Pilates: Functional Fitness

Exercise is essential for maintaining your health, but your workout routine also helps you to function well in your daily life.

Being fit lets you go about your day taking care of your house, walking the dog, doing yard work, climbing stairs, carrying groceries and all the other physical acts that you do without feeling out of breath, sore or weak. These mundane movements are actually quite complex and require synchronization of the movement’s force, firing patterns, joint stability and other supporters.

Pilates gives you functional fitness, or the strength, stamina and flexibility you need to manage your daily tasks.

Proper biomechanics is one of the keys to getting through an active day without excessive strain. Pilates is a great form of exercise that gives you “functional fitness,” or the strength, stamina and flexibility you need to manage your daily tasks. Pilates exercises are total movements, not just individual acts that are unconnected. The movements train your body to handle your everyday activities. 

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These activities require the ability to maintain proper mechanical alignment through joint stability. Proper joint stability is achieved by deeper support from structural and postural muscles that activate and fire on cue, not by gross force production in large powerful muscles. In Pilates exercises, maintaining proper alignment throughout the exercise is the challenge in order to condition the dynamic stabilizing system to effectively perform daily posture and movement. For this your spine needs to be able to move smoothly in all planes, not just forward and back, but in right to left and twisting motions as well.

Pay attention the next time you are just simply going for a walk. Along your walk you may need to walk uphill or downhill, reach for the street crossing button, turn your head to look at a car driving by, lift your head upward to see a bird in a tree. All of these motions require the spine to move in many different directions. A good Pilates program will move the spine along multiple planes achieving the well-balanced spine within your body.

Does your current workout regime support your functional fitness? If not, you can feel better all day, no matter what the day demands, by once a week adding Pilates to your routine. You may even start to notice your ability to do all of your other favorite activities are less demanding and more fun.

What challenges do you face everyday that could help you be more fit? Share your ideas and suggestions in Comments so we can all learn from each other.

 

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