The Science of Pilates: Why It’s Beneficial for Midlife Women
Pilates isn't just a popular fitness trend. Beneath the lycra clad dancer-esque physiques and precise movements lies a foundation, developed 100 years ago, and now backed by science. It's this scientific underpinning that makes Pilates particularly beneficial, especially for midlife women. As we at Raise Pilates investigate the world of core strength, flexibility, and posture, we invite you to explore the evidence-based wonders of Pilates.
A Brief Overview: The Science of Movement
At its core, Pilates is about controlled movement. After all, Joseph Pilates didn’t name the method ‘Pilates’. He called it "Contrology", the study of control. It focuses on understanding the body's mechanics, ensuring that each exercise enhances muscle strength and flexibility without causing undue stress.
1. Core Strength & Stability
Central to Pilates is the strengthening of the 'powerhouse' or core muscles: the abdominals, back, and pelvic floor. The core is like the body's foundation, providing stability and alignment.
Scientific Insight: Research indicates that core stability exercises, like Pilates, can reduce chronic lower back pain. By enhancing the strength and endurance of these muscles, the spine is better supported, leading to improved posture and reduced discomfort.
2. Flexibility & Muscle Tone
Pilates doesn’t just focus on strength; it beautifully combines it with flexibility. Scientific Insight: Studies show that as we age, our muscles tend to shorten and lose flexibility. Evidence has shown to help strength and flexibility. Regular Pilates practice helps elongate these muscles, improving overall flexibility and reducing the risk of injuries.
3. Enhanced Lung Capacity & Circulation
The breath work in Pilates is no afterthought. Mr Pilates was adamant that the breathing is an essential part of the method. By emphasising diaphragmatic breathing, it enhances lung capacity and oxygenates the blood which also aids anxiety and stress relief.
Scientific Insight: Deep breathing techniques have been shown to reduce the body's stress responses. For midlife women navigating hormonal shifts, such controlled breathing can significantly aid in stress management.
4. Bone Density Preservation
Weight-bearing exercises, such as those in Pilates, play a crucial role in maintaining bone density. Even without weights, our body weight is perfect for building bone and as we progress, the addition of weights and higher impact Pilates exercises can be added into the program.
Scientific Insight: Research suggests that consistent weight-bearing exercises can combat the natural decline of bone density as we age, particularly vital for midlife women who are more prone to osteoporosis.
Raise Pilates: Where Science Meets Success.
At Raise Pilates, we pride ourselves on combining the enjoyment and fun of our classes with the rigour of scientific understanding. Every movement, every breath, and every posture is backed by evidence-based practices.
While Pilates is often seen as graceful and simple movements, it's also a method backed by scientific evidence understanding the intricacies of the human body. For those of us who are in the midst of the unique challenges of the perimenopause and beyond you can find support and strength in the science-backed benefits of Pilates.
Whether you've been practising for a while, or just embarking on your Pilates journey, we at Raise Pilates are here to guide, support, and share in the array of benefits of this transformative practice.
If you would like to give Pilates a try, Raise Pilates, based in Kingston, Surrey, offers specialist Pilates one to one, online and in person. We design bespoke Pilates programs for you to help you feel better in body AND mind as you navigate your perimenopause and beyond.