Pilates challenges us to examine how well our bodies are really functioning.
Even the most healthy person may have a niggle or two that causes pain and is an indication of stresses and strains on the body.
For others, the effects of ignoring the needs of our bodies is all too apparent. Pilates can help to build the body to prevent injury and help keep us healthy through the development of good posture.
Muscular stress is often hidden by groups of larger muscles that develop to protect weaker ones. This is the body’s way of coping with a problem, but is only ever short term.
Pilates exercises will identify and reveal the original source of the problem and help address it directly.
There are no short cuts to solving bad posture and back pain. For example, supporting devices such as corsets simply do the work that the muscles should be doing for themselves.
We need to train our bodies to break their recourse to sloppy habits and learn new coping methods.
So the long and short of it is – use it, or lose it!
Why Does my Neck Ache?
A question I get asked a lot is, why does my neck ache when I do an abdominal curl?
This goes back to a stronger muscle group/body part taking over a weaker one.
The tummy muscles can be weaker than we desire, and as we do a curl up there is a tendancy to lead the exercise with the chin, thus putting spinal alignment out of sync and engaging the wrong muscle group for the exercise being performed.
When doing an abdominal curl, you need to focus the lift starting from your upper abdominal muscles, or just below your sternum (the flat bone in your chest from which your ribs attach).
As you start the lift, you exhale drawing the belly button in towards the spine and flattening through the tummy, thus tightening your core. Inhale as you lower back to the start position.
Always focus on keeping the neck long and chin slightly tucked and the head supported in the hands.
Also relax your facial muscles and separate your teeth to relax your jaw. Having tension in the jaw will do nothing to help the abs, it will just give you a headache!