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Pilates for stress management

pilates for stress management
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Joseph Pilates famously described his innovative exercise method as being, “the complete co-ordination of the body, mind and spirit.”Pilates for stress management is a perfect way to relax and learn more about your mind and body.  Modern life can be stressful and we all go through stages of feeling it to at least some degree.  Exercise in general is one of the best ways to beat stress by boosting the body’s natural feel-good chemicals and reducing levels of stress hormones.  Pilates goes one step further in creating an exercise programme to bust stress.  As well as releasing mood-enhancing endorphins, Pilates focuses on relaxation, which can be a vital element in beating stress, anxiety and tension.

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a gentle, non-aerobic workout that aims to condition both the body and mind.  It is a very safe form of exercise and is popular with people with sports injuries who want to stay fit while they recover as well as older people and pregnant women.  A combination of mats and apparatus are used in Pilates, making it something you can learn in a class with others and also practice at home on your own.  Muscle intensity, core strength, good posture and toning the body are all well-known benefits of Pilates but other advantages include reducing stress levels through relaxation.

The art of breathing

Many relaxation techniques focus on breathing and Pilates is no different.  Breathing well allows the blood to pump more oxygen around the body, stimulating circulation and making you feel more invigorated.  Deep breathing is a fundamental aspect of the Pilates exercise method.  As with most exercise programmes, those doing Pilates are instructed to exhale at the point that involves most exertion.  This provides a natural rhythm for the body to work with.  As well as helping the body from a physical point of view, deep breathing also helps calm the mind.  Concentrating on our breathing allows us to empty our minds and focus on one task, reducing stress and providing a relaxing effect.

ilates for stress management

Movement and strength

Despite the focus on breathing, Pilates also demands concentration on movements.  Every exercise you do requires your full attention and so all the niggles of every day life are put out of your mind, at least for the duration of the session.  It also helps improve mental stamina and focus.  Setting aside some time each day to create a peaceful environment and concentrate on breathing and movement allows you some all-important time to yourself, during which you don’t have to worry about anything.

By building core strength, Pilates improves posture, leading to a reduction in aches and pains and in turn a better night’s sleep. Pilates encourages the relaxation of tense muscles and promotes positivity through working towards a calm body with no tightness or stiffness.  The combination of gentle exercise and some time spent calming the mind improve the quality of sleep and reduce fatigue.

Pilates is great for beginners and fitness fanatics alike and with celebrity devotees including Madonna, Claire Danes, Andrew Flintoff and Jennifer Aniston, you can be sure you’re in good company.

 

 

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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