Pilates can help your brain as well as you body

Pilates can help your brain as well as you body

In the early 1900’s, German-born Joseph Pilates developed a system of exercises designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture as well as to enhance mental awareness. Pilates defined his work as way to completely and thoroughly unify the body, mind, and spirit.

Today, most people think of Pilates exercise as a way to strengthen the body’s physical core — the abdominal and back muscles, and the muscles around the pelvis. But some researchers have identified several ways in which Pilates may be good for your brain as well as your state of mind.

If you’re a new student to Pilates, you’re going to be learning new patterns of movement. Learning anything new is a brain training technique and requires concentration. As you’re focusing on each new body movement, you’re not only increasing your flexibility and enhancing your body awareness, but you’re increasing your cognitive flexibility as well.

Researchers in China measured changes in women’s brain activity after 10 weeks of Pilates and found an increase in the brain’s alpha peak power which is related to memory performance and other cognitive functions.

Good for your brain and your state of mind

Pilates helps to promote mindfulness — being in the present or “in the moment”. When your doing Pilates, you need to be aware of the sensations that are produced by each movement and to coordinate those movements with your breathing. When your focused on your breathing, alignment, and using the right muscles while relaxing others, there’s no time to think about other things. In other words, you’re living in the moment. Increasing your mindfulness can result in less stress and anxiety, improvements in your mood, and may help you to sleep better.

Strengthening your core muscles through Pilates exercises help to improve your posture. While having better posture can result in less back and shoulder pain, some studies suggest that, as a confidence builder, it can provide you with a big mental boost, as well.

Pilates is more than just a workout

Several studies have proven that exercise improves the creation of new brain cells and that people who engage in mindful movement exercise, such as Pilates, have significantly improved brain function afterwards when compared to aerobic exercise.

Adding Pilates to your daily routine can aid in relaxation and help to reduce stress and anxiety as well as improving your mood. As you learn new patterns of movement, you’re challenging your body and mind at the same time. By focusing your attention on your body, you’re clearing your mind of other distractions and gaining the benefits of mindfulness through exercise.

Propel Pilates and Fitness, located in Rancho Bernardo, offers a great selection of Pilates classes, from private sessions and semi-private classes to small group classes. We offer all class levels from beginners to classes for advanced clients. Let your body and mind benefit from all that Pilates has to offer.

Visit our website to read about our various classes.