One of the biggest questions people ask about Pilates is, “Can Pilates improve posture?” Pilates offers many benefits to anyone seeking to improve their physical presence. Most notably, it helps us maintain good posture habits and increase core responsiveness and musculature. We’ll be looking into how Pilates promotes optimal posture and improves strength and endurance below. As we were growing up, we heard a lot about maintaining “good” posture. Usually in the form of “stand up straight!”. But there’s a little more to posture than that. Good posture is a key component in our on-going dance with the effects of gravity. This is where Pilates shines and when wondering *does Pilates improve posture?, a quick look at its development will give us the answer.How Does Pilates Work for Posture?Pilates was first called Contrology by its founder Joseph Pilates, and it has already been around for nearly a century. A former athlete, Joseph Pilates, reasoned that a stable mind-body relationship, and a focus on good posture/alignment in tandem with full breathing was key to improved health. These are essential to the Pilates Method, and what helps make the work so effective.Pilates excels at not only improving general health via good posture, but as an excellent form of pain relief by enhancing stability and flexibility, and allowing better control over the back, neck, hip and foot regions — places where pain is common to many. In using Pilates to strengthen core musculature, one can improve circulation, move more efficiently, and increase the range of motion for joints and limbs.Strengthening muscle groups in the shoulders, back and abdomen is beneficial not only for posture, but improved workout routines and fitness in general. Regular use of Pilates will create a leaner appearance, and can give you a more confident, positive outlook.What Do The Experts Say?Much research has been done with regard to the efficacy of Pilates, both in general fitness and in promoting good postural habits. A recent study showed that “Pilates based exercise enhanced the postural alignment of healthy women, as measured by angular positions of the shoulder, head and pelvis. Large improvements were seen over the 6 month study period for the postural resting position of the cervical or thoracic spine (1).
The importance of regular physical activity in particular for certain age groups like the elderly, has been discussed much in recent years. Although the efficacy of Pilates specifically with regard to this age group has not been much researched as yet, studies and expert data on types of exercises beneficial to the elderly can be extrapolated and applied to Pilates. Thanks to research shown by Health.gov, we know that most, but not all, elderly have one or more chronic conditions, and these conditions vary in type and severity. All have experienced a loss of physical fitness with age. This means that despite some differences, experts agree that this is one age group that can benefit from regular use of exercise including Pilates. One of the key benefits outlined, for example, is “Older adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.” Pilates certainly fits the bill in strengthening major muscle groups, and has the added benefit of helping to improve posture, something with which many elderly adults struggle on a daily basis.
What Else Does Pilates Offer?
We’ve taken an extensive look at two primary benefits of Pilates which include the strengthening of major muscle groups and the increased positive trend with regard to good posture. But what else might one expect to gain from regular use of a Pilates routine?
Pilates is a great workout for improving posture and boosting health in general. If you suffer from:
” limited mobility ” moderate or severe joint or muscle pain ” poor circulation ” difficulties maintaining proper body weight ” increased risk of injury
Pilates can provide secondary benefits to all of these and more. With Pilates you’ll be able to improve your endurance, which will lead to better breathing and a more complete daily routine. Increasing flexibility can reduce joint pain and provide greater general mobility, and Pilates will aid in ridding oneself of unwanted mass. Pilates has been continually updated and expanded to meet the needs of many and varied groups of persons. Pilates has grown into a popular workout trend precisely because it is effective and useful to a wide-range of people. If you’ve ever wondered “Can Pilates improve posture?” the answer is most definitely “Yes, and so much more!”
*Freya Guerra is the Chief Editor at Posture Profile and a proud mother who’s passionate about posture and giving actionable posture advice. It’s never too late to improve your posture!
- Cruz-Ferreira A, Fernandes J, Kuo YL, Bernardo LM, Fernandes O, Laranjo L, Silva A.; Does Pilates-based Exercise Improve Postural Alignment in Adult Women?