What is Pilates good for, anyway? Nicole Gibson, a Pilates instructor at FFC Union Station, helps to answer that question by breaking down 3 articles that cover 3 different situations where Pilates can come in handy, plus gives her thoughts on each and why you might consider Pilates in each situation.
Pilates For Swimming
Brief summary: the article pulls some perspective from Olympic gold medalists and how Pilates is a major contributor to improved/injury free performance, creating a faster, safer swim.
Thoughts: I believe this article helps make Pilates more relatable. In tying such a common hobby as swimming to Pilates (while going in-depth on its important principles) this article emphasizes how Pilates is complimentary to all forms of training. I especially appreciated how the article included breath and its importance to keeping rhythm and expanding lung capacity.
In regards to Pilates, the Fletcher Breath technique is a diaphragmatic breath that oxygenates the body and, depending on the piece of movement, is utilized to expand the chest and thorax, initiate abdominal contraction, in addition to simply release all bodily tension. Outside of a Pilates studio setting, the Fletcher Breath technique can be used to awaken and energize or, conversely, to calm and center the mind and body. Overall, this is a quick and interesting read that shines some more light on the benefits of Pilates for every person’s body.
Pilates To Improve Bone Health
Brief summary: This article dives deep into our bone health and what research has found to be the best for improving, and maintaining, good bone health. Pilates is one of those ways. Due to its resistance-based method, the bones are ‘loaded’, but in a safe yet challenging way. Strength and resistance training, such as Pilates, has benefits that aerobic, weight-bearing exercises cannot offer.
The resistance springs in Pilates load the bones in many different directions, which can be extremely helpful with stability and balance. This article also touches on how our diets can affect our bone health. We always want to make sure we are eating our vegetables, getting plenty of protein, consuming calcium daily, and incorporating foods high in magnesium, zinc, and Omega-3 fats. People who adjust their diet to include all of the above show to have higher bone density. Healthy bones = longevity!
Thoughts: This article shares great insight on the ways different workouts impact our bones. Our bones are so important in keeping us upright and moving. With the resistance approach of Pilates, we are able to lengthen the muscles around the bones to ensure proper alignment, mobility and functionality, all while enhancing strength and stability. Pilates also focuses on the movements of our hips, spine, and wrists, which are the most likely to fracture. Pilates in general is helpful for stability, improving balance, preventing falls, and loading the bones, but Fletcher Pilates (the style referenced in this article) really takes it to the next level with progressing the body through movements from lying down to sitting to standing, and ultimately, to moving across the room. I stand by the fact the Pilates is good for all bodies and can change the way you live your life for the better. There are countless benefits; bone health is just one of them!
Pilates For When You’re Over 50
Brief summary: Feeling healthy and strong feels good! And Pilates has a lot of benefits to give you that feeling. Some benefits include lower blood pressure, back injury prevention and a great mind-body routine. Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates Method, created ‘Contrology’, and described it as “the conscious control of all muscular movements in the body.”
Thoughts: This article is a great way to encourage those that think “I’m too old for that” or “I’m not in good enough shape to do that”. I have had countless people, young and older, tell me they can’t do Pilates because they aren’t flexible enough or strong enough. That’s crazy! Pilates was created to improve those aspects of your well-being. Pilates is not about how much range of motion your muscles and joints allow; rather it is about finding conscious control of all muscular movements. As a matter of fact, that is exactly how Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates Method, described it. Wonderful benefits and byproducts of practicing this work include increased flexibility, stronger and more stable muscles, and weight loss. Therefore, even if you aren’t as flexible as you think you need to be to do Pilates, doing Pilates will make you more flexible!
About Fletcher Pilates
Please note: some of these articles focus on a style of Pilates called Fletcher Pilates – which is what I am trained in – Ron Fletcher was one of the 5 first generation teachers who studied this work under Joseph Pilates. Ron Fletcher also worked very closely with Martha Graham, therefore took Joe’s movement mechanics, principles, and intentions and furthered explored them through a dancer’s eye. Fletcher Pilates® includes emphasis on a percussive breath as well as seamless transitions between movements in order to achieve a flowing motion and improve endurance. I earned my certification through this Fletcher studio/school, so I am very familiar with any specific or unique tie to the Fletcher work.
Post curated/written by FFC Pilates instructor Nicole Gibson.
Nicole is a PMA-certified Pilates instructor at FFC Union Station She is from Hinsdale, IL and comes from a dance background. Nicole came to FFC to share her love and knowledge of Pilates and to provide quality, low-impact movements to enhance strength, flexibility, stability, coordination, and mobility throughout the entire body.
Overall, her goal is to have her clients feeling good and be able to do anything they set their minds to. Want to learn more about the benefits of Pilates or set up a complimentary session with her? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org!