The New Year is often a time for reflection and for many to plan what they would like to achieve over the coming year. A common statement is New Year- New me! “New Me” can mean many different things to different people.
Commonly “New Me” can mean that they would like to lose weight, get fitter and tone up. Alongside a healthy diet, practised regularly, Pilates can aid in weight loss and more importantly tone up when the weight loss has been achieved leading to a more streamlined body. This is why celebrities such as Kate Winslet, Jennifer Aniston and Madonna swear by Pilates workouts.
To some a “New Me” can mean to learn to be more relaxed. This is the comment that I am glad to say I consistently get about my classes that my participants feel so relaxed as they leave the class. The breathing technique used in Pilates is great for aiding relaxation as is the fact that the exercises are so focused (mindful) that your brain could not possibly focus on anything else!
To others a “New Me” can mean "I’ve looked in the mirror and I want to improve my posture!" A large focus of Pilates is posture in all positions, standing, sitting and lying, improving ones awareness as well as stretching and strengthening muscles appropriately to allow you to maintain correct posture. Another common comment after my classes is that people feel an inch or so taller!
Reduce those aches and Pains
To some, a “New Me” can mean “I am going to do something positive to help those aches and pains I’ve had for a while and have been hoping will just go away”.
As many years of working as a physiotherapist have shown me, aches and pains are often the result of people subconsciously using their body incorrectly. Pilates is great to improve that body awareness and to address any imbalances of muscles that have resulted. By correcting this, you learn to use your body correctly resulting in less of those aches and pains. Studies have shown that Pilates can reduce low back pain and disability. It has also been shown to reduce the recurrence of low back pain.
Less injuries and improved performance
For some, 2012 will have been the year of injuries in their given sport or activity and a “New Me” will be doing something positive to prevent 2013 having the same track record! Again injuries often occur as the result of imbalances of muscles around joints. Many sports or activities are predominantly using certain muscles around a joint and ignoring others. This can lead to some muscles getting tight and others getting long and hence working inefficiently and more prone to injury. Pilates ensures balanced controlled movement with appropriate length in the muscles lessening chance of injuries and improving performance. Less injuries and improved performance could then help you to achieve a goal you had set yourself too at new year. This is why sports people such as David Beckham and Serena Williams use Pilates.
For others 2012 will have been the year of falls and for some this may have resulted in a broken bone and the inconvenience and pain involved with this. A “New Me” for them will be one with improved balance to help prevent falls in 2013. This is all the more relevant as I look out at the snow. By improving your body awareness and strength with Pilates you are better able to recruit muscles appropriately to correct your balance when it is challenged such as by snow or ice underfoot.
Rehabilitation after illness
Some will have been unwell over 2012 and 2013 will be about gently returning to a good level of fitness. Pilates would be great to help with this. If you have become generally unfit, starting to work on your core and progressing as able is a great way to gently build on your fitness while also building your confidence.
So, if any of this sounds familiar, Pilates could be the way forwards for 2013, to help you achieve the “New Me” or for you to achieve those goals you have set yourself.