Pilates and mental health
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5 Ways Pilates Benefits Your Mental Health

The modern world as we know it is full of stress, chaos and distractions. Each one of us is looking to find a personal state tranquillity and peace, to help us relax and make sense of what’s going on in our busy lives. When searching for such inner balance, people usually consider popular self-improvement techniques such as meditation and affirmations etc and the physiological benefits of exercise are rarely considered as a valuable tool to help us find balance in our lives.

A Quick Word About Pilates

Pilates is more than just a workout. It doesn’t just sculpt your body and help with postural alignment, it also has the amazing ability to help clear your mind and provide inner calmness.

Pilates first emerged in the early 1900s and was introduced by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. In fact, he at first called it ‘contrology’ because he recognised the need to use the mind to control the body – and the point was to find a place of balance and harmony between them.

The seven basic principles of Pilates are:

• Concentration
• Postural Alignment
• Centring
• Breathing
• Control
• Flow
• Precision

But in addition to the above principles, research suggests Pilates can also improve our emotional wellbeing too.

Here are five ways that Pilates and mental health are linked

# 1 – It relaxes you

If you’ve ever tried Pilates, no doubt you’ll agree that it’s one of the most relaxing exercises out there. For this reason, it’s often recommended to people with anxiety and stress disorders with the suggestion to make Pilates part of their regular routine. It’s also great for those wanting to improve their quality of life and try an exercise that’s new and based on traditional discipline.

# 2 – It helps you to be more mindful

As Pilates challenges the mind as well as the body, it helps create a more mindful version of yourself (we dare you to try thinking about your food shopping list as you hold certain poses!). When we are mindful, we begin to experience life as we live it, being fully present and this boosts optimism and decreases anxiety and stress.

# 3 – It improves your self-esteem

Pilates helps to tone and sculpt the body. This brings along the psychological benefit of boosting self-esteem. Once you start to see significant changes in your body and how you feel about yourself, your self-confidence will automatically begin to increase.

# 4 – It helps you sleep better

As practising Pilates will help to calm the mind, it leaves you feeling more relaxed and ready for bed. It reduces stress, improves concentration, and helps you to eliminate negative thoughts. What’s more, the deep breathing required oxygenates your muscles and organs. All these factors together will help you to get a better nights rest.

# 5 – Prevents stress & relieves tension

You’ve likely heard of the famous response to stressful situations, ‘fight-or-flight’. When faced with confronting situations, these stress hormones settle in our body, causing muscle spasms, pain and hypertension. Pilates helps to relieve this built-up tension in the muscles with gentle stretching & gradual conditioning.

Pilates and mental health – Why not give it a try?

We know that exercise is vital, not just for our general wellbeing but our mental health too. So if you’ve been searching for a type of activity that you can fit into your daily routine, give Pilates a try. It’s perfect for any age – no matter what your fitness level is!

However, we understand that sometimes, more than a good exercise routine is required to help us feel our best. If you’re struggling with negative thoughts or a general sense of wanting things to be different in your life, it could be time to reach out and talk to a professional. Positive Mind Works are here to help, and our online service ensures you get the help you need from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Learn more here.

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