I was delighted to be asked to write a feature about strengthening your body and mind through Pilates for the June issue of West Essex Life. You can read the article in full below or view it on the West Essex Life website.
Strengthening Body and Mind
Struggling to find an exercise that truly works for you? Woodford-based Pilates instructor, Sonia Noy, thinks she has the answer...
You may have heard of Pilates, but are you aware of the multitude of benefits for you both mentally and physically? Pilates is a mind-body exercise system, created by Joseph Pilates, to increase physical fitness in people of every level and ability. There are many reasons to incorporate Pilates into your life. Here are some of the main ones...
Pilates is a coordination of body, mind and spirit. The breathing technique used helps to oxygenate the body, focus the mind and release tension, especially in the back, neck and shoulders. The concentration on the exercises helps to create body awareness, allowing you to ‘listen’ to what your body needs and how it feels. The increase in strength and understanding of your body helps promote confidence and increases self-awareness. To quote Joseph Pilates ‘Change happens through movement and movement heals.’
Posture and Back Pain
Pilates balances and strengthens the core muscles, improving posture and enabling you to hold your body correctly. Many of us live our lives leaning over devices, creating postural dysfunction. Poor posture is a common cause of pain, especially back, neck and shoulder pain. Poor posture can also cause joint degeneration, headaches, muscle weakness, fatigue and poor breathing. Pilates can help you to hold yourself upright and correctly, reduce pain and improve your movement patterns.
Full Body Workout
Pilates trains the whole body, enhancing movement and day-to-day functionality. The focus on core stability, strength, flexibility, posture, breath, coordination, balance and body awareness provides integrative mind and body fitness. Pilates creates long, strong, toned muscles and better posture. A Pilates class leaves you feeling lengthened, strengthened and energised.
Enhance Athletic Performance
Pilates is used by athletes all over the world, such as Andy Murray, David Beckham, Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova and LeBron James, as a key exercise routine to improve their performance. The core stability, coordination, balance and challenge of Pilates can help with all types of athletic performance, from amateurs to professionals, in all sports. Pilates can be used to help balance out muscles which get overused or prioritised in certain sports and to stave off injuries to enable you to keep doing the sports you love.
Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation
Pilates is at the forefront of injury rehabilitation and prevention due its focus on strengthening and balancing out the deep stabilisers of the body, enhancing body awareness and improved posture. Whether you are working with short- or long-term conditions, Pilates can be used to enhance your day-to-day life. If you have an injury or an underlying condition, make sure to find an instructor with experience in your condition. I have the privilege of helping people with everything, including back pain, hypermobility, neurological conditions, spinal and/ or joint conditions, recovering from surgery and more.
Pilates Is For Everybody
Absolutely everyone can do Pilates, whatever age, shape and ability. I did my first Pilates class as an 11-year-old ballet dancer to enhance my athletic ability and rediscovered it in my 20s for injury rehabilitation. It is now the glue that holds my body together and helps me stay strong, agile and focused in my busy life as a working mother. An experienced instructor can choose and modify the Pilates exercise to suit every person’s needs, whether that is for a pre- or post-natal mum, someone with osteoporosis, a teenager working on their posture or someone looking to exercise for the first time; every participant can benefit from pilates.