Pilates Exercise for Back Pain and Lower Back Problems

Posted by on Mar 3, 2021 in Pilates Exercises

How Pilates Relieves Back Pain Sitting for hours on end hunched over our desks or devices could lead to back pain. Research says that a sedentary lifestyle increases our risk for some chronic diseases or even premature death. Fortunately, Pilates exercises such as leg kicks and back extensions can bring positive results. Wells et al. reported that “Pilates exercise offers greater improvements in pain and functional ability compared to usual care and physical activity in the short term.” Bird and Fell also wrote that Pilates exercise has long-term effects on improving balance and strength in older people. In most cases, it’s the lower back, that part of the spine that curves inward at the base of the back, that takes the most impact when we’re seated. Pain is either concentrated in one area or radiates throughout the back along the spine’s network of nerves, muscles, and ligaments. Another common reason for back pain is muscle strain, which affects the lumbar region or the lower part of the back. That’s why when you overstretch or twist, you sometimes feel an ache or a stiffening of the muscles, from the back down to the buttocks. If you’ve been feeling more and more of the pain and strain, it’s a good time to take steps to correct it as it could be symptoms of a more serious problem with the bones and joints. Here are some Pilates workouts that are effective in preventing back pain or reducing lower back pain: Back Extensions Back extensions are low-impact exercises that strengthen the lower back muscles. These improve the torso’s range of movement while correcting our posture, thus preventing back injury. How to do Pilates Back Extensions: Lie face down with your hips flat on the mat and your legs straight behind you Contract your abs and back muscles as you lift your torso and legs Hold the pose for 30 seconds, keeping your head in neutral position Lower your body down to the mat, then return to the starting position Lower your body down to the mat, then return to the starting position Repeat the movements and complete the designated number of sets Double Leg Kicks Double Leg Kicks loosen up the lower back muscles and help the body develop more flexibility. This Pilates exercise gives the hamstrings a good workout while improving mobility around the hips. How to do Pilates Double Leg Kicks: Lie down on your stomach with your legs together and straight behind you Clasp your hands behind your back, arms relaxed and face resting on one side Bend your legs as you exhale, pushing your feet three times toward the buttocks Lift your torso and bring the head to the center as you straighten the arms and legs Exhale and lower your body. Repeat the movement with the face turned to the other side Meet Your PILATES PLUS Trainers Cat...

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PILATES vs CARDIO: What works for you?

Posted by on Oct 15, 2020 in Pilates Exercises

Generally, a cardiovascular (cardio) exercise is any exercise or fitness activity that ups your heart rate and gets your heartbeat racing. Cardio exercises involve large muscle movement, working out over a sustained period to keep the heart rate to at least half of its maximum level. Having a strong and healthy cardio-vascular system means that your cells burn more fat for a sustained period, even when you’re inactive. This is because cardio workouts trigger capillaries to deliver more oxygen to the cells in your muscles. Strength training, also known as resistance training, works out the muscles using your own body weight or a tool/item/apparatus that provides resistance, like a dumbbell or weights. The goal is to increase lean muscle mass, which is great when you’re trying to lose weight. That’s because when people are losing weight, they are losing muscles along with it. Resistance training ensures that you retain a healthy level of muscle mass. With Strength Pilates, for instance, think of a body that’s lean and long like a dancer’s instead of bulky and compact like a bodybuilder’s. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity per week. And that strength exercises or resistance training be included in people’s workouts at least twice per week. BIG DISCOUNTS ON PILATES CLASSES IN SINGAPORE How Cardio Exercises Work Cardiovascular exercise is also called aerobic exercise, the purpose of which is to make the heart pump more oxygenated blood and deliver more oxygen to the muscles. Examples of aerobic exercises are those done with cardio machines usually at the gym, or Zumba and aerobics classes. Cardio workouts don’t have to be like the usual workout with the reps and sets. They could be as ordinary as biking, running, swimming, walking, or dancing. Though some people prefer a more structured program like spinning classes, an hour or two on the elliptical machines, or boxing. Overall, improving cardio fitness will make us feel fitter, more active, and less prone to stress. But there’s also a downside to a purely-cardio fitness regimen. It could lead to micro traumas in some parts—like when long-time extreme cyclists develop muscle strains or joint inflammation. For those trying to lose weight, note that high-intensity cardio burns more fat, which is denser than carbohydrate. To burn fat, muscles need more oxygen but when you work out hard and fast, you get more out of breath, so less oxygen reaches the muscles. How Strength Pilates Work What Strength Pilates does is tone your muscles—and reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass, and burn calories efficiently in the process. You can start out at a pace that you’re comfortable with and do basic routines your body is strong enough to move up to the next level.  Pilates does not over-develop some body parts and under-work...

