Tuesday, February 10, 2015

How Pilates Can Help the Disabled

Pilates is a form of about five hundred exercises that Joseph Pilates publicized. This form of exercise was inspired by calisthenics, yoga and ballet.  These exercises work to improve full-body flexibility, strength, and balance, with a strong focus on the core muscles.

Pilates is not only a great physical experience that is designed to strengthen the body and the muscles of the core, it also focuses on proper breathing.  Good breathing will promote better blood flow in the body, and improve circulation and immune function.

Curso de Instructor de Pilates
Pilates instructor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Since the 1920’s when Joseph Pilates first invented these exercises to help injured athletes, dancers and later war veterans, Pilates has been adapted to help people of all ages and fitness levels, and it often works very well to help people with various physical disabilities gain strength and flexibility, and sometimes even improve their physical condition.

Pilates is a non-aerobic form of exercise that will help strengthen your body, as well as your concentration and focus.  The movements are meant to be a lower impact form of exercise and focus your on the perfection of each movement instead of how many reps you do. 

The Pilates exercises you learn will give you better flexibility and increase your muscle strength.  You will especially find that you gain better abdominal strength and lower back strength, as well as help for your hips and butt. 

Another benefit of Pilates is that it balances the body and the muscle strength on both sides of the body and gives you more control of the back, arms and legs. Another important advantage is that you will improve your stabilization of the spine, which gives greater awareness of posture and improved physical coordination and balance.

Pilates can help you strengthen the back, shoulders and neck too.  Many doctors have found that Pilates can help rehabilitate people with joint and spine injuries. However, the exercises need to be done correctly in order to reap the benefits and prevent injury. Seeking the guidance of a certified Pilates instructor when starting out is recommended - especially if you have a physical disability.

And while Pilates is a very low impact form of exercise, it is still important that if you have a pre-existing medical condition that you talk to your doctor first.

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