I’m a big fan of yoga and will be talking a lot more about the health benefits of yoga starting next month when I’m off to India to study ayurveda! (Yes, that’s me in the picture. That kind of flexibility is just one of the benefits of yoga.)
But today is a guest post, no, not about yoga, but rather pilates, its health benefits, and specifically how pilates can be used as an alternative or complementary method for injury rehabilitation.
Physiotherapists know many ways to help with injury rehabilitation: manual physical therapy, therapeutic massage and personal training, among others. However, lately they have been using a new tool to help get you back on the performance track after an injury: pilates. Look at our top reasons why you should use pilates for injury rehabilitation.
1. Pilates is a holistic program:
The pilates method considers the entire body in its practice, kind of like yoga. It understands that all the muscles and bones of the body are connected and that, for example, leg pain might actually originate in the lower back.
Since pilates focuses on the entire body and not just the injured part, it will help rebuild balance and strength more harmoniously.
2. Pilates focuses on core strength:
Your core supports your entire body, whether you realize it or not. Because pilates focuses on core strength, it helps you build a strong support for all kinds of activities. In injury rehabilitation, it’s important to regain strength not only where you were injured, but also where it will be useful to prevent further injuries.
A strong core gives you more balance, a better body alignment and serves as the foundation for further conditioning. It also lets you develop more flexibility in your limbs.
3. Pilates teaches you how to breathe:
In our stressful modern lives, we’ve forgotten how to breathe properly. Programs such as yoga or pilates teach you breathing techniques that are not only useful on the mat but also during sports training or in your daily life. Improper breathing can lead to cramps, aches and brain fog; learning how to breathe deeply and consciously will let you concentrate, focus and relax.
While it doesn’t help rehabilitate injuries per se, the increased concentration will first help you focus on your rehabilitation workouts, and then during your training. More concentration and focus means less risk of injury from a fall or distraction.
4. Pilates makes you more coordinated:
One of the problems of an injury is that it leaves you uncoordinated, with more strength on one side of the body. Pilates will first restore strength in your injured part and then bring you back to optimal coordination.
Increased coordination is beneficial for all athletes, no matter the sport. You will develop a synergy between brain and body that will enable you to practice your movements consciously and with a new grace. Every movement will flow with ease, thus reducing the risks of re-injury.
5. Pilates teaches you control:
One essential part of good performance in any sport is a good control of your movements to achieve a specific goal, whether putting the puck in the net or running a 10K.
Pilates shows you how to exercise control of your body so that all your movements are conscious and optimal.
Remember to get an independent medical opinion before starting any new exercise program, whether from your doctor or a physiotherapist. If you give it a chance, you’ll see that pilates can be a great tool towards quick injury recovery.