At Re:Gen Pilates, we’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about the many benefits that one can gain from regular Pilates workouts. But one that we haven’t talked about much is posture. While a good posture isn’t a guaranteed result from doing Pilates, it is something that is very likely to improve, since you’re strengthening the muscles which make that possible.
Pilates workouts put their primary focus on improving core strength. Of the many muscle groups that are worked in a Pilates workout, the core by far gets the most attention. And there’s a good reason for this — having a strong core facilitates almost every other bodily movement, and having a weak core does the opposite.
Your posture is a big part of this — your core muscles prop up your entire upper body, so if they’re weak, it tends to result in slouching. By doing Pilates, you’re strengthening that whole part of your body, which means that your posture will most certainly improve as long as you’re putting some effort into it. Want to know why this is a big deal? Here are a few reasons:
Good Posture Reduces Back Pain
Ah, back pain. If you don’t know the feeling, we’d like to meet you, because you surely must be some kind of demigod. The truth is, back pain is pretty much an inevitability, no matter how healthy you keep yourself, but its severity and frequency depends largely on your lifestyle. Strong, active, healthy people may only experience back pain when they sleep wrong or put undue stress on their body through activities like heavy lifting. But for those with a weak core, back pain might be a constant thorn that never seems to go away.
Well, there’s some good news — a good posture can significantly reduce back pain, particularly in the lower area. To put it simply, your upper body depends on a certain set of muscles to hold itself up. If they aren’t strong enough for the job, other muscle groups will pick up the slack — but since they’re not meant to do that, it’ll put strain on them. Your lower back is one of those areas of your body that suffers from poor posture.
Better posture isn’t guaranteed to improve back pain, because there are countless issues that can cause it, which may be unrelated to your core strength. But it certainly won’t hurt!
Good Posture Lessens Neck Strain
Speaking of bodily pain, have you ever felt like your neck weighs a thousand pounds? Every day? Yeah, you might have a posture problem. Countless people suffer from tired neck strain every day, and others experience it as chronic pain.
When you have bad posture, it almost always results in your head slouching forward much farther than it should. This puts tension on your spine, and if you do it for long enough, your muscles get used to the position and it becomes difficult to hold your head up the way you’re supposed to.
A common chiropractic treatment is to evaluate one’s posture and determine the “effective weight” of their head. The average head weighs anywhere between 9-12 pounds, but with poor posture, it can have a burden on your spine that equates to much more than that. If your posture is bad enough, your head can have an effective weight of 45-50 pounds. In other words, as far as your spine is concerned, your head could weigh five times more than usual. By improving your core strength and aligning your neck correctly, this problem can go away.
Good Posture Increases Confidence
This isn’t necessarily a guarantee, because only you have control over what makes you more confident, but generally speaking, good posture is usually a road to improved confidence. Why? Because good posture almost always leads to a better appearance.
Whether people are aware of it or not, someone with good posture is usually considered to be more conventionally attractive than someone who slouches. While there are, of course, many other factors that go into one’s attractiveness, the bottom line is that improving your posture is a good way to improve your looks.
When people improve their image, it often results in complements, and it’s also something that the person themselves can see in the mirror. It feels good! It’s not shallow to care about how you look, and when you’re standing up straight with a good posture, it’s something that makes you feel more bold. When you know that it’s also turning you into a more eligible bachelor(ette), it’s hard not to feel a little more confident than you were before!
Good Posture Improves Spine Health
While bad posture does cause back pain from strained muscles, this is a short-term problem that only exists for as long as the muscles aren’t strong enough to carry the load. But if you slouch for long enough, a more serious problem slowly forms — your spine can actually change its shape from being compressed for so long.
While muscle-related back pain is fixable through working out, you have more serious problems when your spine starts to compress. Poor posture can push your spinal discs harder than nature intended, and bad spinal alignment can lead to constricted blood vessels and pinched nerves, which are much harder to fix than weak muscles.
If you start improving your posture now through core workouts such as Pilates, you can prevent your spine from permanently adjusting to years of slouching. The best day to start was yesterday — the second best is today!
Good Posture Improves Your Airways
Did you know that bad posture could be affecting the way you breathe? That’s right — when you constantly slouch, you could actually be reducing the efficacy of your airways. Why is this important? Well, aside from the fact that it’s always nice when it’s easier to breathe, it means that your organs and brain are getting more oxygen.
Oxygen essentially powers the entire human body, and if we don’t have it for even a few minutes, we can die on the spot. Conversely, our muscles, organs, and brain often perform better the more of it that we get. So if you’ve unwittingly had reduced airways for years and they suddenly open up a little bit from better posture, you might find yourself feeling a whole lot better — both physically and mentally.
Pilates Classes in Prosper, TX
Do you struggle with a weak posture? This is something you can change! And one of the best ways to do it is to improve your core strength. At Re:Gen Pilates, we offer Pilates classes on a regular basis, and anyone in Prosper and the surrounding areas is invited to come! Want to stop feeling weak in the most important region of your body? Check out our class schedule and contact us today if you have any questions about our program. Hope to see you soon!