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The What, Who, How, and Why of Pilates from a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist: Part 4.3

Let's suppose you are looking for a way to maintain your current level of function and promote your overall physical...

3. Wellness

For some, Pilates will serve as a means of sustaining gains made in physical therapy to manage chronic pain or prevent declines in function. Perhaps you have a degenerative neurological condition and are looking for a safe way to exercise and prevent further loss of mobility and strength between physical therapy episodes of care. Or perhaps you have fibromyalgia and need a low-impact way to move to prevent flares in pain.

I often liken practicing Pilates to getting regular maintenance done on your motor vehicle: similar to the engine of your car, the body is an engine that runs. It is designed to move, and therefore, it needs to be exercised and maintained. Maybe you don’t have any specific sport or functional goals to which you are aspiring; you just don’t want to lose the function you have. A consistent weekly Pilates program can help you sustain a smooth ride for years to come. With consistent practice, the exercises of Pilates are useful for maintaining range of motion, muscle length and balance, bone health, and strength. If you are seeking to feel your best and maintain function well into your later life, and if longevity and wellness are your primary goals, then Pilates may be just the habit to build for yourself.

Given the diverse applications of Pilates, it is important to sample the studios in your area and find a style and instructor that is in line with your goals. One of the common themes I hear from individuals seeking a wellness-based Pilates practice is that “Pilates is too intense” for them. These individuals have often experienced a fitness-style Pilates class that is designed to consistently progress the physical performance of its students. So remember, not all Pilates classes are the same and not all have the same objectives.

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