5 Anti Aging Properties of Pilates

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Is exercise making you age faster?  With all we do to keep ourselves fit and trim we may actually be doing more harm than good. In 1982 I took my first Pilates lesson. Several years later I met my teacher and mentor Romana Kryzanowska. She was almost 70 years old and moved better than most fit 20 and 30-year-olds. I studied with her for a decade and was continually amazed by her level of physical agility.

"Pilates is the fountain of youth" she proclaimed one day.  

I was only in my 20's the first time I heard her say it. Now, nearly 3 decades later, I can attest to this fact. Pilates truly keeps your body and spirit young. And it does so in very specific ways. Want to know how? Sure you do. Here are just some of the ways Pilates is a veritable fountain of youth, in no particular order.

  1. Breathing. Pilates teaches you to breathe fully and deeply. Oxygen saturation to your cells has been shown to improve energy as well as cognitive abilities. That means no more tired sluggish forgetfulness regardless of your age.
  2. Full Body Exercise. Pilates eschews high repetitions favoring low reps and good form with each move. You'll avoid poor body mechanics and repetitive stress injuries like you would see with high repetition and cardio based exercise. Addressing all body parts equally keeps the body symmetrically strengthened and mobile for decades.
  1. Complete Range of Motion. Each movement in Pilates promotes full range of motion of the joints. Such exercise lubricates joints and preserves healthy tissues for the long haul. Maintaining the ability to sit, stand, kneel and bend is key to longevity and well-being. By contrast, if you were to indoor cycle exclusively over the long-term you may seriously limit your spinal range of motion and tighten your chest and shoulders as well. Tight bodies limit movements. When your movement is limited you become more sedentary and the aging process accelerates. Perform your Pilates Mat daily and avoid this cycle all too commonly associated with aging.
  1. Alignment. Pilates teaches you to work within a safe frame and strengthens the body symmetrically with each exercise. Real life happens to all of us. We drive on one side. We carry bags and children on one side. Our workouts should counter our daily activities and compensate for asymmetries we impose on ourselves. Golf is a great game but hardly works the body evenly. Keeping your body well-aligned staves off injuries, and poor motor patterns a hallmark of aging. Forget Arthritis and knee and hip replacements too.
  2. Transitions. My favorite anti-aging element. For the everyday person, injuries happen when we transition from one activity to another. Often without us even being aware. Pilates training focuses in on transitions between moves and within moves, training the body and the mind to control your movements no matter what. With less haphazard moves, you'll avoid unwanted incidents and injuries. Less medical intervention will most certainly keep you youthful.

All exercise has benefits but many exercise routines fall short of full body wellness and taken in large doses, many conventional workouts go too far and leave the body prone to injuries and disorders. Certain exercise can result in over-training and other routines under serve your body with minimal benefit.

Finding the right balance of training without exposing the body to sustained inflammatory processes, or neglecting key elements of wellness is a challenge. Pilates exercises, well delivered, can promote the perfect balance of training for optimal daily human performance. If you believe as I do that the fountain of youth means being as active as possible for as long as possible, the Pilates certainly delivers.

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