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Cough, Cough, Sniffle: How Can Pilates Help Boost My Immunity?

By On October 12, 2018 · Leave a Comment

Within a week’s time, no less than half a dozen persons close to me came down with a moderate cold. It seems like cold-and-flu season is starting with a bang heart pulsethis year and it has its eye on me! Thankfully I have not caught anything yet, and I will do my best to keep it that way. I’m also thankful that, as it turns out, one of my favorite habits—Pilates—will help me with that goal!

It seems like a no-brainer to me that Pilates helps boost the immune system since Pilates is good for you. And if something is good for you, it’s going to have a beneficial effect on your immune system. While this is true yet vague, the direct connection between Pilates and an improved immune system is much more specific and based in solid medical science. Let’s discuss.

Dumping the Trash: The Body’s Waste Removal System
Our lymphatic system plays a central role in our immune system. It is how our body removes waste. Lymph, the fluid in the body that holds the body’s cellular waste and toxins, is carried by the lymphatic system to specific ducts in the body that are responsible for removing the toxins. After being cleansed, the fluid is returned to the bloodstream.

Obviously the better our lymphatic system functions, the better the rest of the immune system works. The lymphatic system works near and parallel to the cardiovascular system, but it does not have its own pump. The only way the toxin-filled lymph is pumped back to its cleansing ducts is through our breathing and muscular engagement.

lungs and breathPilates’s main principles are diaphragmic breathing and controlled, purposeful contraction and extension of muscles. As a result, with each Pilates workout, you are taking out the trash, so to speak.

(For more incredibly interesting details about Pilates and the lymphatic system, read this article, which I found delightful!)

By emphasizing proper and deep breathing, Pilates guides your body into a restful “rest and digest” mode known as the parasympathetic nervous system, which results in stress relief and a better-functioning respiratory system. Add on to that list of benefits a better-functioning lymphatic system, and it is no wonder that Joseph Pilates described breathing as the “internal shower of the body.” So breathe well and deep, and do Pilates this cold-and-flu season to stay healthy!

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