Need to reduce your stress levels? How Pilates improves your ability to handle stress.

For hundreds of thousands of years, stress has served as our body’s natural warning system.  When our caveman ancestors were exposed to potentially life-threatening events, it was stress that ignited their fight or flight response. Today, this fight or flight response still helps us manage threatening events.

While a small amount of stress can be a good thing, too much can have a detrimental effect on your health. A 2014 study by the ABS found Australians are stressing more than ever. This can lead to increased problems with concentration, depression, back pain, muscle tension, insomnia, eating, immunity, and digestion.

With today’s 24/7 world creating increased financial, social and emotional stress, we look at ways Pilates can help bring calm and balance back to your life. Allowing you to stress less and minimise anxiety-related health risks.

How Does Physio prescribed Pilates Reduce Stress and Anxiety?

One of the best ways to manage our stress levels is by taking care of our mind and body.

Physiotherapist prescribed Pilates exercise, provides a safe space for the body to move, strengthen and release tension. It also provides an opportunity for the mind to relax, focus on the present and achieve a sense of quiet. Similarly, breathing and concentration  – help oxygenate the blood which triggers the brain to relax and calm.

Physiotherapy tailored Pilates exercise can also help manage stress in the following ways:

  1. Making you happy; Releasing the endorphin hormone (also known as the “feel good” hormone), gives you a natural high.
  2. Allowing you to meditate; Providing a meditative space for the mind to focus inward and quiet other thoughts.
  3. Building your strength; By challenging your body, using intentional, fluid movements to gain strength, increase joint stability, improve flexibility, increase balance and improve body awareness.
  4. Increasing brain fitness; Earning a new skill is important for brain fitness, challenging us to use our body and mind at the same time.

Personally, I choose to balance the mental and physical stresses of motherhood and running a business by participating in the small group Clinical classes offered at Inspire Physiotherapy and Pilates twice weekly, one mat and one reformer circuit session.

Together with sufficient sleep and a clean diet, the physical and mental effects of my Pilates practice play a huge role in managing stress and allowing me to perform at my best every day.

In the words of Joseph Pilates himself:

"A body free from nervous tension and fatigue, is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well-balanced mind, fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living."

If you are keen to give Physio based Pilates a try, book your spot in one of our Dee Why studio classes by calling 9972 3304.

Written By Leanne Hughes | Principal Physiotherapist

Inspire Physiotherapy and Pilates, Dee Why

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