By Fabiana Lino, Resident Physiotherapist
Pilates is an exercise method that focuses on strengthening the core, enhancing flexibility, and promoting body awareness through controlled movements with an emphasis on engaging specific muscle groups. It was developed over a hundred years ago by Joseph Pilates as a low-impact form of exercise suitable for individuals of all ages and fitness levels, making it highly adaptable to various rehabilitation needs.
Even though it is a very popular fitness method, physiotherapists trained in Pilates can incorporate it in your rehabilitation exercise program to help your recovery. Pilates is often used in physiotherapy as a therapeutic exercise method because it offers a variety of benefits that align with the goals of rehabilitation and physical therapy. Here are 10 reasons why Pilates is commonly integrated into physiotherapy:
1. Core Strengthening:
Pilates places a strong emphasis on core strength, which includes the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, and pelvis. A strong core is essential for stability and proper body mechanics, and it can help alleviate or prevent various musculoskeletal issues.
2. Muscle Balance and Coordination:
Pilates exercises promote balanced muscle development and improved coordination. This is crucial in rehabilitation to address muscle imbalances that may arise due to injury or dysfunction.
3. Low-Impact Exercise:
Pilates is generally a low-impact form of exercise, making it suitable for individuals with joint issues or those recovering from injuries. It provides a way to engage in physical activity without placing excessive stress on the joints.
Many Pilates exercises involve stretching and lengthening muscles, which contributes to improved flexibility. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals recovering from injuries or surgeries, as flexibility is often compromised during the healing process.
5. Body Awareness:
Pilates encourages mindfulness and body awareness. Clients learn to focus on their movements, breathing, and body alignment, which can be beneficial in retraining movement patterns and preventing future injuries.
6. Posture Improvement:
Pilates exercises often target postural muscles, helping individuals achieve better alignment and posture. This can be especially important for those dealing with conditions such as back pain or postural abnormalities.
7. Breathing Techniques:
Pilates incorporates specific breathing patterns that can enhance oxygenation of the body and promote relaxation. Proper breathing is essential for optimal movement and can aid in managing pain and stress.
8. Adaptability to Different Fitness Levels:
Pilates exercises can be modified to suit various fitness levels and abilities, making it accessible for people at different stages of rehabilitation.
9. Rehabilitation after Surgery:
Pilates can be a valuable component of post-surgery rehabilitation. It allows for a gradual and controlled progression of exercises, helping individuals rebuild strength and mobility in a safe and effective manner.
Maybe most importantly, Pilates exercises are often more fun and interesting to do at home than regular rehabilitation exercises!
Overall, Pilates is a versatile and adaptable form of exercise that aligns well with the goals of physiotherapy. When provided by qualified physiotherapists to ensure that the exercises are tailored to their specific needs and conditions, it provides a holistic approach to your physiotherapy treatments, addressing not only the physical aspects of recovery but also promoting mental and emotional well-being.
Fabiana Lino is a Physiotherapy Resident at the Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic. When used as part of your physiotherapy program, your Pilates sessions are reimbursable by your extended health insurance. If you have further questions or would like to book an appointment to see how Pilates can help you recover from your pain, please email the clinic at email@example.com or call us at 416-925-4687.