Postural Habits

As we grow older most of us start to find we are feeling the odd twinge here or there, we are a little stiffer in the morning, and we start to notice that aren’t as strong as we once were. Sometimes this rude awakening comes at 40, sometimes its 50 and sometimes we are even older – but the ageing process catches up with all of us.

Throughout our lives we tend to move in certain ways, which is why we can recognize someone we know from a long distance, we recognize their movement. Habits and postural patterns emerge due to lifestyles, or because of injury. Every time we move to do something, we will tend to do it in exactly the same way – think about crossing your legs or carrying a handbag. This is basically because certain muscles are switched on in a particular way, which doesn’t matter when we are younger, as we tend to move in a natural and efficient way. However, as time goes by and the years pass our movement patterns change, certain muscles become weaker – very often because of an injury – and other muscles learn to compensate for them. This causes imbalances in our body and leads to poor alignment, asymmetry and poor posture. And it is this poor alignment that leads to wear and tear over time. Wear and tear on our joints often cause chronic back or neck pain or may require us to need a replacement knee or hip.

Doing Pilates regularly can make major differences and enable us to counter some of these problems. And whilst Pilates is not the panacea of all ills it helps create greater body awareness and improves both our strength and flexibility.  Standing exercises on one leg and side or IT Band stretches can help improve balance and proprioception and thus help prevent falls. Back extension exercises such as Dart or Swan help counter years of sitting hunched over a desk by strengthening upper back muscles and exercises that strengthen our core help support our spine.

As Joseph Pilates, the founder of the movement, said “if your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30 you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”

I certainly know that I need to do Pilates on a regular basis otherwise I start to stiffen up and ache and I know that my students have all reaped the benefits of regular Pilates classes.

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