The combination of Physiotherapy techniques and Pilates principles can be ultra effective in reducing pain and improving the function of the body. The ‘whole body alignment’ philosophy of Pilates, which encompasses the idea that our muscles and joints works best in their neutral position, is something that ties in closely with Physiotherapy. Our aim as Physiotherapists is to (obviously) help to fix any pain or injury that we see, but a big part of this is to understand the cause of the injury. On countless occasions the underlying source of the problem comes back to poor core stability, weak and unbalanced muscles a badly aligned body.
So how can Pilates be used as part of your routine to help you recover from injury, and more importantly remain injury and pain free?
Rebalance your body
One of the main causes of injury that we see is from the overuse of muscles. By repeating the same activity or exercise day in and day out the same muscle groups are continually used. Pilates uses a wide range of muscles and therefore is a great way to re-address the body’s equilibrium. It helps to relive the over-stressed muscles by focusing activity on the muscles that are underused. This helps to rebalance the body and is a great way to reduce the chance of injury.
Core stability & strength
Increased core stability and strength is one of the key benefits of all Pilates programmes. It teaches the muscles to work together efficiently and effectively. It improves mobility and strength in the hips, quads, glutes and back which all help to reduce pain and aid in injury prevention.
Weak core muscles can also leave you susceptible to poor posture, lower back pain and muscle injuries – all which can be helped by Pilates.
How flexible are you? (This is something we definitely need to improve on!) We see so many amazingly fit athletes who are the definition of inflexible. Their muscles have shortened and with this they have become stiff and inflexible. Stiff and inflexible = increased chance of injury and also less power and effectiveness. Pilates helps to train your body mechanics for functional movement and this is what helps improve flexibility. It focuses on movements while stretching. This means the muscles are warm as you stretch, allowing you to stretch further with less pain.
Improved joint stability
By improving the body’s movement patterns and strengthening the supporting muscles around the joints (think knees, ankles and hips) Pilates can keep you injury free.
Anyone who has been to a Physio with a leg injury has probably been told that one of the potential causes of their injury is weak glutes (it is unbelievably common, especially with knee, groin and hamstring injuries). Anybody whom does Pilates will tell you what a great glute workout it is. See what we are getting at here? Your glutes are also instrumental in generating power while running or jumping, and for stability while standing on one leg. Check out our recent ‘It’s all about the butt’ blog for more glute information and exercises.
It is important for any athlete to build some active recovery into their workout. Lower impact, lower intensity workouts like Pilates enable more emphasis on technique, form and posture, which help the body recover faster and reduce injury risk.
Pilates is renowned as one of the great prehabilitative (preventative exercise) workouts. It’s also a great way to improve the speed and quality of recovery from any injuries you can’t avoid. We really do recommend it as part of your exercise regime. It might just keep you injury free (which is not so good for our business but much better for you!).