The benefits of Pilates include better flexibility, improved core strength & dramatic changes to body shape. But did you know Pilates can help give you a healthy heart …
One of the biggest reasons we are so enamoured by the charms of Pilates here at Platinum, is because the benefits of Pilates go way deeper than just the aesthetic effects.
Pilates has a huge physiological influence on your health and on your heart. Your heart is surrounded by tissue called pericardium. That’s a big word, but imagine it being like a cocoon that envelopes your heart to keep it safe, supported and supplied with all the nutrients it needs to thrive. Layers of the pericardium attach to layers of fasica that attach to the diaphragm, which is your breathing muscle and the back of the breast bone which is the middle structure of your rib cage.
That means exercise that improves your breathing function and that works your diaphragm in a more integrated way will directly affect the muscle and tissue surrounding the heart.
4 Reasons Pilates Is Good For Your Heart
Pilates Teaches You To Breath Better
It’s great that breathing is controlled by our autonomic nervous system, which means that we don’t actually have to think about every breath we take to stay alive. But learning to improve your breathing pattern can make a huge difference to your quality of life! In class we help you visualise your Diaphragm and use imagery to help you expand the depth of your breath which in turn improves your breathing function over time.
“To learn to breathe properly is really more difficult an accomplishment than the average (uninformed) person realizes.” – Joseph H. Pilates
Pilates Mobilizes The Rib Cage
The functions of the Rib Cage are protection, support & respiration. Whilst we often imagine our Rib Cage to be a strong immobile and fixed, there is actually a huge amount of movement possibility around Rib Cage. The tissue that connects the heart & lungs to the ribs can be influenced by movement of the ribs & spine – So adding some glorious side bends & twists into your Pilates class will feed your heart and lungs with incredible benefits.
Pilates Can Be Aerobic
If you’ve never been to one of our Cardio-Jump Board classes you might be surprised to learn that Pilates could be classed as Aerobic Exercise. Our class has been specially designed to add a cardio element where we raise the heart rate using exercises on the Jump Board. In the fitness industry it’s called HIIT which means High Intensity Interval Training, but in basic terms that just means the heart & lungs have to work much harder than in a normal Pilates Class. Aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to improve heart health and reduce heart disease according The Irish Heart Foundation
A regular bit of exercise improves your emotional and physical well-being. It also reduces your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, as well as many other diseases.
Pilates Reduces Stress
If stress itself is a risk factor for heart disease, it could be because chronic stress exposes the body to persistently elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. There have also been studies which suggest that stress changes the way blood clots which increases the risk of heart attack. And whilst everyone responds differently to stress, sometimes it can be unapparent of the actual effect of stress on the body until the body physically breaks down. This is where Pilates comes in. We teach slow deep breathing techniques which stimulates the parasympathic nervous system, the one that helps to calm us down, in addition, deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. This combination creates an environment that reduces over all stress levels on a cellular level. Not to mention the psychological benefits of taking a class.