The word is out about Pilates- it works to promote spinal health! However, if you have serious spinal conditions be sure to talk to your doctor first before starting a new exercise program.
Because the spine is one of the most integral parts of our body, it is also important that you seek out a qualified instructor. If you are a Pilates instructor, you can learn to modify and adapt your classes for spinal health when you take our Pilates for Common Orthopaedic Conditions Course here at Future Fit Training.
Pilates mat exercises are highly adaptable and accessible to anyone because they can be done anywhere. You can do them at the gym, in the park, or at home. You can squeeze them into any workout! For a healthy spine, it is recommended to do 20 minutes of specific Pilates exercises at least 3 times per week.
However, it is always best to learn what exercises will be best for your conditions under a qualified instructor, such as someone who has completed our program. This way the exercises can be tailored to your needs and you can be corrected on any mistakes or alignment issues in the moment. Eventually, you can take them home to practice after some time with a teacher to continue improving or preventing your condition.
When looking at spinal health, we have to consider the health of the muscles and tissues surrounding the spine. It is important that both the back and core muscles stay strong, while mobility and flexibility are also emphasized to keep the body limber. A balance in these characteristics is the foundation of a healthy spine, which Pilates exercise promotes.
The classic Pilates exercise will strengthen core which in turn stabilizes the back muscles. Bend the knees into the chest and curl the head up to the knees. Extend the arms down by the sides and then extend the legs to a 45-degree angle. Draw the belly muscles inward and begin pumping the arms up and down as you inhale for 5 counts and exhale for 5 counts. Repeat this 10 times.
This exercise emphasizes spinal articulation, one of the key components of the Pilates exercise regimen. It helps to strengthen the core, using the abdominal muscles to massage the spine and keep the vertebrae supple. To perform this exercise, lie down on the back with the legs extended the arms overhead. On an inhale, begin to reach the arms up and lift the head. As you exhale, slowly peel the spine off the mat one vertebra at a time. Keep the spine rounded at the top when you sit up with the belly muscles drawing inward. Inhale and begin to roll back; exhale to continuing rolling all the way back down to the starting position. This exercise can be adapted to start from seated, you can then roll back to where you feel able to maintain the control developing your range of movement gradually as your strength develops.
The Shoulder Bridge is specifically a spine strengthening exercise that also promotes a mobile spine through spinal articulation. What is great about this exercise is that not only does it help promote a healthy spine, it also targets the abdominals and hips for overall back health. This exercise is performed lying down on the back with the knees bent and feet on the floor. Place the arms by your sides and on a inhale, slowly begin to roll the spine off the floor, lifting the hips. Try to feel each vertebrae lifting one by one. Roll back down on an exhale.
To learn more about these exercises and how you can modify and adapt your Pilates classes for healthy spines, sign up for our Pilates for Common Orthopaedic conditions today.