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STRENGTH PILATES: The Body-Mind Workout that Helps You Live Your Best Life

Posted by on Jun 30, 2020 in Pilates Exercises

“I’m looking for a workout to make me stronger, but I don’t want to look bulky.” We got this enquiry from Isabelle, a 25-year-old professional. She’s been cooped up at home for months throughout the circuit-breaker period, and it’s made her sluggish. Sean also asked, “What exercise is okay for senior citizens like me?” He’s a retired corporate executive who’s worried that he’s feeling “kind of stiff and clumsy” now that he’s no longer as active as he used to be. On the other hand, Nina, 35, is bothered by “(my) bad back. I have these aches almost every day, and it’s stressing me out, especially when I’m in the office.” She’s exhausted by the time she gets home from work. It may sound like Isabelle, Sean, and Nina have different problems, but they’re all in the same situation: they can’t live life to the fullest. A healthy young adult should be brimming with energy and confidence. Senior citizens should still be able to enjoy life and move with ease. People in their 30s and 40s must keep up their strength, with passion and joy. We’ve all felt the same way at some point, regardless of age, gender, or lifestyle. So, we figured we’ll share with everyone the one solution to Isabelle’s, Sean’s, and Nina’s problems: Strength Pilates. And here’s why… To know how Pilates helped our clients, TAP HERE 1. Strength Pilates Boosts Your Energy and Keeps You Fit Walking into a Pilates studio could be intimidating, seeing all that equipment, especially the Reformer and Cadillac. At first glance, it looks like only athletes and fitness buffs can pull off the workouts, but that’s just not true. Pilates is actually a great beginner’s workout, or if it’s your first time to take up an exercise regimen. You can start out at a pace that you’re comfortable with and do basic routines your body is strong enough to move up to the next level. You can do Strength Pilates on a mat using weights or everyday items around the house like a chair or handy containers filled with water. These are low-impact exercises that work on the back and chest, butt and pelvis, and other core muscles you didn’t know could use a workout. Unlike weight training, strength-building regimens won’t bulk you up or make you look buff like bodybuilders. What Strength Pilates does is tone your muscles—and reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass, and burn calories efficiently in the process. So, if you’re like Isabelle, whose primary concern is her low energy levels, or if you just want to be healthier, look fitter, and feel better, then you made the right choice. TAP HERE to get started on your Pilates journey today! 2. Strength Pilates Makes You Nimble and Move Easily If you’re in your senior years like Sean, or you have a health condition that prevents...

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5 Awesome Benefits of Pilates Mat Exercises

Posted by on Jun 11, 2020 in Pilates Exercises

The pandemic has shown us how truly important it is to be physically and mentally healthy. Hence, it’s time to take better care of ourselves–starting with taking up a fun and fulfilling fitness program that we can commit to. One option is Pilates mat work out, which won’t only whip up the body into shape but teach the mind centering, concentration, and control. At Pilates Plus in Singapore, we recommend mat classes before moving on to workouts using different types of Pilates equipment. Mat Pilates is perfect for beginners because the reps can be adjusted to your physical capability. Plus, you’ll only need a mat, some floor space, and everyday items you can use as exercise aids. It involves floor workouts that build body strength and activate the brain’s stress-busting functions. With Pilates’ emphasis on the body/mind connection, it’s easier to grasp how toning, flexibility, coordination, and focus come together to make life easier…and just happier! So, let’s cut to the chase and tell you exactly how Pilates mat exercises can make you look great simply because you feel so good! Sign Up for Affordable Pilates Mat Classes NOW 1. Burns Fat and Calories Flabby abs, chubby arms and legs, bulky hips and backsides…these are why most of us are driven to exercise. Luckily for us, Pilates mat exercises target the body’s powerhouse—abdominal and lower back muscles, glutes, hips, and pelvic floor. While strengthening the body’s core is the goal of Pilates mat exercises, you’ll most likely burn off calories and shed excess pounds in the process. But if you want to lose weight fast, then you might want to take up running, swimming, and other cardio workouts on top of Pilates. Traditional Pilates was designed as a low-impact workout meant to build up strength gradually. Although, research shows it’s also effective in lowering BMI and calorie count, and results in a slimmer waist, flatter abs, and leaner hips too. Picture this: if you weigh about 150lbs and you’re doing beginner Pilates mat classes for 50 minutes, then you’ll shed about 175 calories. Our muscles continue burning off calories even after working out so, the longer you’re at it, the stronger and shapelier you get. 2. Makes You Look Taller We wear heels and elevator shoes to look taller because…why not? Doesn’t hurt to add a few centimeters to your height, right? In fact, Miss World 2003 Rosanna Davison credits Pilates for making her half-an-inch taller. Well, Pilates can’t make you grow actually but, with all that stretching, your spine becomes more aligned, back muscles are elongated, and the cushioning between the vertebrae gets more room to breathe. Pilates may not be able to lengthen your bones but it will correct your posture with consistent practice. These days it’s normal to spend long hours sitting at our desks or hunched over phones and tablets, which ruin our posture and...

