Like yoga, you’ve probably heard of its equally trendy cousin, Pilates. Developed in the 1920s by Joseph Pilates, Pilates involves a range of different stretches, balances and other exercises with an aim to build core strength and improve general fitness.
Participants will usually attend Pilates sessions within a calm studio space, where, like yoga, there is also an emphasis on the connection between body and mind for general wellbeing as well as physical fitness.
Tendency to hobble? Struggle to straighten up? If you're suffering from back pain, it can be hard to find a workout that works for you. Pilates has been heralded as one of the best exercises for back pain. A low impact, gentle stretching workout that will strengthen, tone and detoxify the body.
Pilates will help to improve flexibility and align your spine, taking pressure off the back and helping to relieve pain.
The movements in a Pilates class are gentle, without putting your muscles under stress, or leaving you feeling sore afterwards. It's more about exercising the deep core muscles to take the pressure off the spine. By adding more power to your core, you give the joints and soft tissues of the spine more support, reducing their work-load, as well as your pain!
The Benefits of Pilates For Back Pain...
- Strengthen “core” muscles (abs, shoulders, trunk, hips)
- Improve joint mobility to reduce back pain when bending or twisting
- Co-ordinate all muscles to work together efficiently, reducing isolated use of the back muscles.
- Increase strength, flexibility and health of weaker, smaller muscles, to reduce the need for overuse of the back.
- Reduce inflammation through gentle stretching techniques.
- Reduce stress, tension and anxiety through correct breathing methods.
- Improve circulation and lung capacity
Pilates Is Great For Treating...
- Chronic lower back pain
- Muscle strains or injuries
- Disc prolapse
- Postural pain
- Spinal surgery recovery
- Pelvic dysfunction
- Sacroiliac pain
- Low back pain throughout pregnancy
- Post natural child birth or C-Section pain
What Our Members Say
"I have been suffering from a bad back for years. I can't use the gym but I do Pilates at Village Gym once a week and swim. I've noticed an improvement in my posture and reduced pain in the lower back." (Jeff | Aberdeen Pilates regular)
"After the birth of my first child, I found that my back and shoulders were constantly tight from carrying this little bundle about. Regular pilates classes in Edinburgh have really helped loosen me up." (Anna | Edinburgh member)
"Though Pilates sounds easy, you'll know you've had a good workout. I think it's a great class for those of us that aren't into high energy dance classes or anything fast paced, but still want a decent workout. It's easy on my back but tough on the rest of me, which I love!" (Katy | Blackpool Pilates fan)
"I've been attending Village Gym Hull Pilates classes to ease the pain of my osteoarthritis. It's become much easier for me to get in and out of a sitting position without the sharp pain in my lower back. I can tell my posture is much better." (Peter | Hull member)
3 Pilates Exercises For Back Pain
The Swan Prep
This spine-strengthening posture is a great pilates pose for beginners. Lie on your front with your hands stacked on top of one another and your forehead resting on your hands. Press your hips and pelvis into the mat and lift your navel into the spine to ease lower back pain. Press the tops of your feet into the mat and slowly lift your upper body. Keep your hands glued to your forehead. Lower back down to the mat slowly.
The Shoulder Bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your arms by your sides and as you breathe in, pull your belly button inward to imprint your lower spine into the mat. Then, start to peel the spine off the mat one vertebrae at a time so that your hips also start to lift off the mat. Hold for a moment at the top, then roll down vertebra by vertebra until the hips return to the mat as you breathe out.
A great manouvre for low back pain that requires very little work from major muscle groups. Lie on your side with your legs at 45 degrees in front of you. Prop yourself up on your arm and stack your shoulders and hips into a sturdy position that won't allow you to roll over. Kick your top leg forward and back while maintaining parallel alignment of your hips.
Pain in the back? Book your pilates class and let's get you straightened out.
Even More Reasons to Give it a Go
Regardless of whether you suffer from back pain, there are many more reasons to give Pilates a go...
Anyone Can Do It
Forget the stereotypes you might be used to: Pilates isn’t just for elderly women. The exercise program is an incredibly versatile form of exercise and can be adjusted to suit all ages and fitness levels. Anyone and everyone from young athletes to busy parents can benefit from Pilates. When starting out, most people find it useful to attend a Pilates session run by a professional instructor. For those who exercise regularly, Pilates can easily be modified to match your skills level, while less experienced people can enjoy a gentler start to Pilates.
It Aids Weight Loss
Contrary to what you might think, Pilates is a full body workout. The initial focus of the regime is on building core strength and improving posture. Unlike traditional forms of strength training, Pilates targets muscles by elongating them, which builds lean body mass and develops flexibility and balance. Pilates may seem slow and gentle, but the program is actually a sure-fire way to burn calories and increase heart rate - both of which are vital for weight loss. If you’re looking to drop a few pounds and tone up in the process, Pilates is a fantastic way to get started on your weight loss journey.
It Reduces Stress
Pilates is more than just physical exercise. The emphasis on the connection between body and mind, and on breathing and centering yourself, are key elements for learning how to properly control your body’s movements. Pilates gently teaches you how to stay mentally composed in order to get the most out of your body: this helps to relieve stress and promote a calm mental state - Pilates is a great way to stay healthy in both body and mind.
You Can Do It Anywhere
You don’t always have to attend classes to enjoy all the benefits of Pilates. Life is hectic, and it can be tricky to fit in dedicated exercises sessions if it means trips to the gym. Pilates is a great option for busy people as you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Also, you don’t need lots of expensive equipment to reap the benefits of the program. Without the need for weights or any specific environment, you can do the regime anywhere, with anyone, wearing anything.
It’s A Great Form of Physical Therapy
Because Pilates is so easy to adjust to the needs of the individual, it is also a great form of physical therapy for those suffering from aches and pains or injuries. Many clinics offer Pilates as part of their physical therapy programs to help people deal with chronic neck and back pain, aid the healing of hip and knee replacements, and encourage the healing of sports injuries.
Forget what you think you know about Pilates and why not give the tried-and-tested program a go today and start enjoying a healthier and happier lifestyle.