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How does Pilates help with stress and anxiety?

In our modern society, there is a vast amount of environmental information being overly presented to us. COVID-19 has changed our way of life overnight. The fear and language being communicated with the masses is stressful. Continuous stressful stimuli can exhaust the bodies autonomic nervous system (ANS).


The ANS controls many of our life sustaining functions by controlling our involuntary body functions such as heartbeat, blood flow, thermoregulation, breath and digestion. The ANS also works with the mind thus affecting our emotions and our behavior.


How we interpret, prioritize and decided on such environmental information is communicated through our nervous system to our brain. The brain prioritizes the information by three main systems: propioception (perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body), vestibular (the ability to maintain balance and posture) and visual (sight). Such information is communicated back to our body's mechanics.


Joesph Pilates created an exercise system that can isolate muscles and teach whole body, functional movement. He created a path for the human body to reach a level of excellence in flexibility and strength. He also created apparatuses to help fine tune the body and help keep it at its optimal level. The Pilates System teaches how to "develop the body uniformly, correct wrong posture, restore physical vitality, invigorate the mind and elevate the spirit." Joesph Pilates, Return to Life through Contrology


One of the Pilates principles is relaxation. The idea of relaxation is something that our society doesn't prioritize very well however, as ancient forms of health care/self care from ayurveda to yoga teaches us how such rejuvenating powers of rest creates better levels of awareness fueling more creativity and being better at healing ourselves from our complex and emotional lives.


With breath, rest and mindfulness, one has the ability to take better care of themselves, will give them more of an understanding on how to respect their bodies and how important it is to really relax.


Understanding how Pilates can help someone acquire better breathing patterns will directly affect their overall health and well being and how such breathing techniques can lower stress, lower and or raise blood pressure, improve aerobic capacity and calm the mind and spirit.


Pilates teaches whole body movement and how movement in itself can be a form of relaxation. Pilates exercises are rhythmic, breath driven movements. Such rhythmic movement has been proven to release endorphins which can create a feeling of well being. Pilates can also improve not only body mechanics but the neurological, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, and myofascial systems.


When these systems along with proper body mechanics are tuned optimally, one will be able to deal with stress better, recover from illness, injury or hard physical training.