Pilates For Pregnant Women
The Pilates “method” is an exercise system focused on improving flexibility, strength, and body awareness, without necessarily building bulk. Pilates has many benefits for health and this is excellent for pregnant women. Pilates helps to improve our balance, our posture, our muscle control and crucially the internal mid-section muscles. Pilates is resistance exercise, not aerobic (cardio), although the heart rate will certainly rise for a deconditioned individual. For pregnant women who need a lot of muscular strength when the big day finally comes this latter point is vitally useful, but at the same time it is also very handy for help women to right their posture after months of having an extra weight inside of them to carry around which can cause damage to the posture and hurt the spine as a result.
At the same time as pilates is great for toning up the body it can help to ensure that your physique more quickly returns to the lithe and agile look you no doubt enjoyed before, and can be useful afterwards to help you get back to normal too.
Pilates involves a range of gentle movements which makes it perfect for pregnant women (doing rugby to stay in shape might not be such a good idea on the other hand). It is similar to look at to yoga for the untrained eye at least but is actually quite different. It’s also worth bearing in mind that while mostly women attend yoga, it is nevertheless perfectly acceptable for men to go and they can also stand to get a lot out of it – so if you want some companionship don’t be afraid to bring your guy along.
When you start Pilates you will first be shown some basic moves. The warm up session will last a long time and this is part of the session. You will also be crucially taught some ‘neutral positions’ which you will return to between moves. These neutral positions teach you correct posture when standing and also how to lie down correctly to make it as healthy for your spine as possible. When standing you will be told to roll your shoulders back and this will naturally cause you to straight your back and to puff out your chest. This will also cause you to raise your head. This creates a range of positive changes in your body and it will mean that you are causing much less damage to your back and that you look taller and prouder too as a result.
When lying down you will likewise be shown how to lie so that you have a small space under the small of your back that is just big enough to fit a fist in, and this is a very natural position. It is from here that you will learn to do sit ups, but to do so in a way slightly different to what you’ve been taught previously. Here you feel each part of your spine stretch as you ‘curl’ your self up, and you control your breathing in order to engage the abdominal muscles and the internal muscles in the movement. It’s a far more difficult and effective sit up and one that will help you to train those crucial muscles. This is just one example of an exercise from pilates, and there are many more, all of which can help you with your pregnancy in many ways.