I hear all the time Pilates being called a workout or being compared to yoga. While your workouts and yoga are both great things, Pilates is neither of those. We define Pilates as “a system of exercises using special apparatus, designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness.” This definition explains exactly what you should be getting out of your Pilates session. 

When thinking about the definition of Pilates, the key component that stands out to me the most is the one regarding posture. The way we currently live and work and the variety of environments we engage in has greatly impacted our posture in various ways. We spend most of our days compressing our spine by sitting at our desk, being on our laptops, phones, I-pads, and etc. and relaxing on the couch. Our bodies inherent genetics are to move, and lately, we have been depriving them of movement. Not only does Pilates strengthen your body, but it really works on decompressing your spine which is what our bodies are craving! 

Did you know that if we improve our posture, when we head to the gym for our usual workouts, we will actually build muscles faster? As I know that most of us are impatient to see results from our time at the gym, if we work on first correcting your posture, you will get the added bonus of seeing faster and better results in the gym. Our posture is held together by tiny little muscles and when those tiny muscles are weak, overworked, too tight, or too flexible, that’s when our posture really starts to suffer and decline. Our daily habits put stress on our posture muscles so it’s incredibly important for us to take time for our bodies and work on those little muscles to improve our spine health. 

Let me give you an example of the importance of spine and posture health. In the past couple of months, I have been doing a lot of work from home (like all of us) which means a lot of time is spent on my laptop. I don’t have the best chair to sit on when I work so this causes me to roll my shoulders forward toward the computer and collapse in my lower back. As such, I have a large hunch in my back when I am working on my computer. If I continue to work from home and sit like this day in and day out, my spine is going to mold into what I call this “humpback” shape, because that is how my muscles are being trained to hold my spine. And this will start to cause all sorts of issues. To reverse this habit, I go to Pilates to help open my chest muscles, tighten up the muscles behind my shoulders, and strengthen my lower belly. This reverse work will cause my spine to have to stay in a correct posture and eliminate the habit of slouching. No one wants to age in the life while shrinking in posture at the same time. And while we don’t actually shrink, we do compress our spines over the years, decreasing our ability and strength to stand tall. We should be growing taller with age, not shrinking. 

Pilates is for everybody and EVERY BODY. You are never too old or too young to start Pilates and it will change your life. I truly fell in love with Pilates when I noticed my body wasn’t hurting anymore after I suffered a serious spinal injury, and my pain had disappeared. Being somewhat short in stature to begin with, it didn’t hurt that I felt taller every time I left my Pilates session. Pilates always has your “back” and is there to make sure you feel your best.