body’s flexibility.
Flexibility is also a key component of your mobility, which is the range of motion you have in your joints.
5. Pilates Can Help You Avoid Injury
A core component of Pilates is the balancing of the muscles in your body.
This means that you don’t have muscles that are too weak and loose or that are too tight and rigid.
Muscles of either type can make your body more susceptible to becoming injured.
That’s particularly the case for people who are prone to falling, which physical therapy can also help prevent.
6. Pilates Can Help You Sleep Better
Pilates may actually help you sleep better.
This is especially true for people 40 years old or younger.
It’s partially because one cause of insomnia is muscle tension, and Pilates can help relieve that tension, improving your sleeping position.
More studies are needed to better understand how this works, however.
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7. Pilates Can Improve Your Core Strength
Pilates emphasizes your core, which is the center of your body from which all your movement originates.
When your core is strong, the rest of your body is also stronger and more stabilized.
Core strength is also key in decreasing back and hip pain and pelvic floor dysfunction.
8. Pilates Can Help Reduce Stress
While it’s true that most exercise can help reduce stress, Pilates is also unique in how it does this.
Because Pilates helps you practice awareness of your body, you become more in tune with how you’re feeling.
When you’re stressed, it can trigger your fight or flight response.
The tools you learn in Pilates, like inward focus and breathing strategies, can actually help take you out of that state.
Over time, this can lead to an overall decrease in stress.
9. Pilates Can Improve Your Balance
Balance is important for just about everything you do, from walking to reaching for something on a high shelf.
Pilates focuses on alignment and whole body exercises, which helps improve your balance through strengthening your core muscles.
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10. Pilates Can Leave You Energized
One of Pilates’ primary focuses is on breathing techniques.
This focus on breath during exercise can actually stimulate oxygen flow, blood circulation, and hormones that help you feel good.
In addition, because Pilates is a low impact type of exercise, you’re unlikely to feel fatigued after.
How Can Pilates Help With Injury Rehabilitation?
One of the more common reasons that many people experience injuries or pain is due to imbalance in muscle weakness and tension.
This can cause the muscles you don’t engage frequently to become sore.
You might feel this in your back, neck, and shoulders if you do a lot of desk work.
Pilates helps build your core strength, flexibility, and muscle balance to improve injuries and decrease the likelihood of repeated injuries.
It can also be modified for your type of injury to decrease stress on the muscles that surround your injury.
However, if you’re interested in Pilates for injury rehabilitation, it’s important to make sure you’re receiving instruction from a physical therapist near me.
Not all Pilates instructors are physical therapists and don’t have the training or skills necessary to accommodate for injury or build up strength to an injured area.
Book Your Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy Today
If you’re interested in exploring Pilates for injury rehabilitation, we can help.
Book your appointment with Capitol Physical Therapy today.
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005
9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772
Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC