Pilates in Newcastle
Pilates is a series of exercises developed by Joseph Pilates over 80 years ago. It was initially aimed at increasing strength and flexibility in the dance community. These days Pilates is used to establish a stable central platform or “core”, from which the arms and legs function. Control, rather than strength is required.
The core muscles should function at a moderate level in the background.
Pilates uses various pieces of equipment to achieve this, in addition to floor exercises. The resistance provided by the equipment increases feedback to the brain via the nerves, helping it to fine tune the appropriate levels of muscle activation. The end result is smooth controlled movement.
In order to bring the practice of Pilates in to line with current research findings, the traditional method has been altered slightly. For example, a forced breath out should no longer be used as this causes muscle bracing rather than integrated control. It also leads to repeated bearing down on the pelvic floor, which can damage these muscles. The normal response to a sub maximal loaded movement is to breathe in. Repeated end range stretching under load can have a negative effect on nerve tissue and supply, so the exercises now concentrate on mid range movements and control toward the end of range.
Finally, instead of systematically increasing the resistance, which leads to muscle bracing, the loads are kept low. The complexity of the exercise is increased so the brain can practice controlling a more difficult series of movements, whilst keeping the core muscle activity in the background.
Pilates is an effective and enjoyable tool to assist with recovery from injury. It can also enable maintenance of a stable core through all the demands of a busy life, thereby contributing to injury prevention.
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