'Pilates for Posture and Lean
Tissue Protection during
“The Pilates method of body conditioning is complete co-ordination of body mind and spirit”
Pilates was created through the need for rehabilitation and so it is for many of those who seek out ways of gently recuperating from injury, improving posture, pre and post natal pregnancy activity and opportunities to engage in non-impactful ways of exercise.
In mindful eating, the individual concentrates their energy on appreciating the experience of food and is not concerned with restricting intake. The individual chooses what and how much to eat and drink. As mentioned earlier, diets for weight loss are usually successful in the short term, but many tend to fail over time.
Scientists discovered the following features on the use of multiple cycles of ProLon FMD
• Because the ProLon® Diet provides your body with essential nutrients while it’s operating in fasting mode, after multiple consecutive cycles you’re able to maintain lean body mass— something normally lost during a traditional prolonged fast.
• Multiple cycles of ProLon® Fasting Mimicking Diet induces fat loss without decreasing lean body mass / muscle mass.
• Multiple cycles of ProLon® reduces visceral fat while maintaining lean body mass / muscle mass.
Source: Wei M, Brandhorst S, Shelehchi M, et al. Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Sci Transl Med. 2017;9(377):eaai8700. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.aai8700
Furthermore a recent randomised controlled study of 60 females concluded that although there was no significant difference in weight loss following FMD continuous energy restriction (CER) FMD was more effective at reducing insulin resistance and regulating appetite-regulating hormones as well as preserving muscle mass and BMR.
Pilates will not over stress the immune system and still allows for preservation of lean tissue which is very important for women over the age of forty-five. Ensuring the protective quality of weight bearing exercises like Pilates helps stimulate bone mineral density and bone turnover protecting against osteoporosis.
The suitability of the specific exercises chosen will vary according to the therapeutic needs of the individual. However, science and quality research from exercise professionals and chiropractic practitioners’ point towards the best long-term outcomes with the inclusion of regular consistent application of Pilates, or even Yoga or Tai Chi. As with all forms of exercise maintaining a regular session over a minimum of 6-8 weeks will enable you to establish a foundation, so you can make progress in the longer-term and make it a lifestyle choice.
Some researchers points towards the benefits of Pilates helping older age adults to prevent falling through improving walking gait. Others the contribution toward prevention of neck and shoulder disorders and the avoidance of recurring back pain.
It is not recognised for cardiovascular endurance or aerobic training but is more complimentary to interval or circuit training. It is also a useful modality to incorporate into a prolonged fasting programme like ProLon© fasting mimicking diet FMD. Its important to maintain lean tissue when fasting and pilates is a great form of postural as well as gentle weight bearing exercise that you can do whilst on a 5 day prolonged fast.
One of the primary differences between Yoga and Pilates is that Yoga focuses on opening and Pilates on ‘drawing in’ or ‘centering’. This is sometimes referred to as ‘zip and tuck’ That said, there are many similarities within these practices, as well as Tai Chi including breathing, posture, function, form and flow.
If you are considering the Pilates’ method of exercise it does appear to boast the following:
• improve symptoms of low back pain
• increase core stabilizer strength • improve limb range of movement and flexibility • improve balance and postural awareness
• accommodates different levels of capability and age groups
• complimentary to other forms of exercise such as strength training or running
• preserves lean tissue and muscle and core strength
• stimulates bone mineral density and bone turnover
7 Fundamentals of Pilates
Two central hallmarks of Pilates are;
1. Focusing on the recruitment of the small deep-lying stabilizing muscles, transverses abdominis, multifidus and obliques
2. Static bodyweight exercises focusing on developing stability and/or strength endurance in certain postures, and requiring co-contraction of the small stabilizer and larger mobilize muscles, erector spinae, and gluteus. This includes the popular ‘plank’ dorsal raise and gluteal bridge exercises.
Having a stable centre allows one to extend and stretch one limb drawing from Pilate’s principles you may apply the following SEVEN C’s:
1. Concentration – the all-important mind-body connection focuses the brain on the body part being used
2. Control – quality not quantity – safe, effective movement working the body’s critical stability muscles with precision
3. Centring – focus on specific muscles that stabilise the pelvis and shoulders. The correct muscles must be ‘taught’ to hold for extended periods of time at a low level
4. Conscious breathing – deep conscious diaphragmatic patterns of inhaling help activate deep stabilising muscles and keep you focussed being aware of the body’s energetic response to the breath and the muscles being activated
5. Core alignment – maintaining a neutral position is central to proper alignment leading to good posture. You should be aware of the head and neck on the spine and pelvis, right down through the legs and toes and activating, neutral spine maintaining the lumbar curve when lying down.
6. Co-ordination – Flowing movement results from the brain and body working perfectly in synergy – the aim is smooth, continuous motion rather than jarring repetitions.
7. Consistency - take time to practice regularly and build into your own regular activity routine – “little and often”
7 Top Tips for beginners
1.MAT - Invest in your own mat 7-8mm thickness giving extra cushioning – hygiene matters too!
2. Breath Control – “The breath is everything” the core, centre Qi, or Chakra. This comes back to ‘conscious breathing’ the essence of all movement, posture and exercise, as much as life itself. Learn to master the breath first. Breathe out on the effort, in through the nose out through pursed lips for Pilates and Tai Chi practice.
3. Hydration - Proper hydration – make sure you take some water with you and that you are well hydrated before you begin your practice – This will ensure lubrication of joints and help avoid any muscle cramping. No heavy meals at least one hour before, just a light snack only.
4. Focus - When the mind is set the body follows – focus on YOU not other people in the group – look out for guidance and instruction including modifications for precise positioning. If in doubt don’t be afraid to ask questions at the beginning, or end of a class for clarification or any medical conditions you may have - Safety first.
5. Kindness - Be kind to yourself – work within your own range of capability, don’t push too soon, allow yourself time to progress – 6-8 sessions should see you begin to make progress dependent upon individual capacity. Take a towel for extra cushioning, support or comfort if the joints need some love.
6. Clothing - Appropriate clothing – some studios can be quite cold if it’s an early morning class, or the previous cardio classes have the air conditioning on cool. Stay warm nothing too loose to obstruct range of movement.
7. Qualified - experienced instruction - Choose wisely, there are different types of classes available - Mat, Barre, and Fitness, Reformer /zero gravity. Keep it simple to begin with, the Mat is the best place to start your practice, you can always progress once you become more technically proficient and have established a good foundation.
Pilates is a great form of activity to incorporate into your 5-day prolonged fasting regime as it supports weight bearing floor based exercise and should not over stress the body’s immune system. It may also give you an opportunity to connect with the 7 C’s mentioned earlier – think conscious breathing. Above all enjoy the journey and take the opportunity to notice something different about your body’s response each time you enter your Pilates practice.