Many new clients looking in to a Pilates studio may experience the following: fear, wonder and complete curiosity. With pieces of equipment that look somewhat like a torture chamber many wonder what happens in a Pilates Studio. One of the main tools in a Pilates studio are springs, whether they are connected to a Reformer or many other apparatuses. As they open and close they are constantly changing tension which makes the body work to maintain proper form and posture. After a one hour class or private session a client will leave feeling taller, more in alignment and have a sense that every muscle in the body has been awakened.
“How can Pilates help me?” From children to adults to the elderly everyone is getting benefit from their practice. For example, a child or teen who is going through growth spurts is learning to move their body better to alleviate pain and learn how their body moves and functions. Adults are always wanting to “find their core” but through postural adjustments can realize sitting and standing can be core exercises if done in the right way. An elderly client can work on balance and maintaining strength no matter their physical capabilities. Here are a few more reasons to run not walk to a Pilates studio.
Movement: “Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.” Joseph Pilates, the creator, wanted his method to get the brain to interact more with movement. In current times many people have jobs which entail sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day. What does this do to our bodies? It rounds the neck forward, tightens the mid back and wreaks havoc on our hips and low back. If only there was a way to relieve these pains? Pilates is the key to introducing our body to movement which changes the patterns of our daily life.
Breathe: “Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.” It sounds silly to learn how to breathe better and more efficiently. But many of us lead stressful lives or hold our body tension in ways that prevent us from getting the benefits of deep breaths. Deeper breaths can lead to stronger connections to our abdominals. Many people do not realize the abdominal wall goes from the front of the ribs all the way around our bodies and down towards our pelvis. Deeper breaths can promote more movement in our tight backs encouraging them to both move better and relax.
Injury Recovery: Clients often go through physical therapy programs, complete them and then ponder what’s next? Pilates is a great bridge back to regular exercise. Experienced instructors have helped clients back from herniated discs, hip replacements, spinal fusions and pregnancy just to name a few. There are times a client will say, “My shoulder really bothers me doing this movement, I’m just going to stop moving it.” This often leads to the shoulder getting worse. Why? Our bodies crave movement. Just like as we age we try to continue using and challenging our brains. Our bodies also crave movement and challenge throughout our life.
Getting back into sports: If someone has an ankle injury and they really want to get back to tennis. They will first go through physical therapy then attend Pilates classes that promote movement of the ankles and standing balance. They will continue to learn and feel how they can move better and more efficiently. So often we hear clients say “I love to golf but I have a bad back so I can’t do it anymore.” If there’s a will there is a way! Golf requires mobility from the ankles, knees, hips, back, ribs and shoulders. If all those pieces are moving properly, clients may return to their sport and realize they are playing better than they ever have before.
Chicago Athletic Clubs has Pilates Equipment Studios at both our Lincoln Park Studio 1002 and Evanston Studio EAC locations. New clients can complete their first two private sessions for $99. From there we offer small groups classes or private/semi private sessions. I hope everyone can experience the joy and freedom in their movements that Pilates can offer.