Like all fitness skills, achieving better balance requires consistent practice and a strategic approach. As a result, we can actively help prevent falls and the subsequent risk of bone fractures as we age. (As there can be medical factors which can adversely affect balance, if you have any issues with balance, please check with your GP before commencing Pilates or any other exercise program.)
Here are 5 ways a Clinical Pilates program at Mandurah Health may help to improve your balance and bone health:
1. Pilates Works From The “Inside Out”:
An Initial Clinical Pilates Consultation at Mandurah Health Clinic will help to check your current ability to balance. In addition, your movement patterns, coordination, strength and flexibility are assessed. Clinical Pilates programs support your entire musculoskeletal system. For example, rather than only focusing on one specific area or the larger muscle groups, Pilates also focuses on deeper stabilising muscles and this helps to improve our ability to balance.
2. Pilates Exercises Can Help Improve Posture:
Pilates is a series of exercises that may help to improve alignment of the spine and muscles during movement. Many daily activities such as driving and working at a computer encourage forward flexion of the spine. To counterbalance this, Clinical Pilates may include exercises to promote strengthening of the extensor group of muscles. This may help to support your spine and also improve your postural alignment, stability and balance.
3. Pilates Can Help Build Stronger Bones:
The resistance of springs in Pilates apparatus such as the Wunda Chair and Reformer help to strengthen bones by loading the skeleton. Standing exercises utilising studio equipment such as the Fuse Ladder strengthen muscles by working against gravity and add an additional weight bearing load that is more challenging for your bones in comparison to activities that support body weight (for example, cycling or swimming).
4. Pilates Exercises Can Challenge Balance in Motion:
Pilates exercises that include Pilates apparatus can include the additional challenge of balancing in a dynamic environment. For example, standing exercises on a moving Reformer carriage may be more difficult than a stationery standing balance pose on the floor. Proprioceptors provide information about how your body is moving in space, improving concentration and coordination. The inclusion of props in matwork Pilates, for example, the Makarlu or Stability Ball, can place the body in an unstable pose and provide immediate feedback on balance. Your brain responds to these signals by engaging or relaxing muscles for stability.
5. Pilates Improves Control of Movement:
Improving balance requires control of movement and body awareness. Clinical Pilates exercises can challenge not only the muscles, but also the brain as new skills are learnt and practised over time in a supportive and supervised environment. Coordination is associated with the cerebellum, and with a consistent Pilates practice, balance and movement skills can be assessed regularly for progress. By adjusting spring tension and practising new movement patterns with guidance from your Pilates instructor, the neurological connection to movement is reinforced and supported.
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