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Take Your Workout Up a Notch with Dynamic Pilates

Posted by on Dec 9, 2019 in Pilates Exercises

Your browser does not support audio.   If you’re into intense, blood-pumping workouts then Pilates may not exactly be the first thing that comes to mind. So you’d probably be surprised to learn about Dynamic Pilates, which (in a nutshell) is the “faster and fiercer” version of Classical Pilates. However, it’s still consistent with the Pilates principles of restoring the body’s natural balance; building strength and flexibility; and preventing or reducing injury. What’s more, many of our clients here at Pilates Plus Singapore find that this version of Pilates helps them slim down, have better posture, and get lean, toned muscles faster, especially with regular, thrice-weekly workouts. Pilates at its Core—and So Much More Dynamic Pilates is similar to classic Pilates in that it features a series of controlled and precise movements meant to re-establish your natural balance. Dynamic pinpoints the waist and lower back’s core muscles, which provide support for your entire body. Both Dynamic and traditional routines likewise feature a lot of stretching. Dynamic Pilates, however, puts a lot of emphasis on improving posture and developing toned muscles in a short amount of time—hence the high level of high-powered activity. Some routines are a lot like classic Pilates combined with circuit training moves, where other muscle groups as well as the core muscles get a good workout. Anyone who switches from classic to Dynamic is bound to notice how workouts are longer, with each exercise repeated for longer periods to achieve thorough muscle fatigue. Moving the larger muscle groups such as the glutes are also given emphasis to make sure the entire body benefits. Dynamic Mat Pilates Dynamic Mat combines Joseph Pilates’ traditional mat exercises with energetic movements performed at a faster pace. You could say Dynamic incorporates all Six Principles of Movement formulated by Pilates himself: Breath, Concentration, Control, Centering, Precision and Flow, making it more challenging and more fun (if you’re the upbeat type) than classic Pilates.  The real challenge lies in being able to blend each movement into a seamless, continuous whole while exercising your entire body. Exercises during a typical Dynamic Mat class include: Abdominal series Kneeling Leg circles Planking, front leg pulls, push-ups, stars, side bends, twists, side kicks Quadrupeds Rolling like a ball, seal rolls, boomerangs and open leg rockers Roll overs, control balances, corkscrews, jack knifes Roll ups Saws Single leg and shoulder bridging Spine twists and stretches Standing balances, squats and roll downs Swan, swimming, and rocking extensions While Mat Pilates generally uses your own body weight, Dynamic Mat Pilates may also add the use of other exercise equipment such as flex bands, foam rollers, hand weights and mini stability balls.  Dynamic Reformer Pilates To take your workout to the next level after the next level, Dynamic Pilates can be done on a Reformer, which is a special apparatus used for Pilates exercises. This apparatus, which looks a lot...

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Too Busy To Stay Fit? Try These Exercises!

Posted by on Apr 29, 2019 in Pilates Exercises

It is a weeknight and you’re in your jammies feeling tired, bloated, but wanting desperately to get back into the habit of exercising again. Perhaps you want to get yourself back in the gym but the reason that there’s simply no time. If you’ve found yourself on the couch scrolling through Netflix every night, then you definitely have some time to get a workout! With all the demands of work and family most of us need to get through every day, it is no wonder we have some difficulty sticking with an exercise routine long enough to see results. Often, we just throw our hands up in exasperation and think ‘why bother?’ when really, all it takes is a shift in perspective and one or two lifestyle changes to get us back out there reaching our fitness goals. If you have been living a sedentary lifestyle lately, dismantling the bad habits you picked up – sitting more, moving less – may seem like an uphill battle, but one tiny change three to four times a week can make the task at hand seem less herculean and more of a fun break to your day. Exercise doesn’t have to take up an entire afternoon to be effective and you don’t need fancy clothes or equipment to get back in the saddle, so to speak. Here are four easy ways to get you started on your road to wellness. 1. Walking Walking is, quite simply, the easiest way to get more active. You don’t need special equipment and it can be done anywhere. According to a Harvard health article, walking even at a casual pace of two miles per hour at 5 ½ miles per week reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and the risk of dying by 32%. Walking doesn’t have to be a slog either. If you enjoy window-shopping, walk around the mall a few times. You get the perks of a cardio workout and spend time looking at things you like! If you favor the great outdoors, hit a park near your home or walk around a new neighborhood. Who knows what interesting things you may discover during your stroll? Maybe you find a new café or restaurant you never knew existed but now need to try, or you find quaint, instagrammable buildings you would never have found if you weren’t on foot. The possibilities are endless! 2. Desk stretches and simple body exercises If you’re really pressed for time and need quick midday solutions, why not bring exercise to work? We all need to find fluid and easy movement in our bodies and stretching is a great way to start getting the blood flowing again. Just three to five minutes during your lunch or other breaks can work wonders. Gentle stretches by your desk can keep you limber and give your body more range of...

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