Joseph Pilates once said, “If your spine is stiff at 30, you are old. If it is flexible at 60, you are young.”
The exercise regimen he created that has persevered in efficacy and popularity for over a century continues to keep its participants young and healthy in mind and body. Why is Pilates so effective at combating age?
As Joe said, we are as young as our spine. If you keep your spine young and healthy, you will be young and healthy. The Pilates regimen addresses the health of the spine by strengthening the muscles closest to it, creating both support and flexibility for this most important of structures. These core muscles provide a healthy amount of tug and pull on the bones, creating bone density, as well as supporting the major organs, providing both space and support for better organ function. A strong and connected core means a tall spine, strong bones, and happy organs.
Pilates is safe for people of all fitness levels and goals. By design, it can be modified and progressed to meet the unique needs and goals of every client, no matter their age.
Pilates builds more than just muscle strength. It builds a system of strength by challenging the body’s neuromuscular system. This means that not only will you build muscle mass, but you will improve your coordination and control. Pilates demands your conscious awareness and concentration, which creates a better and more responsive communication system in your body that works to prevent accidents and injuries even after you have left the Pilates studio.
Such intense concentration also provides stress relief. It is very difficult to think about anything else while doing Pilates. Thus, every Pilates session is a 1-hour vacation from whatever is on your mind. In addition, the principles of breathing in Pilates directly address the mechanisms of stress in the body. Furthermore, better breathing promotes better blood flow throughout the body, which delivers nutrients to our joints.
Speaking of joints, Pilates creates a balanced strength in the body by equally working the front and the back—of the entire body as well as at each joint. This healthy tug-a-war results in stable, healthy joints that can take the demands of gravity in stride as well as long and strong muscles that can contract and elongate as needed without stiffness, wear, or tear.
Can Pilates help you fight the effects of age? Absolutely! With a healthy spine, gravity-defying core muscles, a strong neuromuscular system, and spring-like joints all fueled by powerful and stress-fighting breathing, you’ll feel younger and younger with every Pilates session!