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  • Writer's pictureSimmone Cser


Pilates is a wonderful modality to incorporate as part of a well rounded regular exercise program. Regular Pilates practice is great for joint stability and mobility, especially as we age and our connective tissues become compromised with the reduction of collagen. It is also wonderful for working on balance, particularly utilizing the spring-loaded equipment that focus on lower limb function and strength, and core/posture area of the body that maintain our upright stance. 

Pilates and bone mass density. Over time, there is not enough resistance to effect BMD. The body becomes accustomed to the load as there is a limit to resistance that can be added.

There is not enough to be able to challenge the body to reproduce 85>%1 RM for anabolic purposes. However, sedentary people coming into movement for the first time may initially benefit and have some improvement in bone mass density.

Pilates and building lean muscle. Pilates increases muscular endurance and a better control and awareness of movement. As above, there isn’t enough progressive overload to produce hypertrophy or substantial growth in muscles.

As a stand along practice, Pilates is not an effective way to encourage anabolic or building purposes within muscles. It is however ideal to aid good form when loading a movement, for example, a hip hinge or a sit to stand movement with a barbell for resistance.

Pilates and mental health. It has been shown that exercise overall plays a role in positive effects on mental health and well being. Pilates requires a good execution of the exercises, be it on the mat or on the equipment, which in turn requires focus and concentration.

Proprioception (body awareness and position in the space around us), interoception (internal sensory system) and vestibular (balance, coordination and awareness of our movement), are all emphasized during practice, initiating mindfulness, being present and being in the moment.

The deep specific breathing during movement can show a reduction in anxiety and depression sympathetic nervous system response (fight and flight), by promoting the parasympathetic nervous system response (rest and digest). The emphasis during classical practice is on the long deep breath out which can stimulate vagal tone.

Changes that controlled breath may influence are lowering blood pressure and heart rate and a reduction of stress hormones. Lets not forget the positive impact of communal movement, humans are social creatures. Moving with other people builds a sense of community and support, which has positive effects on self-esteem.

Pilates as part of a regular exercise program. Long term, a movement program that encompasses many forms of activity can assist in management of pain. Balance and strength interventions to prevent falls. Community participation for mental health and support. Look at a regular weekly exercise routine to build upon and remain active through ageing.


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