How Does Pilates Effect Your Posture?
It is a well known fact that if you participate in pilates regularly then it will improve your posture. So, how does it do this and what are the benefits of better posture?
- Pilates targets the muscles that are in charge of supporting our spine. Specifically these are the transverse abdominus (the deep tummy one), multifidus (the deep back one) and the pelvic floor (the underneath one). These muscles act functionally as a cylinder of support with our spine being in the middle. If these muscles are trained and strengthened then our spine will be less susceptible to excess movement and therefore injury.
- Good posture is when all the weight bearing joints such as your spine and pelvis are correctly aligned with respect to how they are supposed to be anatomically. If you increase the awareness and strength of your cylinder or core muscles then they will be able to support these joints better in their upright position. This is how your posture will improve.
- Think about how around the 3pm mark you start to feel afternoon lethargy settle in. Your shoulders automatically curve and your head falls forwards. It might be a sign that you need an afternoon snack or it could be a sign that you just dont have the endurance in your postual muscles to maintain a good position all day. A simple exercise to do now to boost the blood supply into these muscles and "wake them back up" is outlined below.
Stand with your back resting on a wall with the knees slightly bent and the feet a few steps away from the wall. Draw your shoulder blades back and down into a "V". Now tuck your chin in making a double chin but keep your head resting on the wall, dont look down... THEN - gently press your lower back into the wall as if to eliminate all the space between your back and the wall. Go gently at first as this is quite a strong stretch. Aim to hold it up to 30-40 seconds. When you step away from the wall you will feel like your spine is instantly lengthened. This is the feeling that pilates will give you and with just a few sessions you will learn how to hold a sitting and standing posture a little better which will reduce undue stress and strain on joints and ligaments.