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Pilates – Helping to boost your Immunity and Wellbeing

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It’s not just about your core!

 

It has been a very strange world we have been living in for the last few weeks.

Most of us have had our daily routines affected in some way or another, from being a bit inconvenienced to having our world turned upside down. For many of us the result is an increased level of stress and worry, maybe too much time on our hands, boredom, frustration, feeling trapped…the list is long.

Now more than ever, it is important to take control, time do deal with those negative emotions and to look after our mental and physical wellbeing, we can boost both through exercise and good nutrition. With gyms and sports facilities currently closed, we are confined to exercising at home or going for a walk, run or cycle but just once a day!

So exercising at home or online is probably the area we can improve and utilise the most, with lots of us at home more working or not working, take the opportunity to set some time aside each day just for you.

I have been practising Pilates for over 20 years now and teaching for 2 and a half years. Initially I took up Pilates to improve my pelvis which would slip with frequent regularity and with a great deal of pain. After just a few months of working out 2 or 3 times the problem became virtually non-existent. However, I soon realised I was getting far more than a physical work out from my Pilates sessions, it was a time when I could relax, focus on myself for a short time, de-stress and put things back into perspective. Eventually this wasn’t something I wanted to keep just to myself, I wanted to share it and so I trained to teach all the wonderful mental and physical benefits Pilates offers.

Many of you will think of Pilates as a way to improve your core stability, posture and of course that is what we aim to achieve along with improving mobility, flexibility, balance and coordination. However, the benefits don’t stop with the muscular skeletal system. Pilates also helps with stress and improving the respiratory and lymphatic system. Stress has a negative impact on our immune system, increasing our susceptibility to virus’s, infections and disease.

At the start of a Pilates class you learn to focus on breathing correctly, using the lateral breathing method, breathing more deeply and efficiently. Maximising lung capacity by breathing deep into our ribs, sides and back and providing our blood stream with a good supply of oxygen.  Whilst we are focusing just on ourselves and our breathing, we are ridding ourselves of distractions, relaxing, calming, and starting to take back control, dealing with the stress of everyday life. We are now ready to focus on our bodies, correcting our posture & core centring in preparation for the exercises to follow. Exercises, which will help develop our muscular strength, mobility and coordination but also exercises that enhance relaxation and reduce stress.

It is during the exercise period or “the main phase” of the session that our lymphatic system gets the most benefits. Ridding our body of waste products and toxins via lymph nodes, many of which are located close to our joints. The lymphatic system relies on the bodies movements such as breathing and muscular action to move the lymphatic fluid through the system, it doesn’t have a pump like the heart that pumps the blood around our bodies. The regular contraction and releasing of muscles during a Pilates session is a very effective way of assisting the lymphatic drainage system. Drinking plenty of water after the session will help even further to get rid of these toxins and help your body to function properly and enhance your health. So even though you may be tired, emotional or short of time it is truly important to make time to exercise and eat well. Your body is depending on you to make it function correctly!

Pilates is a great discipline for anyone, regardless of age, level of fitness, gender or race. Just ensure you use a reputable Pilates instructor who will modify your work outs towards your personal needs. Perhaps consider some one-to-one sessions if your instructor thinks it would be beneficial. I also provide my clients with workouts they can practice at home…. just 15 or 20 minutes of Pilates can help relieve stress, correct your posture and balance, and your mind and body.

Take time for You!

Best wishes,

Sandy Bellringer – Registered Pilates Instructor

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