Most exercisers fall into two groups. Hit it hard with power exercises or chill laid back stretches. Your body is a very versatile machine that needs to be challenged with multiple modalities to reach peak performance.
We need the muscular strength and benefits that can be achieved in the weight room. Muscle mass boosts our metabolism, which increases energy and helps us burn more calories and control our weight. It helps build strong bones, which can prevent osteoporosis. It stabilizes blood sugar levels, preventing diabetes and improving insulin sensitivity. Weight training can also reduce the risk of cancer in your body.
We also need mobility throughout our body so we can move without pain or muscular tightness. Muscular tightness can restrict movement, leading to compensatory movement patterns and injury. A well balanced Pilates program will work towards muscular balance at any given joint. Are your hamstrings tight? You may need to look at strengthening your glutes, abdominals and hip flexors to bring better alignment to the lumbar spine and to protect it. Are your head and shoulders rounded forward? You need to strengthen your upper back muscles, rotator cuff muscles and the deep flexors of the neck. Do you struggle with overuse or repetitive injuries to your shoulders, hips or knees? A well trained Pilates instructor can help you address muscular imbalances at these joints so alignment is improved and strains and injuries are reduced.
We ask a lot of our bodies on a daily basis. With a little self care each and everyday, we can stave off a slew of sickness and disease. By working on strength, stability and mobility we will be able to enjoy an active lifestyle that is pain free, while reducing the risk of injury.