The physical gains that Pilates can provide are well-documented. You might be surprised to learn that Pilates’ mental health benefits are equally valuable.
Today, more and more people are realizing how important it is to lead a healthy lifestyle. But being healthy is about more than just making sure you’re eating nutritious foods, and the idea of wellness even goes beyond exercising every day. Health is also about your mental state and making sure that your brain is healthy and functioning correctly. You probably won’t be shocked to learn that Pilates can certainly whip your body into shape, but you might be amazing at just how much it also gives your brain a major workout. Here are some of the ways that Pilates can improve your mental health and emotional sense of well-being.
Even huge problems end up being smaller when you’re able to think about them with an open mind. Pilates classes give you a chance to clear your mind while focusing on a challenging activity that puts you into a flow-like state. In this way, you can set your problems aside for a time. Pilates can help you deal with problems of all sizes and resolve issues before they become bigger by gaining perspective through physical discipline. Thinking through an issue with a clear, rational mind can ward off bigger problems, which is just one of many Pilates mental health benefits.
Once you hit your late 20s, your memory slowly gets worse and worse over time. Since it happens so slowly, you may not even notice it. In order to reverse these effects, you have to generate new brain cells and stay mentally fit. Exercise, including Pilates, can protect your existing cells while creating new ones, both of which will help improve your memory. Brain cell generation is also one of the things that can help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
Pilates movements do wonders for easing stress. It requires so much focus on your body, that all of your energy will be channeled into what you’re doing in the moment. Focusing on what’s going on at that exact moment is an excellent way to get rid of stress, which is why pilates and peace of mind go hand-in-hand. You may also find that Pilates help you manage anxiety attacks, either by having them less frequently, having less severe anxiety attacks, or both. Physical exercise positively impacts brain chemistry and can help you feel better than you ever possibly imagined.
Pilates can help you break a bad habit, like drinking, smoking or over-eating. First, having a new healthy habit makes it harder to engage in your unhealthy habits. Second, you’ll be taking up part of your day with prepping for your Pilates classes, working out and then unwinding from your workout. Third, you may find that your new fitness regime makes your cravings lessen thanks to the improvements in your brain activity. Replacing a destructive activity with a constructive one is always a great choice.
So much of Pilates is about balance, and that requires more than just a workout of the body – the brain has to be engaged, too. As your body’s balance improves, your brain activity will increase as well. Your brain will function better, helping you receive and process information in new and improved ways. If you’ve never tried consistent physical exercise before, you’ll be shocked at just how much it can affect your state of mind even when you’re not actively engaged in the exercise itself
Learning Pilates is challenging and rewarding, and once you get used to the basic moves you can test yourself with more advanced classes. In order to master Pilates, you need to focus on breathing and on your body at the same time. As you can imagine, this is excellent training for how to focus in all areas of your life. Pilates also improves your focus by helping your brain relax, which is an integral part of being able to concentrate when you need to. Try going to a Pilates class before you have to start a big project or a taxing physical activity – you may find that you perform better than in the past.
Motivation is a tricky thing – when you have it, you feel unstoppable, but once it leaves you, you wonder if you’ll ever get it back at all. Pilates, and physical activity in general, can motivate you to be even more active, and it can also be motivating in all other areas of your life, making it easier to reach your goals.
If you often feel like you’re all over the place – one day feeling great and energetic, the next feeling anxious or depressed – you may find that Pilates helps to balance these feelings out. You may also start heading to a Pilates class when you’re having a particularly difficult or sad day because you know that you’ll feel better and more balanced afterward.
Exercise helps people sleep better because it uses up some of their energy. When it comes to Pilates, you may find that your sleep patterns improve or that your insomnia is alleviated. Doing Pilates can improve your sleep, helping you stay asleep longer and wake up feeling more rested than usual.
With all of these benefits that you can attain from Pilates, it’s a good idea to find a way to fit a workout into your daily or weekly routine. Even though it can be difficult to find time to workout, it’s so important for your overall health and for the other areas of your life. Give a gift to both body and mind by starting a new Pilates routine in 2018!