by Dawn Lefebvre, BScN, BScKin
Do you ever feel that when you walk out of the studio, you lose all of the work you put in here? It can be difficult to translate everything you learn at the studio into your daily life. Even if you’re completely focused and put as much energy into your workouts as you can, you still need to spend time integrating what you learn here into the rest of your life. Pilates will train your body to automatically move better, but the more intention and focus you can bring to all of your movements, the safer you’ll be and the faster you’ll improve!
Even though most of the Pilates exercises don’t have you doing exact replicas of your daily activities, there are lots of parallels between Pilates and things you do outside the studio. Think of bending over to pick something up, and what it would be like to move functionally through your spine to get up and down. Or if every time you were sitting, you focused on having the same posture we work towards in seated work at the studio. Can you stay up on your sit bones, or do you tend to slouch back? Where does your head usually sit – is it in line with your spine, or hanging forward?
The next time you’re working on your computer or driving your car, try sitting up as tall as you can, keeping the back of your neck lengthened – see how much taller and more centered you feel!
Other aspects of Pilates, like core engagement and breathing, should be part of everything we do! If you’re carrying heavy suitcases, think of how much stronger and more supported your movement would be if you engaged your core and remembered to keep breathing the whole way from your car to your house!
Think of how you get out of bed in the morning. Do you heave yourself out, sheering at the neck as you drag your head along with you? What would it be like to protect your neck the way you would in a curl up, and get up to sitting safely? Your head weighs A LOT, and being able to support it well can make a huge difference in your neck and spine health.
Many things that we do seem so basic, but even a simple movement like getting up from laying down uses almost all of our muscles, changes the positions of multiple joints, and takes our spine through rotation and flexion. Not so simple when you break it down! When you add in jumping, throwing, or wielding a golf club, you can see how much more focus you need to have to keep your body moving safely through our daily activities.
Whether you’re sitting, gardening, or playing a complex sport, Pilates can assist you in moving better and more safely. The core support that Pilates builds is the basis for all movement, and is a great head start to keeping your body healthy and performing its best. Even if you just work on awareness of your spine’s position in all of your activities and supporting it using the breath and core, that’s a great start!
Watch for our new workshop on Everyday Pilates, coming this Fall!