Better Health and Immunity through Pilates – Movement equals Happiness .
“As a heavy rainstorm freshens the water of a sluggish or stagnant stream and whips it into immediate action, so does the Pilates Method purify the bloodstream”
- Joseph Pilates, founder of Pilates
There is so much written and talked about Pilates and why we should do it for all sorts of different reasons. We want to understand it as an activity that you simply attend and we often see it defined as a core based type of exercise combined with flexibility. Thankfully Pilates is so much more than that.
Having been a Pilates Teacher for almost 20 years I have seen the method grow in popularity and throughly enjoyed seeing people begin and develop their own personal journey with Pilates. Pilates is not defined by any type of person who attends, we see people who have injuries, back pain, neurological issues, muscle in-balances and low muscle tone, posture issues, the list goes on and on. Many Pilates people would just like to be stronger and fitter for ‘life’. One of the key elements we know as Pilates Professionals is that practice makes perfect and you can never be doing enough Pilates on a daily basis to improve your core and balance. This article focusses on Better Health And Immunity Through Pilates
Pilates is well know for improving posture, joint mobility and core stability, it also benefits better health and immunity
Understanding the positive affects of Pilates on our Immune system
Pilates is well know for improving posture, joint mobility and core stability, it also benefits better health and immunity. In addition to working on your musculoskeletal system, Pilates exercises also help you cope with stress and help to make your lymphatic and respiratory systems more efficient.
Our lymphatic and respiration systems are crucial to our immune system. The immune system is a collection of billions of cells that travel through the bloodstream. These cells move in and out of tissues and organs, defending the body against foreign bodies (antigens), such as bacteria, viruses and cancerous cells. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.
Our lymphatic system is basically our body’s waste disposal system. During normal metabolic processes, cells produce waste products, which need to be removed so that the cells can stay healthy and good nutrients can reach the cells. Lymph is the fluid that contains the toxins, so lymph has to be removed and cleaned. Toxins are filtered out by lymph nodes situated all around the body (mostly by our joints). The lymph is then carried by vessels back to the thoracic ducts (just by the collarbones), where the cleaned lymph is returned to the bloodstream.
What Happens in a Pilates Session to Improve your Immunity?
Although it has millions of vessels just like the blood system, the lymphatic system has no strong pump to keep lymph moving. The lymph is moved by breathing, walking, intestinal activity, and muscle action. The rhythmic movements of a Pilates session stimulate blood flow and lymph flow. Throughout your Pilates class, as your muscles contract and release, lymph vessels are squeezed and lymph is pushed along and filtered through lymph nodes on its way back to the veins and the heart.
Pilates breathing is another important factor in good health. One of the first things you learn in a Pilates is how to breathe better, as most of us ‘shallow breathe’. We need to create space for the ribs to expand, then breathe wide and deep into your back and sides maximising our lung capacity.
Joseph Pilates wrote that this type of breathing ‘supplies the blood stream with vitally necessary life giving oxygen …and stimulates all muscles into greater activity. Therefore, above all, learn to breathe correctly.’
It is no wonder we feel so relaxed after a session. Even a few exercises done correctly and thoughtfully can promote feelings of calm and happiness and ultimately relieves stress.