Pilates is an exercise regime that has gone from strength to strength since it was pioneered by Joseph Pilates in the 1920’s. It has taken a leading position in most parts of the world as it’s benefits have become more widely known and experienced.
It is based on being in control of the body’s muscles at all times. Through performing the exercises, it is possible to improve flexibility, lengthen and strengthen muscles and gain an overall improved appearance and posture. The exercises require that the spine and pelvis to be aligned correctly while breathing properly. This results in stress relief and an improved blood oxygen level. It is a form of exercise that trains your body and mind on how to be strong, flexible, and balanced. It is done through a series of movements and change in positions which raise your awareness on your body’s strength and coordination abilities. Deep breathing and relaxation techniques during the exercise enhance this awareness .These patterns of movement are focused on your abdominals, back muscles and pelvic floor. These muscles are key to balance, good posture and strength. They help prevent incontinence and provide support for your pelvis and back.
Due to the non-impact style of Pilates, and with its core goals, it’s particularly well suited to ladies who are expecting.
Being pregnant is one of the major life events that is extremely rewarding. However, there are some challenges that need to be overcome. One of these is related to the hormones released during pregnancy. Relaxing is one great way to deal with these hormones and an even better way is to relax through pilates. Creating a release and enabling muscles to be more mobile in preparation for childbirth. Pilates offers a support system to this natural mechanism – but only if it’s done in the right way.
Keeping the abdominal muscles strong will help the mother regain her shape after birth, but it will also support the foetus as it grows. In addition, it will decrease lumbar compression and reduce the pressure felt in the pelvic area. Pilates enables the mother to keep a good posture to reduce any pain felt during the delivery – thus making it easier.
If you are pregnant, then before introducing a new exercise technique you should consult with your doctor or a midwife to ensure that they are happy with you taking up the exercise. It is also important to consult regularly with a medical expert throughout the pregnancy.
For most women, Pilates will be highly beneficial, but it’s always important to ensure that your particular situation is suited to it, before starting. You can do this by finding a specialised pre-natal Pilates class or by hiring a qualified instructor who is licensed to teach Pilates. It is advised that you do not attempt to do Pilates without seeking medical advice first.
These exercises that are not particularly arduous to complete, but you should still take it easy. Energy levels fluctuate throughout pregnancy and you don’t want to do too much.
Keep the following considerations in mind: – do not over-exert the abdominal muscles nor over stretch muscles – be mindful of the lower back which is at a greater risk of straining due to the weight of the foetus – avoid any Pilates exercises that involve lying on your back.
Here are some major benefits Pilates can provide you:
1. Pilates targets the abdominal and pelvic muscles; it deals with the stresss in your back and prepares the pelvis for the positioning of the baby.
2. Pilates helps strengthen the transversus abdominis and helps your prepare for breathing through pregnancy.
3. Pilates training encourages lateral breathing which works for rib-cage mobility when the baby is in high position during the third trimester.
4. Pilates training increases overall body strength through toning your muscles, breathing more intentionally, stretching your body and working towards the adequate circulation of blood and oxygen.
5. Slow, controlled movements in every Pilates workout helps prevent inflammation and swelling around your joints.
6. Pilates exercises also reduces stress and fatigue with each stage of the baby’s growth.
Integrated into all Pilates sessions is also legwork and upper body routines so that your every session is a full-body integration workout. Pilates can transform your pregnancy and fulfill your need for the knowledge and the skill towards a more comfortable, rewarding and wonderful experience in pregnancy.