Mental health has become an increasing concern during the Covid – 19 Pandemic. There has never been a more important time to look after our mental health.
Research suggests that Pilates has a wide range of mental health benefits as well as all the benefits to the body such as improved strength, mobility and flexibility, as well reducing back pain, joint pain and injury.
Breath is one of the most powerful tools for calming the mind and is also an important part of the Pilates method.
Each Pilates movement is synchronised with a breath pattern. This helps to increase the effectiveness of that particular movement.
As in mindfulness the breath gives us a focus and stops our minds from wondering, taking our focus inwards, much like meditation.
This helps us to become more present and in the moment which can alleviate depression and anxiety. As Lao Tzu once said “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present”
Pilates is also great for reducing stress. Exercise naturally releases endorphins which are natural chemicals in the body that give us a natural high. Endorphins also help to diminish the perception of pain. Pilates can also improve our stress response helping us to cope with stress more efficiently.
Pilates helps promote relaxation and when we relax our nervous system starts to calm and recover, reducing stress and anxiety.
The slow, controlled, fluid nature of the Pilates movements helps us to relax as we move. This can reduce the tightness and tension in the muscles, caused by stress. The movements can help us to slow down and become aware of how we move, allowing us to intentionally let go of any held tension and sending a signal to the brain that it’s ok to relax.
Pilates helps to strengthen any muscular or postural weaknesses in the body allowing us to move more freely and reduce aches and pain. When we live with Pain particularly Chronic pain, our mental health often suffers too. If we can reduce the pain we experience then we reduce the chances of being effected mentally also.
All in all Pilates is great for the mind and body. Many of our clients have reaped the benefits of both physically and mentally and for them Pilates is a huge part of their life.
Nicole is the Founder and Co – Owner of Nu You Pilates Studio, an award winning Pilates and wellness studio in Hertford, Hertfordshire. Nu You Pilates provide Pilates classes specialising in chronic pain and injury as well as Reformer Pilates small group sessions and private tuition.