Introduction to Pilates

Developing and maintaining awareness and strength of the deep core muscles for women over 50 is paramount

When I run my small group mat Pilates classes I always place an emphasis on the pelvic floor muscle, starting the class with a standing pelvic floor exercise routine I learnt from a specialist physiotherapist I knew a decade ago.

In this post, I am going to talk about why I focus on pelvic floor strength and maintenance

Back in my 20’s and 30’s after the birth of each of my four children, I was given pelvic floor exercises to perform by the hospital health care practitioners and that was when I became aware of that muscle. I was told that it was important to keep my pelvic floor strong but when my kids were young I was too time poor to devote very much attention to myself and my personal needs and I really didn’t understand the long term implications of keeping this muscle strong and healthy.

It amazes me how many forces the body can withstand. I gave birth to my first three children in under four years so for around three years I had one in the tummy and one on the hip! Plus all the heavy lifting involved with young children including prams and groceries in and out of the car, plus house work, gardening etc …..

It became apparent to me as I entered my later 40’s (just over a decade ago) that I should focus my attention to my personal wellness which included attending regular Pilates classes for core awareness and activation.

Why is it important to activate and strengthen the pelvic floor muscle?

The pelvic floor is one of the deep inner core stability muscles of the lower spine. It is the one muscle of that group that we can consciously activate and control (think of the cue ‘squeezing and drawing up’ when we have a full bladder). It’s like a ‘Sling’ stretching accross the pelvis holding the pelvic organs in place.

Strengthening the pelvic floor will help to

  • Improve bladder and bowel control
  • Reduce risk of prolapse
  • Improved sexual function
  • Increase confidence and quality of life

Why should you practice Pilates?

  • Activate and strengthen core muscles
  • Help to correct postural alignment
  • Help to alleviate back and neck pain
  • Improve balance
  • Potentially prevent injury during weight training exercises
  • Improve functional fitness
  • Promote heightened mind/body awareness
Activating and strengthening my core while performing a plank

Performing correct Pilates movements, either on the mat or Reformer Machine offers a wonderful addition to your fitness and wellness regimen. As well as strengthening core and many other muscles, it encourages awareness to mindful movement which underpins other fitness practices like HIIT and weight training and may also help to prevent injury during many physical exercise persuits.

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