More and more healthcare professionals are turning to Pilates as an effective and lucrative adjunct to their business – helping thousands of people along the way. Here's why physical therapists are doing the same.
With over 10 million people participating in Pilates in North America, it's no wonder this popular form of exercise is being embraced by the medical and rehab communities. Healthcare professionals are applauding the wide-reaching virtues of this highly targeted approach and reaping the benefits of an enhanced business.
There are numerous reasons why professionals would choose to incorporate Pilates into their practice. Pilates puts major emphasis on balancing the muscular structure which in turn allows more focus on joint stability and mobility, and freedom of movement. It also improves postural problems, increases core strength, helps prevent injuries, enhances functional fitness as a whole, improves balance, coordination and circulation, heightens body awareness, and is low-impact on the joints.
In his time, Joseph Pilates was considered by many to be a master of rehabilitation. His approach focused on core strength, precision and control of movement. Combine that with current exercise science and you’ve got a recipe for success.
The emphasis on breathing also allows exercisers to focus their minds on what their bodies are doing. Pilates is all about using breath more effectively so we can increase awareness and focus in our every day lives. So the ultimate mind-body connection is truly effective – benefiting most people who participate at any age or life stage.
REACHING THE PT COMMUNITY
Contemporary approaches to the method today are paving the way for PTs because they consist of programming that accommodates all stages of recovery and rehabilitation. This has resulted in the inclusion of modern principles of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation. The rehab community has opened their arms to the notion of incorporating the principles of Pilates into rehab for older adults. Together, we can bridge the gap between rehab and fitness and be able to reach an immense number of individuals who otherwise would not realize their movement potential.
The basic principles of Pilates are consistent with the basic principles of Rehabilitation, working on the premise that Pilates and rehabilitation need to address the body as a whole, not just a collection of individual parts. Successful aging is the ability to function at the level an individual wishes – and requires mobility of joints as well as strength of the muscular system to propel us. The integrity of our shoulders, hips, knees and spine are all interconnected and must all be addressed when managing or preventing aches, pains and degeneration.
Pilates is gentle on the joints, focuses on suppleness and strength and can be used to address and rehabilitate specific issues with the active aging. Pilates can also be practiced for preventative measures and to stay in shape after physical therapy. It can be adapted to meet the needs and goals of individuals, and thus can be a very safe way to exercise and move the body. Pilates is both a mental and physical challenge and can be done for a lifetime.
Mind-body connection is the perfect starting point for any type of movement strategy. The concepts of breathing, pelvic and lumbar spine alignment, rib cage placement, shoulder mobility and stability, and head and neck alignment, can be applied to any movement for any diagnosis. Bringing awareness to posture may be the first step in improving fitness levels. Putting the body in a position where it moves and reacts more efficiently will take away much unwanted stress and strain. Developing proper movement patterns will also allow the body to heal in a way that reduces the likelihood of compensatory injuries.
Although 'core training' may be a bit of a catch phrase in the fitness industry, the true definition of the term is widely acknowledged in medical and rehabilitation communities as the basis for reconditioning the support musculature of the body. Pilates as a method of exercise focuses on working the muscles from the inside out rather than the outside in. In this way, the deepest layers of muscles in the torso (local stabilizers), transversus abdominis, lumbar multifidi and pelvic floor to name a few, are trained to protect the lower back while allowing the body to perform movements with more ease and fluidity. This is achieved by performing controlled movements, and by paying special attention to the mind-body connection.