Joseph Pilates once said that “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”, an argument which scientifically…..is very true.
It’s undeniable the functioning of your brain and your associated emotional state, are heavily linked to the activity and movement of your body.
So, what does this have to do with Pilates?
Well, we all know about Pilates exercise benefits. From increased abdominal and muscular strength to greater flexibility and improved lung capacity.
But did you know the benefits of Pilates also apply to your mental and emotional health?
In a time where more and more of us have been struggling with debilitating mental health issues and damaging emotions including stress, grief and sadness due to the Covid 19 Pandemic, these benefits of Pilates are more important than ever.
Even putting pandemics aside- our modern world is saturated with distractions, chaos, and stressors that drive us all to search for inner serenity and peace.
The health benefits of Pilates mean you can put aside the meditation and affirmations- because this exercise constitutes a viable and enjoyable tool to improve your mental wellbeing.
The best place to embrace these extraordinary health benefits? A Pilates Reformer class.
Now, while the Pilates reformer benefits you will find from attending a class are slightly different from that of solo or mat Pilates, the real reason we recommend you to take a class is due to the qualified guidance and advice of the instructor.
A professional Pilates practitioner will be able to read your body, identify signs of stress and strain and advise you on the proper form which will significantly improve your wellness journey and overall relationship with Pilates.
So, if you’re searching for a therapeutic break, the benefits of Pilates reformer are exactly what you need.
What that noted, let’s discuss the major mental health benefits of taking a Pilates reformer class.
Did you know that beginning in your late 20’s, your brain starts to shrink?
That’s right. From this early age, the portion of our brain responsible for memory and cognitive function, the hippocampus, begins shrinking by 1% each year.
But don’t worry, scientists have found this process can be slowed down, and even reversed through exercise.
Exercises like Pilates which center mindful movement improves neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells in the hippocampus, increasing your capacity to learn and memorize.
Meaning Pilates Reformer benefits include better memory, lower risks of Alzheimer’s disease, a higher IQ, better learning and problem solving, and better brain function.
There is even evidence the health benefits of Pilates in terms of brain functioning are far superior to that of any other aerobic exercise.
You Can Calm Your Mind And Emotions With Pilates
If I say ‘meditation’ you likely think of a Buddhist monk or a new-age hippy who collects energy crystals humming atop a mountain, right?
However, this highly stereotypical notion of meditation is just one possible version of it.Another is mindfulness, simultaneously one of the biggest health benefits of Pilates and the reason it so often gets confused with Yoga.
While mindfulness does originate in ancient Hindu, Chinese and Buddhist traditions, it’s less about spirituality and more about concentration. Meaning your ability to focus intensely on the present, empty your mind of distractions, and dismiss any unwanted thoughts.
Pilates in requiring you to concentrate intensely on the positioning and realignment of the body calls for you to clear your mind. Especially if you are doing coordination or core work with an instructor in a reformer class environment, who has prompted you to visualize specific moves.
Subsequently, Pilates helps you reap all the benefits of traditional meditation, or mindfulness- without sitting still.
Making it a far more engaging way to treat insomnia, sharpen the mind, relieve stress, help with chronic pain management, reduce negative emotions, help fight addiction and lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health.
You know, all the typical benefits of meditation.
One of the biggest Pilates exercise benefits on the neurological side is its brain training benefits.
Learning new activities has been scientifically proven by researchers at the University Of Oxford to increase the density of white matter in the brain, ergo the fibers that help neurons communicate.
Meaning, Pilates is a proven brain training technique that helps mental multitasking and memory.
Subsequently the benefits of Pilates reformer stretch to both our body and mind- at the same time!
This is evident in the fact automating your workout, like using the same sequence of exercises every week or using the cycling bike while watching TV cuts the benefit of your workout in half due to the diminished concentration required.
In today’s world, we cant deal with problems in the same way our ancestors would.
Fight or flight for so many of the social and professional situations we find ourselves in just doesn't cut it- so the stress hormones released in those situations have nowhere to go.
So, what happens? We bottle them up. And they lead to serious problems like muscle spasms, hypertension, poor sleep, low self-esteem, and mood swings.
The benefits of Pilates include metabolizing these stress hormones through gentle stretching and gradual conditioning. The facial release techniques and rehabilitating muscle workouts of a pilates reformer class release tension from the body that cant be accessed via simple stretching.
Meaning the physical effects of holding a pose during a pilates reformer class are far more than you think- they are the equivalent of a destresser, leading to improved wellbeing, steadiness, and ease.
And if you’re considering purchasing a Pilates reformer to bring the stress relief found in class back home, don’t worry- there’s no need to be stressed about the price.
There are plenty of inexpensive and highly affordable Pilates reformers on the market, so you can access the Pilates Reformer benefits to your emotional and physical health without big financial sacrifice.
Now the specific process is far too complex to describe here, but every time you engage particular muscles you fire an impulse train through your spinal cord that awakens certain neurological fibers of the brain.
Pilates reformer benefits include the fact it focuses on deep core activation, which through the process described above constitutes a ‘cleanse’ for your nervous system.
This fortifies the health and strength of your nervous system, leading to superior communication between the body and the brain.
This allows you to better release beloved mood-boosting hormones like endorphins and serotonin.
Think about how you breathe in different emotional situations.
Faced with something horrifying, our breathing becomes rapid, labored, tight, and high in the chest. Faced with something pleasant and relaxing, it becomes deeper and slower, seeming like it emanates from deeper within your stomach.
You see where I’m going with this. Your emotions and breathing are inherently linked.
You can literally breathe yourself into calmness or anxiety, which is why if you’ve ever attended cognitive behavioral therapy, your breathing is one of the first areas they target.
Breathing is also, one of the six major Pilates principles laid out by Joseph Pilates, as he created exercises specifically to teach students how to fully use their lung and nasal capacity.
This is one of the most significant health benefits of Pilates as understanding how to control your breathing is essential to navigating difficulty and stress in unavoidable life situations, from emergency medical events to going to a job interview.
Pilates can even help you become more confident!
We all know specific ‘power’ postures like hands on the hips and a straightened back ‘read’ as confident, but did you know they also subconsciously help boost your confidence levels?
Pilates’ fixation on proper body alignment and good posture will set habits for your private and professional life, helping you stand, walk and move with a more confident gait and manner.
On top of that, the rock hard abs and toned muscles created by Pilates unique exercise techniques will make anyone beam with confidence and self-esteem.
So, there you have it! Some fantastic reasons on the side of emotional and mental health why you should start taking a pilates reformer class. Feel more confident, reduce your stress levels and find greater inner peace with these great pilates reformer benefits.
If you truly want to experience these benefits, why not buy a reformer of your own so you can get these benefits inside the home?
Or even better yet, visit our full product range to discover all the possible Pilates exercise machines that will be instrumental in improving your overall health and wellness.