At Newcastle physiotherapy we provide one to one and one to two pilates classes at our clinic. We recommend pilates for:
- improving pelvic floor control
- clients coming back to or starting exercise for the first time
- clients with back pain as an adjunct to physiotherapy
- athletes wishing improve balance stability and movement control
- postural improvement
- physical health maintenance
Pilates is the name used to describe exercises designed to improve your body’s stability muscles and posture. We have two main types of muscle within our body’s – mobilisers and stabilisers.
Mobilisers are fast twitch, fast fatiguing, large, superficial muscles designed for fast, powerful movements such as those required in sport. The quadriceps, the main muscle group at the front of the thigh is a good example.
Stabilisers are slow twitch, slow fatiguing, smaller, deeper muscles designed to keep us upright against gravity and maintain posture. They help our ligaments to support our joints. The multifidus muscles, located between each vertebrae are an example.
In order for our body’s to function optimally, we require a synergy between the mobiliser and stabiliser muscles. If we only train our mobilisers, as many people do, we develop an imbalance where the stabilisers are unable to cope with the forces generated by the mobilisers. This in turn changes joint alignment and overall posture -poor posture inevitably leads to pain.
Pilates exercises are designed to activate and strengthen the stability muscles throughout the body. Most exercises use only your own body weight with the focus on movement, posture and breathing control. Pilates classes are also an excellent way to improve core stability. Core stability refers to the stability muscles of the spine and trunk. Evidence has shown that these muscles are extremely important in supporting our lower back during static and dynamic activities. Numerous studies have shown that low back pain can inhibit (or switch off) and cause wasting of our core stability muscles, leaving our spine without the muscular support it requires. The same studies also found that a program of core stability exercises reactivated the muscles and helped to reduce low back pain.