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Ask the Expert: Is Sitting the New Smoking?

Is Sitting the New Smoking?

Q: Everyone is talking about how “sitting is the new smoking” and it has made me think about the Pilates programming I do with my clients.

Many of them sit at desks all day, so I've been incorporating a lot more spinal extension as well as Matwork and equipment-based exercise than I was originally taught in the traditional series.

It seems to make clients more aware of their posture and stronger in their mid and upper-back areas – do you think this particular emphasis can be harmful in the long run?

A: The goal of any Pilates program is to re-balance the muscles around each joint and restore the body to an optimal level of postural stability and functional mobility.

STOTT PILATES® Instructors are taught to look at both dynamic and static postures to determine the best programming options for each individual to help these imbalances or dysfunctions. If a client spends a large part of the day hunched over a computer with the thoracic spine flexed, the head protracted forward and the shoulders rounded, this could become a habitual posture.

A carefully designed Pilates program can help bring greater awareness to a client’s posture, strengthen muscles that may have become lengthened and weak, and lengthen those that may have become tight. As long as the program focuses energy on all sides of the joints – including the spine – the body will begin to move more efficiently. Remember that BALANCE is the key.