Many associate Pilates with core strengthening, body toning, and improved flexibility, overlooking its key benefit: it can reduce injury incidence and provide rehabilitative benefits.
This article will cover the relationship between Pilates and injury prevention and rehabilitation.
How Can Pilates Prevent Injuries?
1. Increases Spatial Awareness
Pilates demands that you become aware of your body’s every movement, a practice that helps you identify areas of weakness and imbalance. This awareness often translates to better coordination, reflexes, and balance in your daily life (especially in sporting activities), thus preventing falls and injuries.
2. Strengthens Your Core
If your core is weak, simple actions like standing or twisting around may be stressful on your body as other muscles are forced to overcompensate, leading to muscle strains and tears. You may also be prone to slumping, which places extra pressure on your spine and increases the pressure between the vertebrae.
Pilates is effective for injury prevention because it is a core-building exercise: it works all the muscles making up the trunk of your body, protecting your lumbar spine and helping you maintain the correct alignment.
3. Addresses Muscle Imbalances
Pilates is a whole-body exercise that considers the relationship between different body parts (as opposed to, for example, ankle braces that focus solely on managing an unstable ankle). As such, it can help address muscle imbalances, which tend to change a joint’s path of motion and accelerate the wear and tear process.
Unfortunately, muscle imbalances are common; they are often caused by repetitive movements and a sedentary lifestyle—two factors that most modern-day individuals are familiar with.
Therefore, Pilates can play a significant role in minimising imbalances and preventing injuries.
4. Focuses on Functional Movements
When practising Pilates, you don’t focus on completing a certain number of sets and reps or isolating and working on specific muscles. Instead, the focus is on functional movements, which statically and dynamically work multiple muscles together.
Pilates thus encourages you to perform movements that help you in your everyday activities, optimising the body to prevent injury.
5. Encourage Good Postural Habits
When your body is not properly aligned, you are more likely to strain your muscles and joints, resulting in poor balance and coordination. Additionally, your joints are best suited to handle the forces of gravity when in the correct positions; if your posture is incorrect, stress is placed on joint structures, leading to damage.
Pilates helps with posture because it engages your core muscles, helps to relax your neck and shoulders, and reduces pressure on your hips and legs.
Pilates for Injury Rehabilitation
It is no surprise that Pilates is therapeutic—after all, it was invented during the First World War to help inmates return to optimal health.
Today, Pilates is recommended by physiotherapists and doctors as a rehabilitation method for injured individuals. As a total-body exercise that promotes stability and mobility, Pilates can help ensure that your body stays healthy, agile, and strong.
Some injuries Pilates is used to treat include:
● Shoulder pain or injury
● Neck and lower back pain
● Joint replacement
● Disc herniations
Pilates is more than just a core-building workout that helps tone your body—it also helps to minimise injury incidence and improve injury rehabilitation. As such, the exercise system can immensely improve your physical health and quality of life.