Woman doing pilates

What is Pilates?

The core, also known as the centre or “powerhouse” of the body, is where Joseph Pilates, the founder of pilates exercises, placed his main focus when he developed his method of exercises in the 1940s.

Pilates exercises, when carried out correctly, use the deep core muscles such as the abdominal muscles, diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles which work together to align, stabilise and protect the spine from injury. In addition, Joseph Pilates designed his exercises holistically by including simultaneous involvement of both leg and arm movements.

Apart from the “core”, pilates also places emphasis on precision, flow, control, concentration and proper breathing during the exercise, with the ultimate aim of achieving good posture and movement without thinking.

Related: The Importance of Building Up Your Core

The Ways and Benefits of Practicing Pilates

People of any age or level can benefit from pilates. So, it is common to see pilates being incorporated in a rehabilitation regime to treat patients with lower back pain due to conditions such as degenerative changes in the spine, slipped discs and spinal instability.

Pilates exercises can be performed either with equipment such as the reformer, or on the mat. The benefit of using a reformer is that it is able to alter the level of difficulty of a movement based on the resistance of the springs.

In Tan Tock Seng Hospital, physiotherapists with clinical pilates training will incorporate suitable pilates exercises for the patient to tone up their abdominal muscles, manage their back pain, strengthen and improve their back. Some studies have shown that when pilates exercises are practised over a period of time, it is able to reduce frequency, duration and intensity of lower back pain.

Related: How to Exercise When You Are in Pain