A common question we often get at Re:Gen is, “Why Pilates?” There are, after all, a multitude of other workout programs. We’re more educated than we ever have been on the subject of physical fitness, and there are a daunting amount of programs out there that all serve unique purposes. And yet, Pilates, a method that’s over one hundred years old, endures.
If we had to name a single benefit that Pilates affords (though they are many), we’d probably single out core strength as the most compelling reason to get into Pilates. Core strength has a profound impact on nearly every aspect of your daily movement, and we would argue that it’s one of the most underrated muscle groups in the world of workout routines.
Pilates just so happens to be a workout that prioritizes core strength more than anything else. Yes, Pilates teaches you muscle control. Yes, it greatly improves your flexibility. But more than anything, it targets your core.
Why is this important? Your core is responsible for almost all the movement of your torso, and you’d be surprised at how a weak core might be affecting you, even if you don’t know it.
A Weak Core Leads to Endless Back Pain
We’ve heard it over and over. “I’m in my early 20s, I shouldn’t have back pain already!” And yet, here we are, and countless people in the prime of their life are afflicted with back pain on the regular. As it turns out, this isn’t because you’re getting old and decrepit — it might just mean that you haven’t been working your core enough.
Let’s just put it this way — your torso is heavy, and there is only one group of muscles holding it up, all day, every day, and yes, it’s your core. Your lower back muscles are actually part of your core, and they’re tasked with propping up your torso all day, every day. If they’re not strong enough to do the job, the spine doesn’t get the support it needs, and your muscles start to ache. And, of course, this can cause fatigue in other muscles who have to overcompensate for what your core isn’t doing, which can also lead to pains in the upper back.
There are many potential causes of back pain, and it’s doesn’t always point to a weak core, but in the overwhelming majority of cases, it’s the main cause.
We were tempted to group this in with the last point, but it has enough of an impact on your health and happiness to deserve its own mention. Basically, one problem leads to another, and if you’re suffering from back pain as a result of a weak core, you’re more than likely also afflicted with bad posture.
Imagine extending your arm straight, and holding a five-pound dumbbell in front of you for as long as you can. For a while, it won’t be a hard task; five pounds is pretty manageable. But it’s not something you’ll be able to sustain forever, and after a long enough period, your arm will crave rest. You’ll release it from its straight-out position and it will fall to your side into a position that requires less exertion.
This is what happens on a daily basis with your core muscles. Your core is tasked with holding up your upper body, but this requires significant strength, and maintaining a true and proper posture is sort of like what happens when you hold that five-pound weight in front of you. After a while, it will fatigue and default to a less strenuous position, which is why you slouch.
Why good posture is important:
- Good posture is physically attractive
- Good posture typically results in a big confidence boost (often due in part to the point above)
- Good posture reduces or eliminates back pain
- Good posture reduces the likelihood of long-term back problems
Balance and Body Stability
Aside from supporting your back and facilitating your posture, your core muscles are responsible for supporting basically all other types of movement in your body. Almost every movement involves your core in one way or another.
Your core is instrumental in your body’s balance. While we don’t normally give conscious thought to how well we balance, given that we walk on two feet on the daily, this might seem inconsequential, but when it comes to how well you feel every day, it’s all the little things that add up. If your core is constantly working overtime to do the functions it should be able to do with ease, your body will notice.
This is evident in all kinds of everyday movements. Anytime you bend over, you’re working your core. Every time you move your torso, you’re working your core. Even movements that rely on muscle groups utilize your core strength in one way or another. When you throw a punch, you have to angle your torso ever so slightly for it to connect. When you do any kind of kick, you’re relying on your core to be able to balance yourself properly and keep your body stiff so it doesn’t buckle as your leg moves outwards.
In other words, increasing your core strength makes you feel stronger in just about every single other movement that your body is capable. Running, walking, swimming, dancing, you name it. If your core is strong, all of these things will be easier.
Some things you can look forward to by increasing your core strength with Pilates:
- Being able to sit up in bed in the morning: One giveaway that your core is suffering is when you wake up and you have to flail around or prop yourself up with your arms just to sit up straight from a lying position. Oof!
- Being on the path to a six-pack: Your abdominal muscles, of course, are a key component of your core strength. While we’re not going to say that you’ll just grow a six pack from doing Pilates, the bottom line is that you’ll be laying a solid foundation that will make the path to a six-pack much, much easier.
- Being better in literally all physical activity: We’re not joking when we say that a strong core plays a part in virtually every one of your movements. If you work your core through Pilates and truly build it up, you’ll be better at everything, and you might even pick up new physical hobbies, such as dancing. And between the two of us, let’s just say that a strong core is useful in the bedroom.
Are you ready to get started with an incredible workout program that will be a massive boon to both your physical and mental health? We have seen countless of our students transform their lives through Pilates, and we know that you can do it too.
We’re not lying when we say that a strong core can alter your life for the better on a profound level — and that’s just the beginning of what Pilates can offer you. Are you ready to get started? Contact Re:Gen Pilates today! We have several Pilates classes to choose from, and we also offer other fun programs, such as Barre, spin, and yoga. We hope to see you soon!