Pilates is an incredible core body workout and is especially valuable for women as they age due to its focus on strengthening the core, which in turn protects the back. Many Pilates moves are reminiscent of yoga poses, but the focus is on the entire ab area, lower back, thighs, and glutes. Read more to find out if Pilates is right for you, and learn how acupressure can complement any Pilates routine.
What is Pilates?
The goal of Pilates is to engage the entire body. Pilates is for those who are looking to:
- Become stronger
- Improve flexibility
- Increase endurance
- Become better coordinated
- Improve balance and posture
Unlike other exercises that target these same goals, Pilates is very low-impact and causes less injuries than other strength training and cardiovascular activities found in a gym. Pilates instructors ensure their clients are utilizing proper form, as the form is the most important part of the exercises; it's definitely not about pushing yourself to gain a certain amount of reps, for example.
Some exercises in Pilates are designed to increase strength in one part of the body while simultaneously stretching another area. The mind is also an essential part of the Pilates process; each exercise takes incredible concentration on form, breathing, and technique.
A popular Pilates exercise is 'rolling like a ball.' As you bring your knees to your chest, you'll slowly roll backwards and back up again. Try it: It's not easy! It takes incredible coordination and balance to pull off a seemingly simple move.
Benefits of Pilates
There are many benefits to Pilates, particularly in the areas of coordination, strength, and balance:
- Mind-Body Workout. Pilates offers the opportunity to concentrate on the movements to ensure alignment and smooth breathing, allowing participants to become more knowledgeable about their bodies while working out.
- Flat Abs and Strong Back. As women age, and especially after having children, their core takes a big hit in terms of lack of strength. Pilates can give that back by strengthening the muscles in the abdomen and back for better posture and even losing the 'pooch' many women experience after childbirth.
- Lean Muscle Look. Pilates is also great for every muscle in the body. For those looking for lean muscles rather than bulk, Pilates can help you achieve greater mobility in the joints and improved muscle strength in the legs, back, glutes, and abs.
Acupressure and Pilates
Acupressure is an ancient Chinese technique that produces pressure on specific areas of the body. As a result, the body can heal itself through increased blood flow and tension relief. It also stimulates the body's 'chi', which enhances the flow of energy throughout the body.
As the body is stretched, elongated, and strengthened through Pilates, an acupressure session immediately following can enhance those results. Any aches, pains, and tension within the muscles can be alleviated through acupressure. This happens in two ways:
- Local Point Manipulation. This is when acupressure is applied directly to an area that is stiff or painful. The pressure can alleviate the issues and encourages blood flow to the affected area.
- Trigger Point Manipulation. Another way to target pain or tension is to apply acupressure on a trigger point that tells the body what it needs. This is especially useful if the affected area is just too painful to manipulate.
The Q-Flex acupressure device makes it easy to apply acupressure at home, or it can easily be transported to the Pilates studio and used right after a session. Acupressure will enhance the Pilates session to further encourage blood circulation and improve overall health and well-being.