Get better results from the work you put into your body
When it comes to attaining results hard work is good, but working hard on your joints can set you back farther than where you started. Getting the best for your body while staying away from injuries is all about how you move more so than what moves you do.
When people make the conscious decision to begin an exercise routine, usually their goal is either one of these two combinations and sometimes all of it – health and longevity and/or strength and good looks. Nothing wrong with the latter (any motivation is good fuel), but it's important to remember that looking good or looking strong doesn't mean being strong.
The nice thing about what I like to call the Pilates Way of exercising, moving or performing is that it will eventually bring you all of the above at the best of what your genetics can afford you.
The Pilates Way of Training
Pilates as it was invented almost 100 years ago by Joseph Pilates has evolved beyond an exercise routine that was great for dancers and for rehabilitation into a method adapted to produce what we currently know to be the best for the body in terms of posture, body mechanics and even fitness. So I think of, use and teach Pilates as a way of moving, working out and living. So whether I am cycling, weight training or just walking about, I always apply the Pilates way of treating the body – in other words with proper posture and good body mechanics.
Posture and body mechanics are extremely important not only for maintaining the health of your body as you work for your fitness and wellness goals, but also for achieving those goals.
Good posture takes your body and mind to the next level
Beyond standing taller, better posture allows you to think more clearly, breathe better, strengthen more muscles, feel more balanced and stable as you move, prevent and minimize the effects of spinal and disk compression, and even feel less stress.
Your spinal cord lives within your spinal column, so if there is compression in between your vertebrae, neurotransmissions from the brain down to the body can be interrupted. And even without diagnosed compression, bad posture alone can clog up this brain to body communication, create a sense of decreased alertness and low energy and even make it difficult for you to engage certain muscles (those that you don't know exist until that breakthrough moment). That's especially the case with deep postural or stabilizing muscles that are underused and compensated by other not-so-ideal muscles that might become tight and overworked leading to pain, tension and stress.
Why do mechanics matter?
If you lead an active life style, it's likely that you have at one point or another experienced a muscle or joint strain and maybe a minor injury or even a major one. Not to say that being inactive is the safest option for your body – you would be prone to all kinds of other problems then. But with being active comes the opportunity to improve your movement patterns or the pitfall of continuing bad habits that may lead to injuries or discomfort.
The best you can do for your body as you build it's health through physical activity is to protect its health by performing whatever exercise or sport you enjoy with the Pilates Way in mind.
Get to know more about the Pilates Way of moving and exercising
In the course of the following weeks, I will be releasing The Pilates Way Series, a series of posts reviewing the importance of each component listed in my cheat sheet (at the top of this post), how to test your ability on each one of them and exercises to improve them all. Stay tuned on the blog to follow the series and get the most out of your body. :-)