I talk a lot about functionality with my clients. While it's true that many of my clients come in with specific goals in mind, say toning for a wedding day or additional training to amplify sports performance, Pilates is perfect for improving or maintaining a body's daily functioning needs by having a strong core. Have you ever noticed that after a good core workout even the smallest tasks show you just how much you use your abdominal muscles? I've even noticed turning my steering wheel uses my abs!
Now, when I talk about a strong core, I'm not talking about a defined six pack. I am talking specifically about the abdominals as a whole, well-functioning unit. There are many definitions of core depending on who you talk to. When I say core I am talking about the several, deep layers of the abdominal muscles, obliques, pelvic floor, and back muscles. All of these muscles play a vital role in body alignment and function. Pilates is good for the core because the exercises help to isolate and strengthen each individual muscle from the inside out.
What are the benefits to having a strong, stable core? This list could be endless, but we'll hit the big ones:
Better posture. When your core is strong and stable, you will sit and stand taller because the transverse abdominals (the deep muscles that are attached to your spine) are working to fully support the spine.
Reduced back pain. If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting at a desk, a strong core will help keep your muscles, joints, and bones aligned. No more slouching! (In fact, slouching will not be as easy once you have a strong core, as you'll have trained your body to align properly and to keep your muscles engaged.)
Stability. Whether you're lifting your stout toddler or a washing machine, the core helps stabilize your whole body and assists to initiate movement properly.
Easier breathing. With proper posture, even your organs settle into proper position which creates more room to breathe. Combine proper posture with stronger muscles and you'll breathe deeper with less effort. I help all of my clients focus on proper breathing during classes.
Slimmer waist. Yes, slimmer! In addition to good posture, Pilates helps teach you to draw your core into your spine, which will help slim your waistline.
With dedicated Pilates work, your whole body will function better and you'll feel better during your day to day and sports activities! Like Joseph Pilates said:
"You'll feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty sessions,
and have a completely new body in thirty sessions."