Pilates is the practice of strengthening and lengthening your entire body through a series of exercises. Pilates exercise is designed to develop complete control of your own body and through repetition of the exercise you gradually acquire the skill to use this natural rhythm and coordination with all of your daily activities. (Pilates 1945).
Clinically, Pilates principles can be used in helping patients with many different pathologies. Some of the injuries that these exercises would be beneficial for are: low back pain, neck pain, arthritis, muscular-skeletal injuries, osteoporosis and neurological disorders such as MS and Parkinson’s disease. Pilates approaches the body as a whole and the quality of the exercise is more important than the quantity. Exercises are closely monitored and modified until the correct movement is achieved. Exercises are not progressed until the patient has achieved mastery of the basics.
POINTERS TO AVOID INJURY IN PILATES CLASSES
1] DON’T KEEP YOUR INJURIES TO YOURSELF. If you are new to Pilates and/or have any injuries, come early and discuss your issues with the instructor before class. Your injuries do not necessarily mean that you cannot take the class, however you will need to be instructed on how to modify exercises based on your issues. The instructor is there to help educate you with modifications
2] LISTEN TO YOUR BODY – KNOW YOUR LIMITS. If you have pre-existing injuries, you may be familiar with the “warning signs” that can ramp up to your specific problems. Based on your conditions, these things may vary. Do not wait for the permission of the instructor to stop, pause, or modify the exercises based on what you body is feeling
3] DON’T BE AFRAID TO MODIFY THE EXERCISES.
Every day is different and every individual is different. Some people will have the ability or desire to start out strong in a specific exercise, others will need time to increase the intensity. With that being said, remember you are not locked into doing a specific exercise a certain way until it is finished. Tune into your body, be intelligent, and don’t hesitate to modify. For example, if your neck begins to strain when your head is elevated off the mat for an exercise, don’t hesitate to put your hands behind the head or use a prop. You will most likely find you will be better able to focus on and engage your core vs. straining to keep your head and upper body elevated off the floor by using your anterior neck muscles
4] GIVE YOURSELF A LEARNING CURVE. Pilates is a very specific approach to core training. Give yourself time to learn it in layers. Remember, you will not get everything in the first class. Keep in mind however, that perfect practice makes perfect! If you feel yourself getting sloppy, stop and regroup. Lastly, ask questions! You won’t be the only one who is wondering about a specific issue in class
The goals of this training are to restore normal daily activities, improve your posture and to resume sports. So, if you have suffered an injury and experience feelings of frustration because you are having difficulty returning to the “normal you”, these exercises may help you transition back to your normal lifestyle. A qualified physical therapist can lead you towards effective use of these exercise principles.
Physical Therapy & Briarcliff & Jefferson Valley, PC offers a comprehensive approach towards rehabilitation and Pilates type exercises are just one of many methods to help you. Please call Briarcliff at 914-962-2222 or Jefferson Valley at 914-245-8807 for more information or our website at www.ptrehab.com.
*Additional pointers can be found on several Pilates websites such as Stott Pilates, Power Pilates.