The benefits of Pilates include better flexibility, improved core strength and dramatic changes to body shape. But did you know Pilates can help give you a healthy heart? Here’s four benefits Pilates has on heart health from Platinum Pilates
One of the biggest reasons we are so enamoured by the charms of Pilates here at Platinum Pilates, is because the benefits of Pilates go way deeper than just the aesthetic effects.
Pilates has a huge physiological influence on your health and on your heart. Your heart is surrounded by tissue called pericardium. Which is basically a cocoon that envelopes your heart to keep it safe, supported and supplied. It also keeps it supplied with all the nutrients it needs to thrive. Layers of the pericardium attach to layers of fascia that attach to the diaphragm and the back of the breast bone. Which means exercise that improves your breathing function and works your diaphragm will directly affect the heart.
Pilates teaches you to breathe better
Breathing is controlled by our autonomic nervous system. Which is great because it means we don’t actually have to think about every breath we take. But learning to improve your breathing pattern can make a huge difference to your quality of life. In class we help you visualise your diaphragm. We also use imagery to help expand the depth of your breath. This in turn improves your breathing function over time.
Pilates mobilizes the rib cage
The functions of the rib cage are protection, support and respiration. Whilst we often imagine our rib cage to be a strong immobile and fixed, there is actually a huge amount of movement possible. The tissue that connects the heart and lungs to the ribs can be influenced by movement of the ribs and spine.So adding some glorious side bends and twists into your Pilates class will feed your heart and lungs with incredible benefits.
Pilates can be aerobic
If you’ve never been to one of our Cardio-Jump Board classes you might be surprised to learn that Pilates could be classed as aerobic exercise. We have specifically designed this class to add a cardio element where we raise the heart rate using exercises on the Jump Board. It’s technically a HIIT class, which means High Intensity Interval Training. Which basically mean the heart and lungs have to work much harder than in a normal Pilates class. Aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to improve heart health and reduce heart disease according The Irish Heart Foundation.
Pilates reduces stress
If stress itself is a risk factor for heart disease, it could be because chronic stress exposes the body to persistently elevated levels of stress hormones. There have also been studies which suggest that stress changes the way blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attack. And whilst everyone responds differently to stress, sometimes the actual effect is not apparent until the body physically breaks down. This is where Pilates comes in. We teach slow deep breathing techniques, which stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. In addition, deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange. This combination creates an environment that reduces overall stress levels on a cellular level. Not to mention the psychological benefits of taking a class.
For more information visit platinumpilates.ie