Dear Clients, Friends and Family,
Hello again and thank you for continuing with us as we journey through the book written by Joseph Pilates, “Return to Life Through Contrology”. Joe wrote this book in 1945, and the health giving benefits of Pilates are even more relevant today than they were then. As a nation, we are much more sedentary in general, and a good exercise program is necessary to maintain youth and vigor. But the benefits of Pilates extend way beyond most. Please read on as we share with you, Joe’s thoughts on the spine.
First a few facts, the spine is composed of 26 vertebrae, each vertebrae is separated by intervertebral cartilage. This cartilage acts a cushion or a shock absorber. The 3 curves of the spine, cervical, thoracic and lumbar, give it flexibility.
Because of poor posture, quite a bit of our population suffers from some degree of kyphosis, or slumping, or rolled shoulders, which worsens with age. Our life style of sitting at desks, using computers, texting on phones, etc. all lend itself toward a rolled in posture. When the shoulders round forward, the abdominals protrude, and the head falls forward; not a great look. This can cause a person to look older than they really are. One of the primary benefits of Pilates is maintaining a good, youthful posture, among other things.
According to Joe “Fortunately, the spine lends itself quite readily to correction.” Thus the “vertebrae by vertebrae” cue you will often hear in a Pilates class, encourages spinal articulation. Joe believed these “rolling” and “unrolling” movements gradually restore the spine to its normal position.
Strengthening the muscles of the midback will also help to keep the shoulders aligned properly. Doing movements that encompass spinal flexion, extension, side bending and rotation (as long as not contraindicated for your condition) will keep they spine healthy and flexible. A good Pilates session, either Pilates Mat or Apparatus, should contain each of these movements.
Pilates is a lifestyle and “proper diet, intermittent relaxation and sufficient sleep must supplement our exercise in our quest for physical fitness.”
“If your spine is stiff and inflexible at 30, you are old; if it completely flexible at 60, you are young.”
Thanks again for joining us for a little more insight into the benefits of Pilates. We hope that mini series has helped you gain more insight into your own body and will encourage you in your practice of Pilates.
Marie, Karen, Jancy, Sheryl, Ale, and Mia Mocha
Pilates of Old Town