Fitness Expert’s Tip of the Month – July

Can Pilates help my aching back?

Have you experienced back pain at one time or another? Have you been told to strengthen your abdominal muscles to fix a back problem? While traditional crunches strengthen the outer layers of the abdominal musculature, they bypass the deep supportive muscles of your back. This may even worsen your back pain, depending on what your original physical problem was. By training the deep stabilizers of the lumbar spine, pain can be alleviated and you’ll be able to return to everyday activities sooner.

Pilates can help; its major focus is to strengthen the deep stabilizers of the spine and is beneficial if you are recovering from low-back injuries or experiencing low-back pain.

How Pilates Can Help
Pilates, created by Joseph Pilates, suits most people. The foundational approach focuses on core strength, precision and control of movement. Combined with current exercise science, this approach is a recipe for success, for a number of reasons.

Pilates Develops Body Awareness. You need this awareness in order to recruit and strengthen the deep stabilizing muscles. You may be unaware of whether you are using your deep stabilizers or not, and this can leave you vulnerable to pain. A qualified Pilates instructor can help you learn how to effectively use your stabilizers. Working with a qualified instructor is much better than following a DVD and performing the exercises incorrectly.

Pilates Promotes Efficient Breathing Patterns. Efficient and effective breathing patterns alleviate stress, which can be a major source of body pain. Conscious breathing provides inner focus, allowing you to become more aware of your body, and enable recruitment of deep stabilizing muscles.

Pilates Builds Core Strength. You learn to engage the deep pelvic floor, which in turn works with your transversus abdominis. Strengthening this area and provides support and stability for your lower back.

Pilates Enhances Flexibility. By opening your hips, loosening your hamstrings, moving your spine, and stretching your body, you will alleviate much of your back pain and discomfort. As your body finds ease, your body stress will decrease, inflammation may be reduced and your muscles move with greater ease.

~Amy Lademann, Fitness Expert, Campus Calm™
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Amy Lademann

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