Fight the Winter Blues with the Power of Pilates
The winter blues are a real thing, and for many people, the start of the new year can bring feelings of sadness, depression, and a lack of motivation. Last Monday saw the oft coined “Blue Monday” deemed to be the most depressing day of the year due to the darkness, cold, distance to and from any holiday as well as financial stress and worries. Add on top of that, expectations around resolutions and what we ‘should’ be cutting back on and as well as starting, there is little surprise that according to NHS Scotland, around 2 million Brits suffer winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
So how can we counteract these feelings? With Pilates; it is an excellent form of exercise to help with the January blues and here are 6 reasons why!
Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on strengthening the core, improving flexibility, and increasing overall body awareness which makes it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
One of the benefits of Pilates is that it helps to release endorphins, which are the body's natural feel-good chemicals. When we exercise, our brain releases endorphins, which can help to boost our mood and reduce feelings of sadness and depression. Pilates is a great way to release these endorphins, and it can help to improve our overall mental well-being. A study looking at the effect of Pilates on mental health outcomes saw significant large improvements in symptoms of depression and anxiety, and feelings of energy and fatigue
A perhaps surprising aspect of Pilates is the improvement it brings to our posture and alignment as poor posture can contribute to feelings of sadness and depression, and can also lead to physical discomfort and pain. Pilates helps to correct our posture and alignment, and gives us the tools to find and rectify bad posture habits which you can then take ownership of, and make changes.
Pilates is known as an effective exercise for stress relief. The focus on breathing and relaxation during Pilates can help to reduce stress levels, and it can also help to improve our overall sense of well-being. ”A body free from nervous tension and fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well balanced mind, fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living” In a study published in 2020, Pilates was found to improve male subjects’ mood state responses.
In addition, Pilates is a great form of exercise for people who are looking to improve their overall fitness levels. It is a low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the joints, and it can help to improve our overall strength, flexibility, and balance. Take a look ata previous post I wrote outlining why Pilates is such a good beginner’s exercise; perhaps the stepping stone to being more active.
Practicing Pilates has been proven to increase your motivation levels! What’s not to love about that? A study researching the impact of Pilates on anxiety, attention, motivation and cognitive function found that motivation was absolutely improved with Pilates. The reasons cited include improvements in total mood, increased vitality and energy and the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs, for example, competence, autonomy, and relatedness.
Overall, Pilates is a great way to help combat the January blues. It can help to boost our mood, improve our posture and alignment, reduce stress levels, and improve our overall fitness levels and our motivation. So, if you're feeling a little down this winter, consider giving Pilates a try. Online and face to face group Pilates in Kingston & Surbiton, as well as one to ones are available…It might just be the boost you need to get through to spring.
The effects of pilates on mental health outcomes: A meta-analysis of controlled trials
Karl M.FlemingaMatthew P.Herring Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, IrelandHealth Research Institute, University of Limerick 2017
Fleming, K. M. “Acute effects of Pilates on mood states among young adult males.” PubMed, 2020, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32147061/
Impact of Pilates on Anxiety Attention, Motivation, Cognitive function and Achievement of Students: Structural Modeling,
Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 186, 2015